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British intelligence names Putin's key task before March elections

British intelligence names Putin's key task before March elections Putin needs to deal with pipes and sewers before the election (Photo:Getty Images)

The war against Ukraine and reduced spending on communal services have led to mass disconnections of heating and electricity in Russia during winter. Putin needs to address this issue by March, according to the UK Ministry of Defense on Twitter.

Over the past months, heating failures have occurred in 16 settlements in Russia. These failures, in sub-zero temperatures, exacerbate the problem that has plagued Russian cities and towns for decades but has likely become more acute due to Russia's wartime policies.

According to British intelligence, Russia has always prioritized military spending over reinvesting in public infrastructure, especially after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Many regional governments were asked to take on the burden of problems when Moscow reduced allocations, leading to decreased spending on maintenance.

According to the statement, mobilization likely resulted in a labor shortage in all sectors, including qualified heating engineers and plumbers.

"Putin has asked the Minister of Emergency Situations, Aleksandr Kurenkov, to ensure the supply of heating and electricity to residents. Appearing to tackle this issue is likely a key concern for Putin ahead of the forthcoming Russian presidential elections," the Ministry of Defense of Britain noted.

Residents of Russia without heating in winter

The winter of 2023-2024 started with a communal collapse for many residents of Russia. From December 1, utility accidents related to heating and water supply pipe ruptures were recorded across the entire territory of the Russian Federation. The number of buildings left without water and heating became one of the largest in recent decades.

The collapse also affected central Russia, where hundreds of buildings were left without heating during freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, the Russian authorities have no plans to increase spending on communal services; on the contrary, they are reducing them by half. This is happening while the military budget for continuing the aggressive war against Ukraine is increasing.

For more details on the problems in Russia, read the material by RBC-Ukraine titled "Municipal collapse in Russia: Freezing cities and its connection to war in Ukraine."