Bracing for the Hardest Winter: Protecting Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure

The British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) published an article that calling on the West to provide Kyiv with more air defense equipment to protect the energy sector, as “the Russians are getting closer to the goal of depriving Ukraine of energy supplies, without which society will no longer function normally.”

Russia’s targeted attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have intensified, aiming to leverage these strikes to force stop fighting. These attacks combine frontline pressure with attempts to deplete Western and Ukrainian air defense resources, increasingly threatening Ukraine with a total blackout. Such a scenario would severely disrupt essential services, making survival difficult for many Ukrainians, particularly during the harsh winter months.

To combat this, the authors emphasize the urgent need for the West to act decisively in two main ways: defend and restore Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Defend: Ukraine requires enhanced air defense systems to protect its remaining power facilities. This includes long-range systems like the US Patriot, mid-range assets such as IRIS-T and NASAMS, and immediate short-range capabilities like the Gepards and Stingers. Additionally, Ukraine needs advanced radars and sensors to anticipate and counteract Russian missile and drone attacks effectively. Russia’s missile accuracy has improved, making these defenses even more critical.

Restore: Efforts to repair and restore damaged infrastructure must be supported, but these will only be effective if the restored facilities are protected from further attacks. Continued and coordinated assistance from Western allies is crucial to ensure that Ukraine can rebuild its energy capacity and sustain its population through the winter and beyond. Without power supply, Ukrainian society will struggle to function, driving internal and external displacement as people seek warmth and safety.

“Europe and Ukraine have therefore demonstrated their ability to cooperate and resolve an energy crisis once before. Ukraine’s energy providers are experienced in restoring power as a result, but their efforts will be in vain if Western allies are not able to protect what they rebuild.”

Related Posts