“It would be fair,” answered Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushenko when asked by the Politico server whether Kiev would respond to Moscow in the same coin for potential attacks on energy infrastructure.
Already a month ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared that Ukraine will “respond” if Russia tries to cripple its energy grid again.
Politico adds that while Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and oil has decreased significantly, large amounts of fossil fuels go to China and India, and oil and gas remain the biggest engine of the Russian economy.
Last year, according to Kyiv, Moscow destroyed or damaged roughly half of the capacities of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. According to the first summary report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank, the country will take years to recover from the attacks on its energy, heating, water and waste infrastructure.
How prepared is Ukraine for another Russian attempt to destroy infrastructure?
We analyzed the prospects for the second round of the battle for Ukrainian skies in detail last month in an analysis:
Minister Galushenko spoke to American journalists after arriving in Washington for meetings with President Joe Biden and other US officials.
According to him, they expect Russia to launch attacks on Ukrainian energy networks and power plants this year as well. So far, they are said to be regularly cyber-attacking the electrical network.
“If we respond to Russian attacks, we will respond in the same way and attack their energy infrastructure,” President Zelensky said in an earlier non-specific statement.
Compared to last year, Ukraine has significantly strengthened its long-range attack capabilities and has been making extensive use of its own attack drones in recent months.
However, Galushenko supplemented his statements about Ukraine’s possible response by noting that he had not discussed possible attacks on Russian infrastructure with American officials.
According to Politico, the main topic of the meeting was the discussion regarding Ukraine’s need for American air defense systems and other equipment.
The minister also said that he lobbied the Americans for sanctions against Russian nuclear energy, including the state-owned company Rosatom, and pressure on Russia to withdraw from the occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.