Year after first attack: how Ukraine prepares for new Russian winter strikes

October 10,2023 1055
Year after first attack: how Ukraine prepares for new Russian winter strikes

A year ago, on October 10, Russia launched the first large-scale missile attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The strike was also the largest since the start of the full-scale invasion. The occupiers used air-, sea- and land-based cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles, reconnaissance and attack UAVs. 23 people died, and 105 were injured. Since then, Russia has been systematically attacking and destroying Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Currently, Kyiv is preparing for another winter shelling.

Ukraine is actively preparing for the next heating season. Kyiv understands that Moscow will continue to strike at the energy infrastructure, especially with the onset of winter. Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko announced this back in May. Over the course of the year, specialists restored what had been attacked, and also strengthened the protection of energy facilities.

Ukraine ordered and produced 100 new high-voltage transformers to replace those destroyed by Russian attacks. Most of them are stored abroad, The Economist writes. “As they arrive the foreign ones will be kept safe in Poland and Romania until they are needed,” the journalists said.

Last year, there were regular blackouts of electricity and heating in Ukraine. As of April, Ukraine’s electricity production capacity has decreased by 51% compared to the level before the full-scale invasion of Russia, according to data from the United Nations Development Programme.

The strategy of the adversary last winter was not only to just destroy the power grid itself, but rather to create such a horrible humanitarian catastrophe that could create a difference on the battlefield,” Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the head of Ukrenergo, said in an interview with Washington Post.

Ukraine’s power grid has mostly recovered after last year’s attacks. However, many systems are still not working at full capacity.

Ukrainian and Western officials have been making preparations: reinforcing the energy grid, repairing damaged facilities, securing crucial equipment and spare parts, and preparing for the possible humanitarian fallout,” the WP writes.

Ukraine’s ability to withstand nighttime Russian attacks depends on whether the country has sufficient air defense systems. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made this issue one of his top priorities at meetings with Western leaders.

After the large-scale shelling in October 2022, the Ukrainian World Congress established the Energize Ukraine project to raise funds and equipment to restore the Ukrainian energy infrastructure. Learn more.

Cover: AP

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