The Ukrainians should be prepared for the "worst winter” in history due to problems with the protection of power plants amid the lack of air defence systems, Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister Dmitry Kuleba said in an interview with the German publication Die Welt.
According to him, many Ukrainians already buy candles and firewood expecting possible power outages.
The Ukrainian authorities try to protect thermal power plants that became targets for Russian missiles and drones last winter. However, due to the shortage of air defence systems, this task will turn out to be much more difficult to accomplish against the backdrop of the lack of air defence systems in Ukraine.
"We'll turn a blind eye if we don't get Taurus missiles, but we will get air defence systems. We try to protect our power plants the best we can. But the Russians got used to it — they will test our endurance with their missiles again," Dmitry Kuleba said.
Ukraine still needs military assistance from Western countries, from the United States in the first place, the minister added.
"If the West can not win this war, then what war can it win? (…) We are not afraid of the doomsday scenario because of our friends in Europe and other countries,” Dmitry Kuleba said.
At the same time, Ukrainian officials admit that the national energy system may collapse even without Russian airstrikes.
Alexander Kharchenko, the director of the Kyiv Centre for Energy Industry Research, believes that the Ukrainian authorities will have to practice standardised blackouts for at least one to two hours a day if winter temperatures fall below 10 degrees Centigrade.
"I can not even predict the scale of outages in case of airstrikes," he said.
However, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine officially denies a possibility of a "catastrophic scenario.” Nuclear power plants will ensure stable supplies of electricity in the country taking into consideration the fact that they managed to arrange supplies of nuclear fuel from Western countries, ministry representatives said.
The head of the Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, confirmed the death of Major General Vladimir Zavadsky.