Ukraine cities have taken a fresh battering in recent days. Seemingly angered by the destruction of a bridge connecting Crimea to Russia and frustrated by military setbacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to targeting civilian infrastructure: power plants, railway stations, ports and dams.

American University military strategist Benjamin Jensen explains that this tack has been part of Russian generals’ playbook for more than a generation.

“The belief is that hitting key infrastructure and creating prolonged blackouts, alongside disruptions to the ability to travel and transport goods, make political leaders and the population less willing to resist an attacking force,” he writes.

Worryingly, Jensen expects things to only get worse.

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Matt Williams

Senior Breaking News and International Editor

Ukrainian firefighters battling flames at a power station hit by Russian missiles. Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Crippling civilian infrastructure has long been part of Russian generals’ playbook – Putin is merely expanding that approach

Benjamin Jensen, American University School of International Service

In the face of Russian military setbacks at the hands of a dogged opposition army, Russian President Vladimir Putin is focusing on targets that will put psychological pressure on the Ukrainian nation.

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