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ISW: Ukraine lacks air defense systems to protect repaired energy facilities

The Institute for the Study of War reports that a lack of Western-provided air defense systems has allowed Russia to maximize damage to Ukraine’s energy capacity in 2024.
Energy grid, illustrative photo.
Energy grid, illustrative photo. Photo: Depositphotos
ISW: Ukraine lacks air defense systems to protect repaired energy facilities

The US-based Institute for the Study of War reported on 27 June that Ukraine is facing a severe shortage of air defense missiles, hampering its ability to protect critical infrastructure from Russian attacks. This shortage affects Ukraine’s capacity to defend its energy grid, a prime target of Russian strikes.

Dmytro Sakharuk, Executive Director of private Ukrainian energy enterprise DTEK, told the Kyiv Post on 26 June that “for every one interceptor missile that Ukraine possesses to defend against Russian strikes on the energy grid, Russia has five to six missiles to launch at Ukraine.”

Sakharuk emphasized the dire nature of this imbalance, saying that “if Russia were to launch ten missiles at any target in Ukraine, Ukrainian forces would need to respond with at least 12 air defense missiles to adequately protect against the attack.”

The ISW reports that this disparity between Ukraine’s necessary and actual ratios of air defense to Russian missiles makes it “impossible to cover energy grid units that Ukraine has repaired or is repairing.”

The situation has been exacerbated by what the ISW describes as “a lack of Western-provided air defense systems.” This shortage has allowed Russian forces to “exploit air defense shortages” and “maximize the damage to Ukraine’s energy capacity over the course of 2024,” the ISW notes.

The report highlights that Russia’s air strike campaign against the Ukrainian energy grid has already “imposed serious constraints on Ukraine’s power generation capacity.”

Since May 2024, Ukraine has been experiencing countrywide power outages due to Russian attacks on its electricity infrastructure.

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