After Ukrainian troops retook most of the occupied Kharkiv region, Russia attacked a dam near the city of Kryvyi Rih, triggering a tsunami. There was a large area power failure in eastern Ukraine. Attacks of this kind could now represent the new strategy of Russian warfare, according to statements by Russian propagandists and military experts.

On Russian state television, Putin allies are calling for a “scorched earth” policy and, following the Kharkiv defeat, are calling for even more brutal tactics. Russian propagandists also see the troop withdrawal as a turning point, it seems.

Konstantin Zatulin, deputy chairman of the State Duma committee for the CIS intelligence service, surprised with an unusual choice of words: “This military operation – or this war – is entering a new phase,” he said on the talk show “60 Minutes”.

Usually, Russian propagandists describe the Ukraine war as a “special military operation,” not a war. You can no longer bet on winning in one fell swoop, he says. He also acknowledges the precarious situation of the Russians: “In the past week, the message has been spread everywhere – except on our television – that now is no time to celebrate because we are experiencing difficulties and failures at the front and are withdrawing.”

Military expert Igor Korotchenko also said on Wednesday evening’s program that one should “act quickly, hard and uncompromisingly.” By this, Korotchenko means specifically attacks on the critical infrastructure in Ukraine – based on the model in Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Immediately after the attack, he spoke of an “act of terrorism”. And further: “All the occupiers can do is sow panic, create an emergency, leave people without light, heat, water or food.”

That’s exactly what Putin’s confidante Korotchenko is after, he explains the new Russian task. “First of all, we must scale up our attacks on critical infrastructure in a way that will plunge region after region, district after district in Ukraine into darkness,” he said.

His aim is that 20 million Ukrainians will have to flee to the EU by December because they can no longer live in their country, which Korotchenko describes as an “enemy state” and the “modern Third Reich”.

No gas station should remain unscathed in the next two to six months. This is what a close ally of Putin, Bogdan Bezpalko, a member of the Kremlin’s Council for Inter-Ethnic Relations, is counting on. If Ukraine runs out of electricity, fuel and other essential resources, even support from Western countries will be of no use, he said on The Meeting Place.

He further fantasizes: “If all of Ukraine will sink into cold and darkness, if it has no fuel, the reserve armies will not help it and no one will be able to provide equipment or ammunition.” The only option for victory is im Russian propaganda TV called the complete devastation of Ukraine. Because neither the population nor the economy would be ready for total mobilization.

Alexei Fenenko, a researcher at the Institute for International Security Studies, claims that if Russia burns much of Ukraine to rubble, the US would respect it. “Either you can do this to your enemies, or you’re a nobody. If you can’t, you’re a coward and a loser,” he said.