Day 279: Russia Using Winter as a Weapon of War, Says US

White House spokesperson John Kirby has alleged that, by targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Russia is using winter as a weapon of war. "[Putin] is a guy who's used food as a weapon. He's used fear as a weapon

Day 279: Russia Using Winter as a Weapon of War, Says US
Image credit: AP

Facts

  • White House spokesperson John Kirby has alleged that, by targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Russia is using winter as a weapon of war. "[Putin] is a guy who's used food as a weapon. He's used fear as a weapon. Now he's using the cold weather here to try to bring the Ukrainian people to their knees," he said.
  • Describing the Russian attacks on Ukraine's civilian infrastructure as "attempts to take revenge", the country's Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Monday that he would, "do everything to restore every object, every house, every enterprise destroyed by the occupiers." Russian missile strikes have damaged nearly 30% of Ukraine's power grid, while tens of millions of Ukrainians brace themselves to endure below-freezing temperatures, strong winds, rain, and snow.
  • Meanwhile, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called on partners to pledge more financial aid to keep millions of Ukrainian civilians safe and warm through the winter ahead. "NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down," Stoltenberg said.
  • Elsewhere, the US is expected to announce "substantial" emergency aid to Ukraine during a NATO meeting in Bucharest, in order to help it restore power and heat supplies following Russian strikes. An AFP report quoted a senior US official, who claimed that the Biden administration has budgeted $1.1 billion for energy spending in Ukraine and Moldova.
  • On Tuesday, Russian forces heavily shelled residential infrastructure in the recently liberated city of Kherson, while, on their part, Ukrainian forces damaged a rail bridge north of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol. Security and Defense analyst Prof. Michael Clarke told news agencies that Moscow's forces appeared to be planning bigger air strikes, and that Russian troops seem to be making progress in Bakhmut, where fighting has reportedly descended into a bloody morass.
  • Elsewhere, the Italian parliament is preparing to vote on allowing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government to continue sending military assets, materials, and equipment to Ukraine until December 31, 2023. "It is worth supporting Ukraine," Italy's PM said, "because negotiations can only emerge from a balance of power on the field."

Sources: CNBC, TRT World, Reuters, Alarabiya, and Guardian.

Narratives

  • Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by PBS NewsHour. This invasion is an egregious violation of international law. Putin's ultimate aim is to restore the Soviet empire, even if it takes massive bloodshed and false pretexts such as calling the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after an election a "coup". This unprovoked attack is the latest chapter in Putin's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by National Security Archive. NATO and the US have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification. These concerns are legitimate and taking them seriously would have avoided the Ukraine tragedy.

Predictions