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ISW: Russia exploits Ukraine air defense shortages in attacks on power infrastructure

A recent report from the Institute of Study of War suggests that Russian forces are likely to persist in mass strikes targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure until US-provided air defense missiles arrives.
Aftermath of a Russian bomb strike on Kherson city overnight on 9 March 2024. Screenshot from a video by Oleksandr Prikudin, published on Telegram.
ISW: Russia exploits Ukraine air defense shortages in attacks on power infrastructure

A report from the Institute of Study of War said that Russian forces will likely continue to conduct mass strikes to cause long-term damage to Ukrainian energy infrastructure as degraded Ukrainian air defense capabilities persist until the arrival of US-provided air defense missiles.

Overnight on 8 May, the Russian military forces launched the fifth large-scale missile and drone attack targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure. According to Ukrainian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, Russian forces launched:

  • 21 Shahed-136/131 drones
  • 45 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles
  • Four Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles
  • Two Iskander-M ballistic missiles
  • One Iskander-K ballistic missile
  • Two Kh-59/69 cruise missiles
  • One Kh-47 “Kinzhal” aeroballistic missile

Ukrainian air defenses downed 33 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles, four Kalibr cruise missiles, Kh-59/69 cruise missiles, and 20 Shaheds. Electricity generation and transmission facilities in Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Vinnytsia oblasts were damaged or destroyed in the assaults.

Ukraine’s energy operator DTEK, following the attack, reported that Russia targeted three unspecified thermal power plants, while state electricity transmission operator Ukrenergo said that regional energy authorities will implement shutdowns across all oblasts in Ukraine due to energy shortages.

Not only energy facilities came under the attacks. Ukrainian state railway operator Ukrzaliznytsia also said that Russia damaged railway infrastructure in Kherson Oblast.

Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller announced that the US is working on preparing a new package of defense assistance for Ukraine within the aid intended for Kyiv.

In April 2024, Congress adopted the $61 billion in aid for Ukraine. However, Kyiv hasn’t yet received enough assistance it needs to protect itself from Russian relentless attacks.


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