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Ukraine prepares Western air defence for winter attacks on energy system – Reuters

Friday, 8 September 2023, 03:14
Ukraine prepares Western air defence for winter attacks on energy system – Reuters
GEPARD SELF-PROPELLED ANTI-AIRCRAFT ARTILLERY SYSTEM. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA.ORG

Ukraine has been preparing for Russian winter attacks on its energy systems and is relying on German-made Gepard air defence systems and large-calibre machine guns such as the American M2 Browning to defend its skies.

Source: Lieutenant General Serhii Naiev, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine; Major General Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Head of Defence Intelligence of Ukraine; Samuel Bendett, Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Centre for a New American Security, in an interview with Reuters

Details: Naiev said that German Gepard air defence systems are defending Ukrainian skies, being able to reach a target within a radius of 12 km. This is not enough to cover the entire territory of the country, so the gaps are filled by large-calibre machine guns, such as the American-made M2 Brownings.

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Naiev said Russia has not abandoned its criminal intentions to attack critical infrastructure facilities, harming Ukraine and its economy. Last winter Ukraine had fewer air defence systems. Now more systems have been supplied to the military, so their effectiveness will be better.

Skibytskyi said last week that Moscow may start using more Shahed drones together with missiles in the same waves of attacks to confuse Ukrainian air defence systems.

He added that Russian attacks on energy infrastructure facilities may begin in late September or early October.

Bendett said Ukraine has prepared well for new drone strikes. But a problem may arise as the number of drones is constantly growing. He believes that Russia will launch more drones, but not much more, as "Russia is still a long way from its intended goal to manufacture thousands of these drones".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia launched almost 2,000 Shahed drones last month.

Military analysts estimated that the Shahed drones cost about $20,000 a piece, while the West-supplied air defence missiles Kyiv used last winter cost many times more. Naiev said that one round from a Gepard anti-aircraft artillery system costs less than $1,000, making them more cost-effective.

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