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Ukraine: Russian attacks on critical energy infrastructure amount to war crimes

Reacting to the news that Russian attacks on energy facilities in Ukraine over recent days have led to a nationwide blackout in the country, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

“The strategy behind Russia’s latest warfare tactics is unmistakable. In bombing Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure, including energy facilities, the Russian army clearly intends to undermine industrial production, disrupt transportation, sow fear and despair and deprive civilians in Ukraine of heat, electricity and water as the cold grip of winter approaches.”

“Russia’s targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure is unlawful. The morale of the civilian population is not a lawful target, and carrying out these attacks with the sole purpose of terrorizing civilians is a war crime. All those responsible for ordering and committing these criminal attacks must be held to account. With Russia ramping up its efforts to terrorize civilians in Ukraine, the international community must urgently respond and condemn these heinous attacks.”

The morale of the civilian population is not a lawful target, and carrying out these attacks with the sole purpose of terrorizing civilians is a war crime

Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Background

On 20 October, the Ukrainian authorities announced that there will be power outages across the country, after Russian attacks over recent days seriously damaged about 40% of the country’s energy facilities.

Amid efforts to repair the damaged facilities, the Ukrainian authorities have resorted to planned power outages to ensure the remaining energy infrastructure is not overloaded.

The Ukrainian authorities have also urged people across the country to minimize their electricity use between 7am and 11pm each day, while the use of street lights will also be limited nationwide starting today.