November 30, 2022 10:33
A few days ago a satellite photo of Europe taken during the night summed up the situation perfectly: light everywhere except on a big black hole, Ukraine. The image comes from the day after the latest Russian missile attack on Ukrainian infrastructure, which deprived 80 percent of the country of electricity and water, at a time when temperatures drop below zero.
Since then, Ukrainian technicians have been working day and night and on November 29 they announced that they had restored power for a few hours a day in 70 percent of the country. But President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that new Russian attacks should be expected to destroy what was repaired. “It is a war of strength and resistance,” Zelenskyj explained.
Russian TV propagandists do not hide that Moscow’s goal is to weaken the Ukrainian resistance as much as possible, and ironically declare that they want to expel the Ukrainian population towards Europe or the United States, even at the cost of committing war crimes such as targeted attacks against civilian infrastructure.
Getting through the winter will be a difficult test, not only for soldiers (for whom war never stops) but also for civilians, affected by a Russia that fails to achieve military successes.
International aid has adapted to the new context. Generators of all sizes are shipped in large numbers from European countries. About 100 French generators arrived in Romania this week on their way to Ukraine. These devices make it possible to ensure continuity of services, especially health services and communications, vital for the army and for the morale of the population.
War will change its nature, sure, but it won’t pause
On 29 November, a meeting was held in Bucharest which was attended by about thirty countries that support Ukraine, in order to coordinate aid on two parallel fronts: the military but also that of infrastructure, to allow the Ukrainian state not to collapse. The countries in question accused Russia of wanting to “turn winter into a weapon of war”.
The participants in the meeting wanted to demonstrate that there is no “fatigue” in supporting Ukraine, as Moscow hopes after nine months of war, billions of dollars spent and a conflict that shows no sign of abating.
The war won’t stop even during the winter. He’ll change his nature, sure, but he won’t go on hiatus. The images of soldiers seeking rest in the mud of the trenches on the Donbass front are shocking and evoke a World War I imagery.
But at the same time the weapons are those of the twenty-first century. On November 29, the Ukrainian defense minister celebrated the arrival of French long-range multiple rocket launchers on Twitter and thanked the French people. Paris also sent the Crotale anti-aircraft systems requested by Kiev.
Vladimir Putin has no intention of taking a step back, and is even considering the possibility of extending the mobilization to have hundreds of thousands of men to send to the front in the spring. But how will the new troops be trained, equipped and managed? This remains Russia’s weak point.
Even in the dark and cold, Ukraine maintains the advantage that comes from NATO’s increasingly effective weaponry and motivation. The word “resistance” used by Zelenskyj risks taking on an even deeper connotation in winter.
(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)