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Russia is likely able to create “a significant stockpile” of air-launched cruise missiles to use against Ukraine's critical infrastructure this winter, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Sept. 16.
The ministry cited data from open sources indicating that Russia’s military has used fewer of those missiles since April, while Russian leaders have emphasized efforts to increase the rate of cruise missile production.
Throughout the fall of 2022 and winter of 2023, Russia launched a series of mass missile and drone strikes against Ukraine's energy facilities, killing dozens of civilians and causing nationwide blackouts.
For these strikes, Russia primarily used air-launched cruise missiles, particularly the Kh-101 model, also known for its NATO reporting name AS-23a KODIAK, the U.K. Defense Ministry’s latest intelligence update said.
“Russia uses strategic bomber aircraft to release these munitions from deep within Russian territory," the update adds.
Ukraine is strengthening its air defense to prepare for Russia's potential mass attacks on critical infrastructure facilities this year, Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said on Sept. 3.
President Volodymyr Zelensky also warned that Russia will likely recommence attacks on Ukraine's energy system during the fall and winter months.
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.