Russia attacked Ukraine’s power grid at least 66 times to ‘prevent it from surrendering’

Last week marked the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a conflict that has been marked by multiple reports that Russia he may have committed war crimes By indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. During the first winter of the conflict, Russia adopted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s strategy described as An attempt is being made to “force (Ukraine) into submission” by attacking its electricity infrastructure, cutting off heat and electricity to civilians.

Now, using satellite imagery and open source information, a new report From the Conflict Observatory, a US government-backed initiative between Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab, the Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative, PlanetScape AI, and the mapping software ESRI, paints a clear picture of the scale of this strategy. Between October 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023, researchers found more than 200 cases of damage to the country’s electricity infrastructure, which was even higher. Estimated $8 billion Destruction. Of the 223 instances identified in the report, researchers were able to confirm 66 of them with high confidence, meaning they were able to cross-reference the damage across multiple trusted sources and data points.

Courtesy Yale Humanitarian Research Lab

“What we’re seeing here is that there was a pattern of bombing that hit frontline and non-frontline areas extensively, which would have had civilian impacts,” said Jackson, co-leader of the Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale. Says lecturer Nathaniel Raymond. School of Global Affairs. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated At the time an attack on Ukraine’s power grid left “millions” of people without electricity across the country.

Researchers were able to identify and verify damage to electricity infrastructure in 17 of the country’s 24 regions or administrative units.

It has been particularly difficult for researchers and investigators to document specific instances of damage to electrical infrastructure, as the Ukrainian government has sought to limit public information about which sites were damaged in an effort to prevent further attacks. done and which sites are operational. (For this reason, the report itself refrains from being more specific about which locations were analyzed and the extent of the destruction.) But it does provide the data needed to collect, verify, and prove violations of international law. It may also be difficult to build on that.

By making his methodology public, Raymond hopes it will allow further investigation. “Having common standards for common datasets is a prerequisite for accountability,” he says.

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