Ukraine Braces Defense on Power Grid Amist Winter Season

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Critical Infrastructure

Ukraine Braces Defense on Power Grid Amist Winter Season

Category: Russia & Ukraine | Industry: Critical infrastructure | Source: Economist

As Ukraine braces for its second winter since the Russian invasion in February 2022, it is once again confronted with an array of challenges in safeguarding its energy infrastructure, including missile strikes on critical power stations, extensive damage, and a growing menace posed by cyberattacks. Challenges Ukraine faces in securing its energy infrastructure are reported in an article by The Economist. With concerns, despite the commendable efforts of Ukrainian engineers and modernization programs, power-generating capacity has been severely impacted, with a 51% reduction in April 2023 compared to pre-invasion levels. In regards to nuclear power which "accounts for the largest part of Ukraine’s energy output," the capture of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is concerning as The Economist highlights "nuclear generating capacity is down 44%."

To address the damage and prepare for future attacks, Ukraine has ordered new high-voltage transformers, but delays in production, partly due to attacks on domestic factories, have slowed progress. While Ukraine's allies are providing financial support, the procurement process for equipment remains slow. The country's energy minister, German Galushchenko, emphasizes the need for a more urgent approach, likening it to "martial law," to expedite repairs.

Furthermore, the threat of cyberattacks looms large, potentially posing a greater risk than physical damage. Dmytro Sakharuk, executive director of dtek, a major energy company, highlights the potential for cyberattacks to paralyze the entire energy system, making it a formidable challenge. As Ukraine braces for another winter, it must contend with both physical and digital threats to ensure the lights stay on and the nation remains resilient. Cyber threats emphasized by Sakharuk are capable of being “much more dangerous than physical damage”.

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