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Targeting power supply earns Russia new title of ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ as winter sets in News Jani

Targeting power supply earns Russia new title of ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ as winter sets in

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Temperatures continue to drop across Ukraine. The UK’s Met Office has forecast light (but quite cold) rain in Kyiv next week followed by sleet, snow, as the mercury continues to plunge into the negative numbers next week.

Large areas of Ukraine, including the capital, are now without power most of the time. And still Moscow is sticking to its strategy of targeting Ukraine’s electricity supply. It is hard to argue – as the Kremlin continues to insist – that these are military targets.

A two-day-old baby was killed yesterday when Russian missiles hit a maternity ward in Zaporozhye. The region is home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and has been particularly bombed recently.

The plant itself has been under Russian control since March, but there is bitter competition in the surrounding region. It is one of four regions captured by Russia in late September, but significant areas have been retaken by Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

Undoubtedly, the deliberate targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure is a war crime. But power facilities are a gray area because they can be seen as legitimate military targets. And, to be fair, it has been a tactic used repeatedly during wars in the 20th and 21st centuries. German Zeppelins dropped bombs on Soviet power plants during World War II, and the U.S. has done the same in both Vietnam and, more recently, Iraq.

But the EU parliament this week used Russia’s attacks on power stations, schools and hospitals to justify its decision to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism – a distinction still Only Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria had it.

“Today, the European Parliament has recognized Russia as a terrorist state,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in response, adding. “And then Russia proved all of this to be true by using 67 missiles against our infrastructure, our energy grid and civilians.”

Scott Lucas, an international security expert at University College Dublin, believes the EU move will have few real-world consequences. Russia is already under a tough regime of sanctions, one of the penalties that came with the European Parliament’s decision. But the move will add weight to the arguments of Western governments when it comes to continuing to deliver massive military and humanitarian aid packages to Ukraine despite a living crisis that is being cut across the board.



Read more: Ukraine war: EU parliament names Russia ‘state sponsor of terror’ – but it won’t stop missiles


This is our weekly review of expert analysis of the Ukraine conflict.
The Conversation, a non-profit news group, works with a wide range of academics across its global network to offer evidence-based analysis. Get these recaps in your inbox every Thursday. Subscribe here.


Russia’s bombing of Ukraine’s infrastructure appears to have become Moscow’s default strategy after a significant military setback over the past two months or so. We recently reported that Ukraine has recaptured the strategic and morale-important city of Kherson. It is the capital of one of the four territories occupied by Russia in September.

Frank Ledwidge, a military strategist at the University of Portsmouth, says a victory in Kherson opens the way for an eventual advance on Crimea, which he writes – seen by both sides as Russia’s “center of gravity,” the key to the war. . .

This would be a far cry from Kyiv’s previous retaliatory actions. As Ledwij notes, unlike the rest of Ukraine’s occupied territories, most Russians agree that Crimea – with its majority Russian population – is legally a Russian territory. It has also proved difficult to break through various conflicts over the centuries, including the Second World War.



Read more: Ukraine war: Controversy at Crimea’s gates after recapture of Kherson


Wartime economies.

One aspect of the war that we haven’t paid much attention to yet is how the Ukrainian economy is holding up after nine months of conflict (as a reader kindly pointed out to us a few weeks ago). . Like everywhere else, Ukraine was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but rebounded strongly in 2021, recording GDP growth of 3.2 percent. But the war has thrown the economy off a cliff.

Bar chart showing the impact of the war on Ukraine's economy.
Bar chart showing the impact of the war on Ukraine’s economy.
State Statistics Service of Ukraine

Ukrainian scholar Dmitri Sergeyev – professor of economics at Milan’s Bocconi University – highlights the way the war has affected some sectors more than others. Some industries are relatively easy to relocate. For example, Ukraine’s growing IT sector has fared relatively well, but steel production and other heavy industries have been hit hard. For Ukraine’s massively important agricultural sector, the decision to renew the grain deal will bring welcome export revenues, which they say could be enough to cover plantings for next season.



Read more: Ukraine war: How the economy survived the bitter conflict


The outlook for the Russian economy, meanwhile, “bodes poorly for Vladimir Putin’s ability to finance Russia’s war in Ukraine,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, which added that “Mobils, sanctions and falling energy prices” are hurting Russia. Badly.

Alexander Hill, a Canada-based scholar with a special interest in Russian affairs, reports in The Conversation that the mobilization has severely damaged Russian industry, leading to labor shortages in key areas.

But, Hill writes, a bumper crop allowed Russia to export large quantities of grain, while replacing Western companies that had left Russia after the war with new Russian enterprises. (For example, McDonald’s has been replaced with a burger chain called Vkusno i tochka – “delicious, full stop”). Inflation is falling and pensions, salaries and the minimum wage are reportedly keeping pace. Hill believes the West has underestimated Russia’s ability to deal with sanctions.



Read more: How Russian Economy Defies and Withstands Western Sanctions


Banksy in Ukraine

One of the themes of Ukrainian reporting since the start of the offensive in February has been the buoyant morale among Ukrainians, both civilians and soldiers. On the domestic front, in particular, it has been underpinned by an explosion of art that draws attention to and reinforces the resilience of the Ukrainian people and culture.

Now it seems that Banksy, the Scarlet Pimpernel of graffiti artists, is doing his part to help. Earlier this month, Banksy posted a photo of a gymnast on his Instagram, painted on the side of a building destroyed by shelling in the Borodenka region of Kyiv.

He later confirmed that he was responsible for six other artworks in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, including one depicting Vladimir Putin being thrown by a child in a judo match. This is the story of Rachel Kerr, a war historian from King’s College London.



Read more: Banksy in Ukraine: How his new works offer hope


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