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Air Force: Ukraine preparing for possible Russian attacks on energy infrastructure

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 3, 2023 3:17 PM 2 min read
Transmission towers and power lines near a missile damaged high-voltage electricity sub-station, operated by a state-owned company Ukrenergo, in central Ukraine, on March 1, 2023. (Andrew Kravchenko/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ukraine is strengthening its air defense to prepare for Russia's potential mass attacks on critical infrastructure facilities this fall, Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said on Sept. 3.

"A year ago, we had no Western (air defense) systems of medium range at all. We received the first NASAMS and IRIS only last fall. Today, we have such a variety of air defense equipment, which might not be found in any other country," Ihnat said on national television.

According to the official, air defense systems provided by the West complement Soviet-era models in Ukraine's arsenal, such as the S-300 and Buk.

"This variety (of air defense equipment) works and brings results. The only problem is that this is not enough for a country so big, so we are forced to deploy air defense locally, focusing on protecting cities and strategic facilities."

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The official noted that the Russian military doesn't have as many missiles as during last year's blitz on Ukraine's energy sites, but Moscow is increasing its production of drones, adding that Ukraine needs to prepare.

Throughout the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023, Russia launched a series of mass missile and drone strikes against Ukraine's critical infrastructure facilities, killing dozens of civilians and causing nationwide blackouts.

President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia is likely to attempt this strategy again next winter.

According to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine has repaired 80% of the main power grids and high-voltage stations to their pre-war condition after Russia severely hit almost half of the country's energy system.

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