A Kyiv military official has warned that Ukraine is expecting Russia to launch an unprecedented number of "Shahed" kamikaze drones during autumn and winter, pointing to a recent escalation in UAV attacks as evidence.
Yury Ihnat, a spokesperson for the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, revealed that in the previous month alone, Russia had employed more than 500 drones against Ukraine.
This is already half the number of drones Russia used against Ukraine during the six months of the last heating season (roughly from October to March).
"It is necessary to fight against drones because this autumn/winter will be a record in the number of Shahed UAVs," Ihnat said, speaking during the TV marathon on Sunday, Oct. 8.
"In the past six months of the last heating season, over 1,000 Shaheds were launched against Ukraine. It is of concern that we have already encountered half that number within a single month," Ihnat added.
Preparations for the upcoming winter season have garnered significant attention. Analysts and experts are assessing the ability of Russian attacks to disrupt Ukraine's electricity supply.
Last winter, Russia bombarded Ukraine’s energy facilities with the aim of cutting off electricity in cities and villages, leaving them without water and heat. The Kremlin’s plan was partly realized – Ukraine was blanketed with mass blackouts.
Emergency power outages occurred during autumn, winter (2022) and the first months of spring (2023). In Ukrainian houses, there could be no electrical power for 3 or more hours a day.
With the onset of summer, the Ukrainian energy industry was no longer under attack, allowing restoration work to begin. According to Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko, Russia has affected about 50 percent of the energy system.
As of today, more than 80 percent of the damaged facilities have been repaired, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at the Forbes “Energy of Business” forum: “That’s why we enter this winter definitely restored, definitely ready for those attacks and the terror that was last winter."
Ukraine has received aid in the amount of $2.3 billion for the restoration and protection of the energy industry.
Shmyhal believes that this winter, Ukraine has one of the biggest advantages – a significant number of air defense systems provided by international partners, and already gained experience in the fight against Russia.
But this does not mean that each strategic energy facility has a separate air defense system for protection.
During a recent large missile attack, Russian forces damaged power grids in various regions, including the capital, Kyiv, as well as the Zhytomyr and Rivne regions.
This marked the first incident targeting the energy sector in the past six months.
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