Damaged electrical wires in recently-liberated Lyman in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, November 27, 2022 (Metin Aktas/Anadolu/Getty)

Wednesday’s Coverage: US — We Are Not Restricting Ukrainian Capability to Strike Inside Russia

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Vladimir Putin has said he will continue attacks seeking to break Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

PUtin said at an awards ceremony in the Kremlin, “There’s a lot of noise about our strikes on the energy infrastructure of a neighbouring country. Yes, we do that. But who started it?”

He cited Ukraine’s strike on the Kursk bridge between Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea on October 8 and claimed — without evidence — that the Ukrainians had blown up power lines to Russia’s Kursk nuclear power plant and cut off water supply to Russian-occupied of Donetsk city in eastern Ukraine.

He said international criticism would “not interfere with our combat missions”.


The latest Russian shelling of the Donetsk region in Ukraine has killed one civilian and wounded two in the town of Toretsk.


US basketball star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention in an exchange for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout.

The Biden Administration and Russian officials have been in talks for months over the swap, after Griner was seized on February 17 at a Moscow airport. Russian officials claimed she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

The Russians exerted further pressure by sentencing Griner to nine years in prison on August 4.

Bout was one of the world’s most wanted men before his 2008 arrest on multiple charges related to arms trafficking. Nicknamed “The Merchant of Death”, he sold weapons to states, rebel groups and warlords across Africa, Asia and South America.

Former US Marine Paul Whelan is still in Russian custody serving a 16-year sentence since 2020 for espionage. His lawyer said discussions are a prisoner swap are ongoing.

President Biden said, “Sadly and for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up.”


Francis Scarr of BBC Monitoring observes the sharp change in tone on Russian State TV between February and December….


The Ukrainian grid operator Ukrenergo has announced power cuts from 11 a.m. local time.

The operator said, “Because of damage caused by [Russian] missile strikes to power plants and the high-voltage network, the system has a significant shortage of electricity.” Supply was further complicated by snow, frost, rain, and strong winds. Electrical wires had iced over.

The situation is most serious in eastern Ukraine, amid intense fighting. However, “in all regions, there is a lack of energy – up to a third of what is needed,” said Oleksandr Starukh, governor of the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.


Russia’s First Court of Appeals has upheld a 22-year sentence imposed on journalist Ivan Safronov, charged by Russian authorities with treason.

The court session was held behind closed doors on the protext that it involved classified materials.

Safronov was detained on July 7, 2020, and charged with collecting and handing over information on the Russian military’s technical cooperation with African nations and activities in the Middle East.


Released Ukrainian POWs have spoken of being mistreated and abused in Russian captivity.

The 60 POWs are in a hospital in northeast Ukraine, after Tuesday’s latest prisoner exchange between Kyiv and Moscow.

They are so malnourished that they can only be given 300 milliliters (20 tablespoons) of chicken soup. They have protruding shoulder blades and ribs, bandaged limbs, and long scars as further evidence of the poor conditions.

One of them, Vitali, said:

Tasers, [electric] currents — they beat us with clubs; they beat us with sticks. I said goodbye to my life there more than once.

There were such beatings that I could not stand them. My ribs were broken; my kidney was beaten off, it was lowered.

He noted that he urinated blood for 10 days with no medical attention after his kidneys were damaged.

Mykola, 39, said the soldiers were subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and suffocation with bags over their heads.

“So many ways to loosen a person’s tongue,” he said. “They hanged us in handcuffs.”

Many of the POWs were defenders of Mariupol, the port city in southern Ukraine subjugated in May after 12 weeks of Russian bombing, ground attacks, and siege.

The city has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance but also of Vladimir Putin’s campaign to depict Ukrainian troops as “Nazis” who must be vanquished.


Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister has knocked back a Russian proposal for a “gas union.

Jorabek Mirzamahmudov said Uzbekistan will not jeopardize its national interests.

If we import gas from another country, we cooperate only based on a commercial, sales contract. We will never agree to political conditions in exchange for gas.

In short, we will get the gas contract offered to us only if we agree to it, otherwise not.

Facing the reduction of European and other markets, Russian official said last month that they are discussing a gas union with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The bloc would support shipments between the three countries and to customers such as China.


Speaking to a Presidential council, Vladimir Putin has reiterated his goal of conquering Ukraine despite the setbacks for his invasion.

Putin compared himself favorable with Peter the Great, proclaiming that Russia controls the Sea of Azov — an area which the 18th-century tsar also sought.

But Putin had to renounce his objective of a quick subjugation of Ukraine: he said his “special operation” to acquire new territory may be a “lengthy process”.


Sources tell Politico that Ukraine used domestically-upgraded Soviet-era warplanes for drone attacks inside Russia on Monday, hitting two airbases and an oil installation near a third.

The drones were modified Tu-141 surveillance aircraft. They damaged the bases — one of them the main facility for Russia’s Long-Range Aviation squadrons — and two heavy bombers used in missile strikes across Ukraine.

One source, who works with the Ukrainian Government, summarized, “The key success factor was a surprise. Russia just did not expect anything of this sort.”

The source noted that future attacks could be more limited in their effect, “Now [the Russians] will be prepared.”


The civilian death toll from Russian shelling of the town in Kurakhove in eastern Ukraine has risen to 10, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy said many others were wounded in the attack in the Donetsk region.

A market, bus station, petrol stations, and residential buildings were among the sites shelled.

Zelenskiy also spoke of the weeks-long Russian attempt to overrun the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk: “Regarding the Donetsk region, Bakhmut districts and other hottest spots. A very fierce confrontation is ongoing there, every meter counts.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russian forces have fired more than 1,000 missiles and rockets at Ukraine’s power grid, trying to save Vladimir Putin’s failing invasion.

Volodymyr Kudrytsky, the chief executive of the State grid operator, told a meeting arranged by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of round-the-clock efforts to repair the system. He said his officials were going around the world seeking complex equipment needed for the restoration of power.

Half of the grid was knocked out by waves of Russian strikes with hundreds of missiles and Iranian-supplied drones since October 10. Kudrytsky summarized:

These attacks represent the biggest blow to a power grid that humanity has ever seen. More than 1,000 shells and rockets were fired at electrical facilities and lines, including substations.

Ukraine now has a serious shortage of generating capacity, even though consumption is down between 25% and 30% compared to the pre-war period.

However, repairs have prevented the system from collapsing, assuring Ukrainians of some power amid emergency and scheduled blackouts.

Russia’s latest strikes on Monday appeared to have diminishing effect. Just over 70 missiles were fired, compared to more than 100 in the largest attacks. Ukrainian air defenses downed more than 60 of them.

Kudrytsky told the EBRD meeting, “The system is still working, it is integrated, not broken or disconnected.”

In his nightly address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said electricity supply is increasing each day but “we should not forget … that it is impossible to restore 100% of the energy system.”

He explained,“Time is needed. That is why scheduled blackouts continue in most of the cities and districts.”