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Military Intelligence: Russia stockpiling missiles in anticipation of freezing temperatures

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 6, 2023 4:01 PM 2 min read
People walk on the snow-covered street in Lviv, Ukraine on April 7, 2023. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia is "waiting for the temperature to drop below zero" before launching mass strikes on Ukraine's energy system, Vadym Skibitskyi, a representative of Ukraine's Military Intelligence (HUR), said in an interview with RBC Ukraine on Nov. 6.

The strikes will start "when there is a greater load on our power system," during the onset of cold weather as electricity consumption reaches its peak. Temperatures in Kyiv are currently unseasonably warm.

Russia began a campaign of mass strikes on Ukraine's energy system last year on Oct. 10 and continued to target the power system until spring, bringing the heating and power networks to a near-total collapse.

Around 70 large energy facilities were damaged last fall and winter, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the head of Ukraine's state grid operator Ukrenergo said on Oct. 27.

This year, Russia hopes for an even more destructive effect by hitting "all critical points of the energy system" in a wave of attacks, Skibitskyi said.

Intelligence indicates that Russia will launch Kh-101 and Kalibr cruise missiles in the attacks, as they have not been used since late September, pointing to possible stockpiling.

Russia manufactured 40 Kh-101 cruise missiles and 20 Kalibr cruise missiles in October 2023 alone, as well as four Kinzhal ballistic missiles, Skibitskyi said.

These account for 64 of the 115 high-precision missiles with a range over 350 kilometers that Russia produced in October.

Russia now has about 870 high-precision missiles in its arsenal, Skibitskyi said.

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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