NewsRussia escalates attacks on Ukraine's hydropower, marking a new phase

Russia escalates attacks on Ukraine's hydropower, marking a new phase

Russia has a new target for air raids in Ukraine - hydroelectric power plants and dams.
Russia has a new target for air raids in Ukraine - hydroelectric power plants and dams.
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4:56 AM EDT, March 30, 2024

Russia has decided to expand its attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure to include hydropower plants and dams, marking an escalation in aggression against Ukraine's infrastructure, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
ISW analyzed airstrikes conducted by Russia from the night of March 28 to March 29. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported on Friday that hydropower plants in the Cherkasy and Chernivtsi regions were targeted. Meanwhile, Russian bloggers, who are sympathetic to the Kremlin, claimed that in the Dnipropetrovsk region, two facilities were hit: a thermal power plant and a hydropower plant. The Ukrainian energy conglomerate Ukrenerho confirmed that the airstrikes damaged hydropower and thermal power plants in the central and western parts of the country.
ISW experts believe this marks a "new pattern" of attacks on Ukrainian hydropower plants and dams, representing a "significant escalation" compared to previous airstrikes. Historically, Russian armed forces did not systematically target hydropower plants and dams.
ISW suggests that the likely goal of attacking Ukraine's energy infrastructure is to "weaken the power of the Ukrainian defense industry." They also note that Russia is trying to take advantage of the fact that Ukrainian air defense is currently facing a shortage of missiles.
"The United States and European countries remain hesitant to supply Ukraine with equipment that could prove significant operationally or strategically, due to fears of escalation or retaliation from Russia," notes ISW.
The think tank recalls that previous decisions made by Western countries did not deter Russia from escalating the conflict.
"Russia has consistently demonstrated its willingness to escalate unprovoked aggression, and concerns about Russian escalation or retaliation in response to further Western arms supplies to Ukraine should not dictate decisions - in the USA or other Western countries - regarding this assistance," ISW experts conclude.
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