Russia has continued to launch attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, including its nuclear power plants. Widespread blackouts and reduced external power supply to all four reactors have occurred as a result of these strikes.
The latest attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in the south of the country, resulted in the loss of connection to one of the three 750 kV power lines supplying electricity to the site. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has asked for the line to be repaired as soon as possible.
1. Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been under attack multiple times by Russia, which has seized and militarized the facility in violation of international law. Ukraine is calling for the plant to be demilitarized, which would help avoid further damage and risk of radiation accidents.
The latest attack on the plant has prompted calls from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to stop Russian military activity around the facility and for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel to be allowed to inspect it. However, Russia has scuttled previous attempts by the IAEA to access the plant, citing security concerns.
The plant’s six reactors were shut down for safety reasons earlier this year, but they still need electricity to keep them from overheating and potentially causing a meltdown that could release radiation into the air. That’s why the attack on the plant is so serious and poses a high risk of a radioactive accident.
2. Russia’s attack on the Mariupol naval base
Russia’s attack on the Mariupol naval base is a key part of its overall strategy to control Ukraine. The captured city on the Sea of Azov is a strategic target that would secure Russia’s access to the Black Sea and its land bridge to annexed Crimea.
During the war, Russian forces seized control of the port and turned it into a military facility. They fired a large number of civilian workers and replaced them with Russians, according to Mayor Petro Andriushchenko.
The city is a major metallurgical centre for iron and steel, heavy machinery and ship repair, as well as being the home of Ukraine’s largest steel mill, Azovstal.
The defenders of Azovstal surrendered to Russia in May after a three-month siege, and the city fell under Moscow’s control. But a small group of Ukrainian troops remain in the city.
3. Russia’s attack on the Donetsk naval base
The Ukrainian government says a New Year’s Day attack by Russia on a military base in eastern Ukraine has killed dozens of Russian soldiers. The Kremlin admits the strike killed 63 but also claims that a U.S.-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launch system was responsible for the Ukraine’s attack.
The attack is one of the most lethal attacks on the Russian army since the war began. It has fueled fury in Moscow at officers in charge of the base and has emboldened pro-Russian military bloggers, who say it is an “incomprehensible battle” that shows Russia’s incompetence on the battlefield.
The incident is likely to lead to further violence in eastern Ukraine, which has been raging for more than 10 months. The United States and Europe have imposed sanctions on Russia and have warned Moscow not to invade Ukraine.
4. Russia’s attack on the Luhansk naval base
The Russian navy still outnumbers and outguns the smaller Ukrainian forces in the northern Black Sea. However, the attack on Sevastopol last month by uncrewed surface vessels has left the Black Sea Fleet vulnerable.
As the war progresses, Russia has withdrawn its four improved-Kilo class submarines from Sevastopol and has moved them to Novorossiysk, which is much closer to Ukraine. The move has been viewed by USNI News as a strategic response to the increasing strength of Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and the threat of an escalating Ukraine’s war.
Despite this, the Russian military is facing its worst crisis since World War II. The latest developments in Ukraine have put Putin’s leadership at a crossroads, and it is likely that he will have to make major territorial concessions in order to save his regime from collapse.