icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
7 Nov, 2023 07:57

Ukraine facing ‘worst winter ever’ – FM

Dmitry Kuleba has called on the West to provide Kiev with air defenses to protect energy infrastructure
Ukraine facing ‘worst winter ever’ – FM

Ukraine is bracing for “the worst winter” in its history as it prepares for large-scale blackouts due to Russian missile strikes, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has said. Moscow began targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure last autumn in response to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge.

In an interview with the German daily Die Welt on Monday, Kuleba revealed that he had bought “dozens of candles” and his father had bought a truck of firewood in anticipation of Russian attacks.

The minister noted that Kiev would not mind if Germany does not provide it with long-range Taurus missiles but instead sends more air defense systems, adding that Ukraine will do its best to protect its power plants.

Germany has been reluctant to provide Kiev with long-range weapons. Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained that he does not want to see these missiles used against targets in Russia. Commenting on the issue in September, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described this weaponry as extremely sophisticated, adding that “when we deliver something, it has to work in the field.”

The view that Ukraine is about to face a difficult winter was shared by National Security Council chief Aleksey Danilov, who said in September that top Ukrainian officials had discussed the issue on numerous occasions, adding that it is also up to local communities to provide people with electricity.

In October, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galuschenko acknowledged that if Russia carries out massive strikes on the energy infrastructure, “they would cause significant damage to the power grid,” with the potential for blackouts. He urged people to buy generators and take other measures to reinforce the resilience to outages.

Earlier in July, he estimated that Russian attacks had damaged about 50% of all power-generating facilities, with some of them beyond repair.

Russia first started launching large-scale strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in October 2022, in response to what it described as a “terrorist attack” on the strategic Crimean Bridge. While Ukrainian officials initially denied involvement, this summer, Vasily Malyuk, the head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), claimed responsibility for the attack.