August 8, 2022

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- It's not what he wants

– It’s not what he wants

The Ukrainian authorities accused Russia of purely terrorist acts. The attack in Vinnytsia, in the far west of Ukraine, is used as an example. The missiles hit the city center in the middle of the day.

At least 23 people were killed, including three children. Ukrainian authorities said the city and target had no military value. It is one of several attacks on civilian targets in cities such as Odessa in the southwest, Kremenzhuk in the center of the country and Chasiv Gar in the east.

The Russian missile attacks in June and July are slightly different from previous missile attacks, Professor Tormod Heyer of the Norwegian Defense College tells NTB.

He notes that attacks are increasingly targeting civilian targets that are easier to hit, rather than smaller, harder-to-hit military targets.

Oleksiy Danilov of the National Security Council of Ukraine said: Watchman This week, monitoring of Russian attacks showed just that.

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– What we have noticed recently is a tendency to destroy more and more civilian targets. They decided to terrorize the civilian population. He says it’s not something I feel, it’s what the observation shows us.

Thrift attack or terrorist bombing?

Haier says there may be several reasons for this development. This may indicate that the Russians are shying away from precision-guided missiles, and are even using outdated weapons with poor accuracy.

Makes it normal to attack large targets such as civilian buildings. Thus, the Russians are saving a rare but strategically important resource, precision-guided missiles, at the same time as old ones, Haier says.

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At the same time, one explanation may be that the Russian strategy is to ensure that there are no pockets of peace and daily life in Ukraine. Don’t the Ukrainians in the west of the country get a respite from the war?

“By spreading death and destruction in those parts of the country that were not directly affected by the invasion, fear of war persists among the Ukrainian population, while the authorities in Kyiv are forced to allocate scarce resources to civil defense work,” Heyer said.

It will prevent a return to daily life

In this way, what the Ukrainian authorities call terrorist bombing can also become a tangible strategic weapon of war. If everyday life returns to Western Ukraine, value creation in society will increase.

Then President Volodymyr Zelensky gets more money for the defense forces. Ukraine’s defense launched counterattacks in the east of the country, at the same time as a war of attrition was taking place in the important Donbass region, which Russia aims to capture.

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“If the Russians had ambitions to occupy larger parts of Ukraine other than just the Donbass region and the southern land corridor all the way to Crimea, this might be appropriate because the randomness of the missile attacks creates a major psychological trauma for the entire population,” he says. Haier.

– Thus, the will of the Ukrainians to defend becomes more vulnerable – without even believing that the missile attacks would have such an effect. On the contrary: such an arbitrary terrorist bombing often turns out to contribute to the opposite, that is, more stubborn resistance, says Heyer.

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It is believed that attacks on civilian targets will make it more difficult for Russian forces to advance and subjugate them. The resistance among the population would be very great.

It could make the Russians more vulnerable

“I think the Russians will continue this type of attack for some time to come, also to inform the West that the whole of Ukrainian society will suffer as long as the United States, NATO and the European Union will not make concessions to Russia,” Heyer said.

He notes that Russia has expressed its desire for a new security system in Europe. NATO’s response was the exact opposite of what Putin had requested, and instead sent more troops to member states in Eastern Europe.

— But the Russians should also be careful, because missile attacks will also erode one of the country’s most important traditional means, precision-guided missiles, says Heyer.

It may be difficult to replace them because the Western sanctions regime prevents access to necessary technology. Thus, the Russians may risk becoming more vulnerable if the Ukraine war escalates and involves hostilities on several other fronts where it would be good to have such weapons, he says.

accused of terrorism

Russia has repeatedly denied that it deliberately attacks civilian targets. However, it has been documented several times that Russian missiles hit apparently civilian targets.

It has been speculated whether there were targeted attacks, or whether it was simply due to the use of outdated and inaccurate missiles.

Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately attacking civilian targets.

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Every day Russia kills the civilian population, kills Ukrainian children, and fires missiles at civilian infrastructure, where there are no military targets. What is this if not an obvious act of terrorism, said the president about the attack in Vinnytsia.

Zelensky believes that Russia has a clear goal:

– The occupier realizes that we are gradually getting stronger, and the meaning of his terror is clear: pressure on us and on society and frightening people.