The Kremlin has viciously fine-tuned its war strategy and for the past ten days has increased its target on critical infrastructure in Ukraine. The real target, however, is the civilian population. She’s supposed to freeze in the winter. What happens to a country that is bombed like this?

These are dark days and nights that an entire nation has to experience, suffer and endure. There are now 238. That’s how long the war of aggression against Ukraine has lasted. In the past week and a half, Russia has significantly intensified its attacks. Above all, by Vladimir Putin’s troops attacking the civilian population – with whole swarms of Iranian kamikaze drones of the type Shahed-136 as well as rockets and cruise missiles.

“Ukraine is under fire from the occupiers,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the Russian continuous fire. “They continue to do what they do best: terrorize and kill civilians.” More than 70 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Ukraine since October 10. Again and again air alarm is triggered in several cities.

What Putin’s new supreme commander in Ukraine, “General Armageddon” Sergey Surovikin, is aiming for is abundantly clear: to bomb Ukraine back to a kind of pre-industrial state: without light, without heat, without running water. According to President Zelenskyy, 30 percent of Ukraine’s power plants have already been destroyed. Many of the attacks also targeted substations and thermal power plants, which produce steam to heat homes and businesses.

“The country is faced with a triple problem,” reports crisis researcher Frank Roselieb FOCUS online. “First of all, the winter in the Ukraine is significantly colder than in Germany – with night temperatures in Kyiv often in the double-digit minus range.” Without a heat supply, it will therefore be difficult to get through the winter.

“Secondly, repairing or rebuilding the supply infrastructure is currently hardly possible because there is currently a lack of skilled workers, as well as material and capital. Thirdly, many European crisis management mechanisms are currently not working for such purposes because the energy problem affects large parts of Europe.” Help from abroad is therefore not really to be expected. “At the latest when more than half of the energy infrastructure has been destroyed, this should be a decisive tipping point for the further course of the war.”

His conclusion: “No good news for the Ukraine and in particular no silver lining on the horizon,” said the managing director of the crisis navigator – Institute for Crisis Research, a spin-off of the University of Kiel.

Meanwhile, problems with the electricity, heat and water supply were reported from cities near the front to the capital Kyiv itself. It is already bitterly cold in parts of Ukraine. As the New York Times (NYT) writes, Russia’s long-range strikes are focusing on vital supply networks in Ukraine, which “would unleash a new kind of humanitarian catastrophe there.”

Hans Henri Kluge, WHO Director for Europe, made it absolutely clear at a press conference on Friday: “Demolition of homes and lack of access to fuel or electricity due to damaged infrastructure could become a matter of life or death if people lose their cannot heat houses.”

Denise Brown, the UN coordinator for Ukraine, told CNN that the devastation means “a high risk of death during the winter months.” “We are talking about total destruction, loss of life and loss of livelihood as a direct result of the war.”

Fears like these are not unfounded. According to the NYT, authorities in parts of Kiev have already warned against drinking tap water that had become cloudy after Monday’s airstrikes. Queues formed in front of shops to fill bottles with fresh water.

In a quarter of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, the power was said to have been turned off from 9 am to 6 pm for several days to save energy. And in the city center of Zhytomyr, the trams were shut down. There is currently neither light nor water in the city,” Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn wrote on Facebook. In some high-rise buildings, there was only running water on the first floors due to lack of water pressure.

When residential buildings are bombed and power plants destroyed – what keeps people in the country at all? Crisis expert Roselieb does not expect a mass exodus. “On the one hand, the Ukrainian men have so far bravely defended their country.” Apart from women and children, there has been no mass exodus so far.

On the other hand, the military – and thus the majority of able-bodied Ukrainian men – are prepared for “life in the field”, i.e. without a stationary energy supply. “Even people in rural areas of Ukraine often still heat independently – beyond central power plants,” says Roselieb. As a result, there will certainly be refugee movements of women and children from the country, as has been the case up to now, but not in large numbers.

Nevertheless, the country and the people in it must be protected from Russian attacks. The military expert Nico Lange, who held a senior position in the Federal Ministry of Defense until last year, wrote on Twitter: “Cruise missiles, rockets and drones are being used to terrorize the urban population. These attacks are a severe test of the resilience of Ukraine and its partners.”

However, according to him, the delivered air defense systems Iris-T from Germany, NASAMS from Norway and the USA, Crotale from France and Aspide from Spain were not yet sufficient for comprehensive protection and reached Ukraine late and slowly. Meanwhile, NATO has promised Ukraine devices that disrupt the electronics of the drones, so-called jammers. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not say when it would be delivered.

The war in Ukraine is at a turning point, says military expert Carlo Masala. Ukraine is now under a lot of pressure and Putin is using drones because missiles are too expensive, according to the politics professor. The Kremlin boss could now open a second front and then offer a ceasefire, says the expert in a “Stern” podcast.

Russia wants to ramp up production of its own aircraft as quickly as possible. The state-owned company Rostec makes it clear how many planes should be delivered by 2030.

Hardly anyone “reads” Vladimir Putin and the Russians as knowledgeably as the Russian writer Viktor Erofeev, who fled to Germany. Germany’s Chancellor should meet with him. And be prepared for some uncomfortable truths.