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Reuters: Improved winter air defenses may protect Ukraine's power grid from Russian attacks

by Abbey Fenbert September 8, 2023 7:31 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian servicemembers training on Gepard anti-aircraft vehicles in July, 2023. (Photo by Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine is preparing its air defenses with upgraded weapons systems to combat Russian assaults on the power grid during winter, Reuters reported on Sept. 7.

"We had fewer (systems) last winter. Now we have been given more, and the effectiveness will be better," Joint Forces Commander Serhii Naiev told Reuters during an interview in Zhytomyr.

Ukrainian air defense can now take advantage of German-made Gepard systems and U.S.-made M2 Browning machine guns.

The Gepard system has successfully shot down five Shahed drones since August, which the Ukrainian military labeled "a 100% success rate."

Reuters spoke to an air defense crewman, identified as Anton, who helped shoot down two drones using the Gepard.

"Adrenaline, emotional overload... you can't convey it with words," he said. "We are not frightened. It drives us on to work and destroy targets in the Ukrainian sky."

Last winter, Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure destroyed nearly half of the country's energy systems. Russian strikes deliberately targeted power plants and critical infrastructure, forcing Ukrainians to face a winter of emergency shutdowns and power shortages.

Most of the damaged facilities have now been repaired, and with the new weapons systems  Ukraine is in a better position to defend the state grid against Russia's winter offensive.

Ukraine war latest: Russia moving troops to southern front line to strengthen defense, Kyiv says
Key developments of Sept. 7: * National Guard reports Russia moving troops to southern front line to ‘strengthen defense’ * Ukrainian flag raised in two settlements in Kharkiv Oblast near border with Russia * Zelensky introduces Umerov as Ukraine’s new defense minister, addresses key tasks * Of…
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