Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

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Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by maestrob » Tue Dec 06, 2022 11:12 am

KYIV, Ukraine — The latest wave of Russian strikes on energy infrastructure aimed at targets across the country on Monday came on one of the coldest days of the year in Ukraine — which Ukrainian officials said would have ripple effects like causing pipes to burst and heating systems to fail.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the head of Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national energy company, said the strikes’ targets suggested that Russia was aiming to cause a blackout of the country’s energy system and cause as much suffering as possible, as highs hovered in the 20s Fahrenheit.

“I don’t doubt that the military consulted with Russian power engineers,” he said.

Ukrainian air defense systems shot down 60 of 70 missiles fired at infrastructure targets on Monday, according to the military, sparing the country the most dire consequences of the assault. Ten missiles did strike electrical power plants and substations, according to energy officials, compounding damage from previous waves of large-scale missile assaults on infrastructure.

“There will be a deficit in the energy system in the next few days,” Mr. Kudrytskyi said. “A day or two are needed to restore electricity generation in the system. After that, the situation is expected to stabilize.”

Until that repair work can be done again, the national utility said that emergency shutdowns would be needed throughout the country. “Some regions have suffered more damage than others, such as Odesa,” Mr. Kudrytskyi said.

That southern port city, a vital hub of economic activity, is relying almost solely on backup electricity supply to keep critical city infrastructure running, including water systems.

About half of the Kyiv region will have no electricity in the coming days, local officials said.

Repairs have begun, Oleksiy Kuleba, the head of the Kyiv regional military administration, said in a statement. However, given the need for emergency shutdowns, he said it was not possible to provide a schedule of expected power outages.

Because water infrastructure and power systems are inextricably linked, there is concern that Russian strikes could affect both water and sewage treatment facilities, leading to a public health disaster.

The authorities in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, which has come under repeated Russian shelling, said they would have to drain the water from the heating systems of hundreds of buildings to prevent standing water from freezing and bursting the pipes.

Ukrainian energy officials have said in interviews that other towns and cities close to the front lines, where many buildings are empty and power infrastructure has been badly damaged, might have to consider similar measures.

— Marc Santora ... =url-share

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Re: Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by Rach3 » Thu Dec 15, 2022 2:45 pm

Nichlos Kristof, NYT today:

“We will beat the Ukrainian out of you so that you love Russia,” a Russian interrogator told one torture survivor I spoke to in Ukraine, before he whipped her and raped her. That seems a pretty good summation of Vladimir Putin’s strategy.It isn’t working in Ukraine, where Putin’s atrocities seem to be bolstering the will to fight back. That brave woman triumphed over her interrogators, albeit at horrific personal cost.But I worry that we in the West are made of weaker stuff.

Some of the most momentous decisions the United States will make in the coming months involve the level of support we will provide Ukraine, and I’ve had pushback from some readers who think President Biden is making a terrible mistake by resolutely helping Ukraine repel Russia.

A woman named Nancy protested on my Facebook page that I was more interested in securing Ukraine’s border than the American border. She argued that we should focus on our own challenges rather than Ukraine’s.

“We’re over our head in debt but funding a war that we shouldn’t be involved in,” she said. “Enough is enough.”

Polls find American support for aid to Ukraine still robust but slipping, especially among Republicans. And almost half of Americans want the United States to push Ukraine “to settle for peace as soon as possible,” even if it loses territory — a finding that must gladden Vladimir Putin’s heart.

The exhaustion with Western support for Ukraine may continue to gain ground in the coming months as people grow weary of high energy prices and, in the case of some European countries, possible rolling power cuts.

So let me make the case, to Nancy and others, for why we should continue to provide weaponry to Ukraine.

The fundamental misconception among many congressional Republicans (and some progressives on the left) is that we’re doing Ukraine a favor by sending it weapons. Not so. We are holding Ukraine’s coat as it is sacrificing lives and infrastructure in ways that benefit us, by degrading Russia’s military threat to NATO and Western Europe — and thus to us.

“They’re doing us a favor; they’re fighting our fight,” Wesley Clark, the retired American general and former supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe, told me. “The fight in Ukraine is a fight about the future of the international community.”

If the war ends in a way favorable to Russia, he argues, it will be a world less safe for Americans. One lesson the world would absorb would be the paramount importance of possessing nuclear weapons, for Ukraine was invaded after it gave up its nuclear arsenal in the 1990s — and Russia’s nuclear warheads today prevent a stronger Western military response.

“If Ukraine falls, there will certainly be a wave of nuclear proliferation,” Clark warned.

For years, military strategists have feared a Russian incursion into Estonia that would challenge NATO and cost lives of American troops. Ukrainians are weakening Russia’s forces so as to reduce that risk.

More broadly, perhaps the single greatest threat to world peace in the coming decade is the risk of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait that escalates into a war between America and China. To reduce that danger, we should help Taiwan build up its deterrent capacity — but perhaps the simplest way to reduce the likelihood of Xi Jinping acting aggressively is to stand united against Russia’s invasion. If the West falters and allows Putin to win in Ukraine, Xi will feel greater confidence that he can win in Taiwan.

Putin has been a destabilizing and brutal bully for many years — from Chechnya to Syria, Georgia to Moldova — partly because the world has been unwilling to stand up to him and partly because he possesses a powerful military force that Ukraine is now dismantling. Aside from energy, Russia’s economy is not substantial.

“Putin and Russia are weak,” Viktor Yushchenko, a former Ukrainian president who challenged Russia and then was mysteriously poisoned and disfigured, told me. “Russia is a poor country, an oil appendage to the world, a gas station.”

The world owes Ukraine for its willingness to finally stand up to Putin. If anything, I’d like to see the Biden administration carefully ratchet up the capabilities of the weaponry it supplies Ukraine, for it may be that the best way to end the war is simply to ensure that Putin finds the cost of it no longer worth paying.

I don’t mean to suggest that everyone backing peace negotiations is craven, fatigued or myopic. Gen. Mark Milley and other Pentagon officials are understandably worried that the Ukraine conflict could spiral out of control into a nuclear war. That’s a legitimate concern, and it’s always good to peer through the fog of war for off-ramps. But bowing to nuclear blackmail and rewarding an invasion would create their own risks for many years to come, and on balance those dangers seem greater than those of maintaining the present course.

In arguing for the West to stand with Ukraine, I’ve emphasized our national interest in doing so. But we have values at stake as well as interests, for there is also a moral question to face.

When one nation invades a neighbor and commits murder, pillage and rape, when it traffics in thousands of children, when it pulverizes the electrical grid to make civilians freeze in winter — in such a blizzard of likely war crimes, neutrality is not the high ground.

Let’s not let Russia beat the Ukrainian out of us: The world could use a spinal transplant from brave Ukrainians."

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Re: Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by Rach3 » Wed Dec 21, 2022 9:46 pm

Zelensky addresses Congress:

That we have not done more, sooner, and have some GOP, who of course defend gun rights here, want to curtail or end aid, is to our lasting shame.Zelensky and his countrymen tower over us.

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Re: Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by Belle » Wed Dec 21, 2022 11:50 pm

Meanwhile our "more decent" Labor government is fawning over
China, the best friend of Russia. If that was Anna Netrebko or Valery Gergiev the shallows would never stop screeching about it.

If the Left didn't have hypocrisy it would have an empty toolbox.

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Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 22, 2022 3:52 am

Belle wrote:
Wed Dec 21, 2022 11:50 pm
Meanwhile our "more decent" Labor government is fawning over
Hardly surprising, given that 1/3 of your exports go to China and a million plus Australians—more than 5% of your total population, over 10% in Sidney alone—claim Chinese ancestry.


Those million of folk do vote, Belle. Just ask ScoMo. You regularly touted PM Morrison, only when he was on top that is, before he was summarily routed. Similarly, you recently discarded loser Donald in order to talk up your MAGA cleanup man, Ronald Da Sanitizer, as your latest reactionary Golden Boy.

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Re: Russia strikes Ukraine’s energy grid on one of the coldest days of the year.

Post by Rach3 » Thu Dec 22, 2022 3:36 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Dec 21, 2022 9:46 pm
Zelensky addresses Congress:

That we have not done more, sooner, and have some GOP, who of course defend gun rights here, want to curtail or end aid, is to our lasting shame.Zelensky and his countrymen tower over us.
Marsha Gessen, NewYorker Magazine today:

" Political humor is often not funny, even when it gets a laugh. On Wednesday, during President Biden’s joint press conference with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a reporter for the Ukrainian television channel One Plus One asked a question about the logic of American military aid to Ukraine. “When the full-scale invasion started,” she said, “U.S. officials said that Ukraine cannot receive Patriot [missiles] because, as you said, it might be unnecessary escalation.” But just that day—three hundred days into the war—the Administration had announced that a Patriot battery would be shipped to Ukraine as part of the latest aid package. Much of what Ukraine has asked for, including long-range missiles, remains off limits, however. “Maybe I sound naïve,” the reporter said, “but can we make long story short and give Ukraine all capabilities it needs and liberate all territories rather sooner than later?”

“His answer is yes,” Biden said, pointing at Zelensky. The audience—several dozen journalists seated in gold Chiavari chairs—laughed.

Zelensky laughed, gesturing at Biden. “I agree,” he said. The audience laughed harder.

“Let me be straightforward,” Biden said. The United States had given Ukraine “what they needed,” at an expense of more than twenty billion dollars, but decisions regarding the kinds of arms provided had to be made jointly with nato and European Union partners. “We are going to give Ukraine what it needs to be able to defend itself, to be able to succeed, and to succeed in the battlefield,” Biden said. But European allies “are not looking to go to war with Russia. They are not looking for the Third World War. I think it can all be avoided by making sure that Ukraine is able to succeed in the battlefield.” The room was quiet.

What had made everyone laugh was that the Presidents’ initial responses—and, indeed, the reporter’s question itself—had been obscene: they exposed what is usually hidden. The United States and its allies have not done enough to stop the war in Ukraine. They could, but they have not, and so for ten months Russian troops have tortured and executed Ukrainians, erased entire towns from the face of the earth, and targeted civilian infrastructure in order to deprive civilians of heat, light, and running water in winter. In his response, Biden covered this obscenity back up, by talking about giant sums of money, complicated international politics, and U.S. hope for an eventual Ukrainian victory. Zelensky was silent.

Later that day, in his speech to Congress, Zelensky returned to the obscenity. He said that, on the night before his visit to Washington, he had gone to Bakhmut, a town in eastern Ukraine that his troops have been struggling to hold. “We have artillery, yes,” Zelensky said. “Thank you. We have it. Is it enough? Honestly, not really. To insure Bakhmut is not just a stronghold that holds back the Russian Army, but for the Russian Army to completely pull out, more cannons and shells are needed.” To avoid sounding ungrateful, Zelensky framed this question as pertaining only to Bakhmut, but what he was really talking about is the fact that the United States could enable Ukraine to achieve a complete victory, yet aid has been slow and incomplete, and even the current consensus underpinning aid is fragile—this was why Zelensky was addressing Congress in the first place.

Zelensky’s trajectory—from comedian to media manager to President to wartime President—is often cast as surprising, but what makes him compelling as a political leader is the comic’s talent for exposing the crux of the matter. Speaking on Capitol Hill, Zelensky took care not to put members of Congress on the defensive—he is a performer always keenly aware of his audience, and this time he was speaking to people who have the power to save his country or doom it by withholding aid. But, to anyone really listening, he was still exposing underlying obscenities.

Zelensky likened the ongoing war to the Battle of the Bulge, one of the last major battles of the Second World War. “The Russians’ tactic is primitive,” Zelensky said. “They burn down and destroy everything they see. They sent thugs to the front lines. They sent convicts to the war. They threw everything against us, similar to the other tyranny, which was in the Battle of the Bulge. Threw everything it had against the free world.” It was the same time of year, even. The comparison suggested that, just as Americans and Western Europeans presented a joint, brave, and ultimately victorious front against Hitler in 1944, Americans and Ukrainians are jointly fighting against Putin today. But in Belgium in 1944, American soldiers were fighting on the ground. This December, only Ukrainians are fighting the Russians in Ukraine. The assumption that underpins Western strategy in relation to Ukraine—the fundamental belief that drives habitual caveats about avoiding “unnecessary escalation” and “nato involvement”—is that nothing can justify a risk to the lives of Western Europeans and Americans, even while Ukrainians keep dying. Zelensky said this quiet part in two ways in his speech.

“Ukraine never asked the American soldiers to fight on our land instead of us,” he said. “I assure you that Ukrainian soldiers can perfectly operate American tanks and planes themselves.”

He also promised his audience that Ukrainians would last the winter. “Ladies and gentlemen—ladies and gentlemen, Americans, in two days we will celebrate Christmas,” Zelensky said, his phrasing underscoring the synchronicity of the American and Ukrainian holiday. (In fact, celebrating Christmas in late December, rather than early January, as the Eastern Orthodox do in Russia, is one of the many ways that Ukraine has moved away from Moscow and toward Western Europe in recent years.) “Maybe candlelit. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because . . . there will be no electricity. Millions won’t have neither heating nor running water. All of these will be the result of Russian missile and drone attacks on our energy infrastructure.” But, he reassured his listeners, he was not challenging their right to have heat, hot water, and the power to determine how long the war in Ukraine will last. “We do not complain. We do not judge and compare whose life is easier. Your well-being is the product of your national security; the result of your struggle for independence and your many victories. We Ukrainians will also go through our war of independence and freedom with dignity and success.”

Every time Zelensky noted his people’s resolve, members of the House and Senate stood up and applauded. It happened a lot. If Zelensky were still a comedian, he might have called out his audience’s bull crap: “Hey, what’s with the applause while people die? Why don’t you stop clapping, sit down, and give us weapons instead? If you think that fighting Russia is so awesome, why don’t you close the sky or put boots on the ground?” But Zelensky is a politician now. Instead of calling out congresspeople, he appealed to their political self-interest, telling them that by protecting Ukraine they would protect American democracy. “This battle,” he said, “cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection.” He appealed to their economic self-interest, too. “Your money is not charity,” Zelensky said. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.” He appealed to their vanity. “ ‘The American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory,’ ” Zelensky said, quoting F.D.R.’s “Day of Infamy” speech. “The Ukrainian people will win, too, absolutely. I know that everything depends on us, on Ukrainian armed forces, yet so much depends on the world. So much in the world depends on you.”

American politicians responded to Zelensky by valorizing him, as Americans usually do. Zelensky resists this, wisely. In an interview with David Letterman, which aired earlier this month (it was conducted this fall in the Kyiv metro, as trains went past and air-raid sirens sounded), Zelensky deftly shot down the older comedian’s attempts to cast him as a hero. Heroes are unlike ordinary people; they can survive anything. Zelensky noted that he showered and that he likes to eat. He might have added that, being human, all Ukrainians need to eat, and to have heat and water in winter. In the hands of a less capable performer, or a performer who laughs less readily, these demurrals might have come off as disingenuous or moralistic. But, through three hundred days of nightly addresses to the Ukrainian people and regular speeches to Western political bodies, Zelensky has, almost without fail, found the right tone and the right timing to insure that the audience stays with him. His and the Ukrainian people’s lives depend on it. ♦

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