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Putin's 'Winter War' on Ukraine

Great powers should never cede to lesser powers the capacity to drag them into unwanted wars.

War continues in Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast
(Photo by Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Winter has often proven an indispensable ally of Mother Russia. The impending winter of 1812-13 forced Napoleon's withdrawal from Moscow, a retreat from which his Grande Armee never recovered. The winter of 1941-42 sealed the ultimate fate of the invading armies of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

Vladimir Putin's new strategy in the war he launched on Ukraine in February is to conscript the coming winter of 2022-23 as an ally of his failing army. For weeks, there have been reports of Russian air, missile and drone strikes on power plants in every major Ukrainian city. The false report that a Russian-fired rocket had landed in Poland, killing two civilians, came on a day when 100 Russian bombs, rockets, missiles and drones hit "infrastructure" targets across Ukraine. It was the heaviest Russian barrage to date in the nine-month war. Putin's goal: As the Ukrainian army battles the Russian army in the Donbas and Kherson, the power grid upon which the Ukrainian nation and people depend is to be systematically attacked, shut down, destroyed.