Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 18, 2022

Ukraine - Switching The Lights Off

The careful destruction of energy systems in Ukraine continues.

From today's clobber list as provided by the Defense Ministry of Russia:

On 17 November, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a concentrated strike, using high-precision long-range air-, sea- and ground-based weapons, at the facilities of military control, defence industry, as well as related fuel and energy infrastructure of Ukraine.

The goals of the strike have been reached.

All the missiles have accurately stricken the assigned facilities.

I have no idea if the last line is true but it does not matter much.

The targeting of 330 kilovolt transformers in various switching stations has cut some 50% of the distribution capability of Ukraine's electricity network. These transformers weigh up to 200 tons. There are no replacements. You do not buy them at the next corner but will have to order them with years of lead time. As far as I can tell Russia is currently the only producer of transformers of that type.

Isn't it a war crime to destroy the infrastructure that supplies civilians?

It depends. If the infrastructure is used exclusively for civilian purpose the destruction is illegal. But the electricity and transport infrastructure in Ukraine is used for civilian AND military purposes. In a recent Politico piece Ukrainian officials are even confirming that:

Ukraine tells allies it may not be able to recover from more Russian attacks on energy systems:

An unreliable energy sector could have deadly consequences, Ukrainian officials say. In recent conversations, they’ve added that it could halt food production and transport operations — critical services needed to support military operations.

The clobber list also includes this curious item:

The strike has resulted in the neutralisation of the production capacities for nuclear weaponry.

I wonder where and what that has been:

One depot of artillery armament, delivered by western countries and prepared for being sent to troops, has been destroyed.

The redeployment of the reserve forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), and the delivery of foreign armament to operations areas have been frustrated.

The last sentence describes the real purpose of the attacks on the energy systems.

The lack of energy is degrading the railway network that brings weapons from the west to the eastern front. It makes redeployment of units from one front section to another very difficult and time consuming. It will give the Russian forces the advantage when they change the Schwerpunkt of their attacks from one corner of the frontline to another.

Another effect of the strikes on the electricity systems and the blackouts in the big cities that follow them is a renewed stream of refugees that will want reach western Europe. It will over time change the public opinion and the political priorities of those countries. If they fail to end the war they will have to carry the burden.

Posted by b on November 18, 2022 at 14:37 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: chris owen | Nov 20 2022 11:17 utc | 301

Thanks, Chris, that makes perfect sense.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Nov 20 2022 11:23 utc | 301

General MacGregor said that the S-300 missile into Ukraine was Ukrainian. It was NOT a Russian missile. He said that the technology is Russia's, (Russia left their technology there), but the missile itself was manufactrred by Ukraine.

He also said that if the military CAN use civilian electricity (even if it is formerly used only for civilian use) it is not a war crime to bomb it. He said we did it Kosovo; they did it in WWII,etc.

Posted by: anastasia | Nov 20 2022 14:53 utc | 302

@Richard Steven Hack 202

"Unless you are familiar with the details of the model, it's impossible to know whether it is correct. In addition, most models have a range of outcomes with a range of probabilities, thus making statements of certainty based on them is a fundamental error that journalists and agenda-driven lay people always make"

The classic appeal to ignorance.

You do not need to be "agenda-driven" to realize that When 100 medium sized thermonuclear devices detonated over cities will inject high levels of carbon into the stratosphere, resulting in a decrease in insolation, temperature and environmental oxygen, as occurred in the KT transition extinction event, which eliminated the vast majority of species on Earth, it behoves us not to argue that because we cannot predict exactly what will happen, that we should ignore the risks and bank on the idea that the same effects will probably result in a different outcome, optimistically hoping that what we don't know can't hurt us.

Posted by: Hermit | Nov 23 2022 5:31 utc | 303

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