The Russian military is ramping up civilian infrastructure in Ukraine as it faces “setbacks on the front line,” the United Kingdom’s defense ministry said on Sunday.
In an “intelligence update” posted to Twitter, the ministry claimed Moscow has “increased its focus on civilian infrastructure over the past week, even where it is unlikely to see an immediate military effect”.
Russian missiles hit a dam near the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the TBEN reported Thursday, flooding some homes and forcing officials to evacuate some areas. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the dam had “no military value at all”.
Russia has also focused more on Ukrainian power plants in recent days.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Russia “will face setbacks on the front lines”, “probably expanding the sites it is prepared to attack in an effort to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government” . It also cited Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s power grid and the attack on a “dam on the Inhulets River Kryvyi Rih”.
Russia has suffered losses on the battlefield in recent weeks as Ukraine launched a counter-offensive to take back the territory Russian forces had occupied in the northern region of Kharkov and the southern region of Kherson. Zelensky said on Monday that troops have recaptured about 2,320 square miles of territory since their counteroffensive began in early September.
News week has contacted the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment.
In late August, the US embassy in Kiev said it believed Russia would step up attacks on civilian infrastructure in the coming days.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information that Russia is stepping up its efforts to carry out attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days. Russian attacks in Ukraine pose an ongoing threat to civilians and civilian infrastructure,” the embassy said. at the time. “The US Embassy is urging US citizens to leave Ukraine now using privately available land transportation options, if it is safe to do so.”
Last week, British intelligence officials also said they believe the Russian military is experiencing “constant severe” labor shortages. Officials cited a video in which Russian billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin is allegedly trying to recruit Russian prisoners to fight as mercenaries in Ukraine.
“If you serve six months [in Wagner]”You are free,” Prigozhin said in the video, according to the TBEN. The Wagner Group is an elite paramilitary force associated with Putin.
However, he also told the inmates that “if you arrive in Ukraine and decide it’s not for you, we will execute you,” the outlet reported.
In a tweet on Sunday, Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, said, “Russia only understands violence.”
“Attempts to negotiate with criminals are absurd. Only sanctions and military advantage can force them to stop the aggression against them.” [Ukraine],” he said.