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UK military trains Ukrainian specialists to protect critical infrastructure from Russian attacks

by Dominic Culverwell October 22, 2023 3:31 PM 2 min read
People working in a shop under candle light during a blackout after a massive Russian missile attack on Ukrainian power infrastructure in Lviv, Ukraine, on Nov. 15, 2022 (Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian specialists in the energy, water, transport, and academic sectors will undergo a training program with the British Army Royal Engineers to protect critical infrastructure from Russian attacks this winter, the U.K. Ministry of Defense said on Oct. 22.

The program will last two weeks and comes after Ukraine requested further protection of its energy infrastructure.

Ukraine is preparing for heavy attacks on its national infrastructure facilities after Russian strikes last fall and winter resulted in rolling blackouts across the country leaving many without power.

“This tailored package of training will help save lives during the bitterly cold winter months, where access to reliable energy is of vital importance,” said U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps.

The program will allow Ukrainian professionals from across different sectors to share knowledge thus bolstering the resilience of the national infrastructure network, the Ministry noted.

Specialists will be able to identify vulnerable points, the impact of different weapons and potential blast ranges, and better understand where to place physical and aerial protection.

Shapps announced a £100 million ($121 million) package under the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) on Oct. 11., which includes heavy-duty plant vehicles to help defend Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

The U.S. allocated $522 million to purchase energy equipment for Ukraine and protect the country’s electricity infrastructure, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Oct. 16.

According to Shmyhal, Ukraine is almost 100% ready for the heating season. All nine units of Ukrainian nuclear power plants will be in operation during the fall-winter period.

On Oct. 8, the Ukrainian Air Force warned that Russia would likely launch a record number of drones against Ukraine as it seeks to destroy the country's energy infrastructure.

With winter approaching, is Ukraine’s energy system ready for renewed Russian attacks?
The specter of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system looms once again as winter rapidly approaches. Last year in early October, just as Ukraine’s heating season began, Russia launched a month-long series of missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to blackouts…
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