The Ukrainian government is warning Western allies that it is anticipating increased Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure in the coming days and that Kyiv does not have enough replacement parts to bring heat and power back online if those occur, according to two congressional officials and one Western official briefed on U.S. intelligence.
Ukrainian officials have in recent days asked their American counterparts and more than half a dozen European countries for assistance preparing for a prolonged period with limited electricity and gas — a scenario Kyiv expects to complicate fighting on the ground and displace civilians, the officials and an adviser to the Ukrainian government said.
Ukraine needs key components like generators, pipes and valves to repair its infrastructure. Kyiv is currently attempting to fix the damaged infrastructure, but they fear that continued attacks by Russia could make it nearly impossible to keep up, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the Ukrainian government’s thinking.
The new warnings, relayed to lawmakers this week through classified intelligence reports, came as Russia launched missiles on the Ukrainian capital Tuesday, hitting apartment buildings and knocking out electricity — just days after Russia retreated from the strategic city of Kherson. Parts of Kyiv still didn’t have power Wednesday.
The warnings from Kyiv over the last week underscore the level of anxiety among top Ukrainian officials about the coming winter months and the potential ramifications of sustained damage to its infrastructure. An unreliable energy sector could have deadly consequences, Ukrainian officials say. In recent conversations, they’ve added that it could halt food production and transport operations — critical services needed to support military operations. [Continue reading…]