Russia's recent attacks on Ukraine's energy system have caused massive destruction to Ukrainian critical infrastructure. The attacks mark the beginning of a new stage of the conflict.
The mayor of Kharkiv called the destruction "colossal".
"There is colossal infrastructural destruction, it is primarily the energy system that has been damaged," the mayor said in his Telegram channel.
As many as 12 missiles were lunched on Zaporizhzhia region, ten — on the Kharkiv region, Ukrainian Governor Oleg Sinegubov said.
Targets were also struck in Odessa, Kirovograd, Lvov, Ternopil, Khmelnytsky, Nikolaev, Zhytomyr regions.
In total, there were more than 80 strikes, Ukrainian sources say.
There is no electricity in Kharkiv, sporadic blackouts occur in the region. The Kharkiv metro was shut down. Subway systems were put to a stop in Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk. Interruptions in water supplies were reported everywhere in Ukraine. The authorities urged everyone to stock up on drinking and technical water.
The railway communication in the central part of the country was de-energized. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Krivorozhskaya Thermal Power Plant, the most powerful solid fuel power plant in Europe, was struck. Several rockets hit the engine room of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant that generates almost half of the entire hydropower in Ukraine.
According to Yuriy Ignat, a speaker for the Ukrainian Air Force, the Russian Aerospace Forces used "everything they had", except for "Iranian drones": "They scrambled Tu-95, Su-35, MIG-31."
The A-50U Sergey Atayants long-range radar spotting aircraft took off from the Belarusian airfield Machulishchi can direct Russian fighters at cruise missile interceptor aircraft, which increases the effectiveness of strikes. This is probably the reason why air defences of the Armed Forces of Ukraine missed three strikes on the Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant.
Fake news about Russian missiles striking residential buildings also appear on the Internet. People may not even know that an air defense missile (S-300 and others), even if it doesn't hit the target, explodes in the air. This is part of its characteristics and method of use.
According to military expert Yuriy Podolyaka, a new stage has begun in the energy war, as the Russian forces have struck generating facilities.
"This is a very important and bad call both for the Zelensky regime and the population of Ukraine. It is easy to hit substations, but it is also relatively easy to restore them. However, the destruction of power generation facilities means at least months of restoration works, if they can be possible at all in this situation,” Yuriy Podolyaka wrote in his Telegram channel.
The December 16 missile strike gives reason to think that Russia has a specific goal at this particular stage of the special operation.
The systematic destruction of energy facilities with the subsequent transition to transport infrastructure, water supply system, fuel storage facilities, military-industrial complex enterprises and enterprises that produce dual-use products is a measure that Russia resorts to for victory.
Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, named Russia's "legitimate military targets."
According to him, they include military facilities and any facilities related to military and civilian infrastructure:
Medvedev also wondered whether the "hybrid war that NATO de facto declared on Russia” could be regarded as a move of the alliance to enter a war with Russia, given that the West continues massive arms supplies to Ukraine.
"The leaders of NATO countries all say that their countries and the entire bloc are not at war with Russia. But everyone is well aware that everything is different,” Medvedev concluded.
The West, together with Ukraine, quickly forms a strike corps in order to enter Crimea or cut off the Donbass from Russia