Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining winter months despite Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said.
Shmyhal said the situation in the energy sector remains difficult but under control after a months-long Russian campaign of drone and missile attacks on critical infrastructure that damaged approximately 40 percent of the energy system.
“For now, all Russia’s attempts to plunge Ukraine into darkness have failed,” Shmyhal told a government meeting on Monday.
“We have enough reserves to continue and end the heating season in normal mode. About 11 billion cubic metres of gas are stored in gas storages and nearly 1.2 million tonnes of coal are in storages.”
Rescue workers clear the rubble from an apartment building that was destroyed in a Russian rocket attack at a residential neighbourhood in the southeastern city of Dnipro [Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo]
Shmyhal added that the government had approved a decision to allow the state oil and gas company, Naftogaz, to receive a 189 million euro ($205m) grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction and development.
Despite a warmer-than-usual December and January, Ukraine’s regions are experiencing power blackouts due to an energy deficit.
But Shmyhal said the country has continued to work with partners to speed up repair works, recover distribution facilities, and implement new energy efficiency programmes.
Russia launched an aerial campaign of missile and drone attacks targeting Ukraine’s power infrastructure to increase the pressure on Kyiv over the winter after Ukrainian forces made a series of battlefield gains.
Ukraine has condemned the aerial attacks as “war cimes”. Russia has consistently denied attacking civilian targets.
At a meeting of Ukraine’s allies last week, pledges were made to send air defence systems and other weapons to bolster Kyiv’s capabilities to repel the Russian attacks.
But Ukraine continues to ask Western countries to ramp up weapons deliveries, including battle tanks that it seeks for a potential new offensive against Russian forces in the coming months.
Kyiv has pleaded for months for Western tanks, which it says it needs to give its forces the firepower and mobility to break through Russian defensive lines and recapture occupied territory.
As Russia’s monthslong aerial campaign has continued, Ukrainian and Western military officials have said Moscow faces a shortage of arms after firing thousands of artillery shells and missiles at Ukraine since it invaded 11 months ago.
Speaking on Monday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russian weapons stocks were enough to continue fighting in Ukraine.
Deputy head of Russia’s Security Council and chairman of the United Russia party Dmitry Medvedev visits the Kalashnikov Group plant in Izhevsk, Russia [Ekaterina Shtukina/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters]
“Our opponents are watching, they periodically make statements that we don’t have this or that … I want to disappoint them. We have enough of everything,” Medvedev said during a visit to a Kalashnikov factory in Izhevsk, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of Moscow.
In a video posted on his Telegram channel, Medvedev was seen inspecting assault rifles, artillery shells, missiles and drones.
Medvedev told officials during the visit that drones were in exceptionally high demand for its “special military operation”.
Drones, used by the warring countries, have been seen as precise, cheap and safer to operate than manned aircraft.
Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Security Council, became head of a new military-industrial commission last December to oversee weapons production to support the war.
He is one of Russia’s most hawkish pro-war voices.
Last week, he said that a defeat in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war.
After months of attacks on energy facilities, Ukraine is working with partners to speed up repair work.
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