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Russia attacks energy system to undermine Ukraine's defense industry

Russia attacks energy system to undermine Ukraine's defense industry The aggressor is trying to slow down the development of Ukraine's defense industry (photo:

Russia is targeting energy facilities in Ukraine to undermine its defense-industrial capabilities. Russian forces are also trying to exploit the lack of air defense systems in a new attempt to disrupt Ukraine's energy system, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The report reminded us that the intense Russian strikes during the winter of 2023-2024 were mainly aimed at Ukrainian defense-industrial base (DIB) facilities. Instead, Russian strikes on the energy infrastructure in early spring 2024 likely aim to disrupt the energy network, in part to halt Ukraine's efforts to rapidly expand its DIB.

"Russian forces failed to collapse the Ukrainian energy grid on March 22 but may aim to continue intensified strikes on energy infrastructure in subsequent strike series, especially to capitalize on continued delays in Western security assistance that are reportedly expected to significantly constrain Ukraine‘s air defense umbrella," the report said.

The Institute for the Study of War reminded that throughout the full-scale invasion, Russian forces consistently shelled Ukraine's energy system and reduced its electricity generation. Initially, this occurred after the capture of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in March 2022, followed by the occupation of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant in February 2022 and the subsequent sabotage of its dam in June 2023, and now in the form of damage to the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant (DHPP) in Zaporizhzhia during the strike on March 22, 2024. The attacks disabled the DHPP, and its repair is likely to take some time.

Additionally, according to the ISW report, missile strikes could support Russia's efforts to destabilize the situation in the country, as the Kremlin seeks to reduce domestic and international trust in the Ukrainian government.

"Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command warned on March 22 that Russia is preparing information operations aiming to falsely portray Ukraine as without power," the ISW report said.

Missile attack on March 22

On the night of Friday, March 22, Russian forces carried out a massive missile attack on Ukraine.

Initially, the aggressor targeted southern, central, and western regions with strike drones. After 4:00 AM, the Russians launched missiles from Tu-95 strategic bombers. The missiles targeted 7 regions of Ukraine.

They used over 150 drones and missiles of various types for the attack. Air Defense Forces destroyed 92 enemy air targets.

In particular, as a result of missile strikes in Zaporizhzhia, the dam of the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Station was damaged. After the strikes, electricity and water were cut off in many cities.

For more details on the consequences of the Russian shelling, read the article by RBC-Ukraine.