Russia and Ukraine Trade Attacks on their Energy Grids

Ukraine and Russia traded attacks on their energy grids, with Ukraine getting the worst of it by far.

Russia launched what is likely its largest attack since the war began overnight on Friday, launching missiles and drones that targeted the electric grid, hitting at least four cities and leaving more than a million people without power. 

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The attack targeted power supplies in several cities, including Kharkiv in the east, Odesa on the coast, and Kryvyi Rih in the center.

Meanwhile, Ukraine hit an oil refinery in the Samara region near Belgorod. And a drone attack on another refinery in the region, Novokuibyshevsk, “was repelled without damaging the technological equipment,” according to Governor of Samara Dmitry Azarov.

As for Ukraine, their biggest concern was the hydroelectric dam on the Dnipro River, which was damaged in the attack.

CNN:

Ihor Syrota, chief executive of Ukrhydroenergo, the site’s operator, said both electricity generating plants there had suffered massive damage and that it was unclear when or if the plants would be able to resume operations.

The dam itself was currently not in danger of being breached, however, after workers opened the dam’s gates to allow water to flow downriver, another senior Ukrainian energy executive, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, told national television.

Kudrytskyi said the missile and drone barrage was likely the largest-ever single attack on Ukraine’s energy system.

“It was the most significant and well-planned attack on the energy sector since the onset of the war, targeting dozens of energy facilities,” said Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Energy Industry Research Center in Kyiv.

The Ukraine attack was no mere pinprick. The attack on the refinery will interrupt oil production significantly. Given that Russia desperately needs the hard currency that its customers pay for the oil, any significant interruption is damaging. 

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Moscow Times:

“We see that the enemy, which is suffering defeats on the battlefield, is doing everything possible to undermine our endurance and unity,” he said.

Separately, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release that it had destroyed “12 Ukrainian drones” overnight over the regions of Bryansk, Belgorod and Voronezh, all three of which border Ukraine, as well as over the region of Saratov.

Ukraine, which has been facing a Russian offensive for over two years, has stepped up its attacks inside Russia in recent weeks, targeting energy sites in particular.

As with the war of attrition that Russia is fighting, Ukraine has no chance in these tit-for-tat attacks on the energy grid. Russia is bound to come out on top and suffer less damage.

But Ukraine has no choice. They have to keep fighting as best they can, even if they suffer far more damage in these attacks than they can inflict on Russia.

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