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US focuses on three key lines of effort to protect Ukraine's energy infrastructure

Friday, 1 December 2023, 00:15
US focuses on three key lines of effort to protect Ukraine's energy infrastructure
John Kirby. Photo: Getty Images

Russia has been attempting to destroy Ukraine's vital energy infrastructure and deny its citizens access to heat and electricity during the coldest season for the second year in a row. The United States is attempting to prevent this in three ways.

Source: John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, at a briefing in the White House; Voice of America

Details: Kirby said the United States believes that Russia will return to this cruel tactic, so its work is focused on three key lines of effort.

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First, in order to stop Iranian drones and Russian missiles aimed at vital infrastructure, the US is bolstering Ukraine's air defence capabilities. Specifically, Kirby mentioned that in recent aid packages, the US provided Ukraine with Patriot batteries, HAWK and Avenger air defence systems to counter unmanned aircraft systems, and other critical air defence assets.

The second way that the US will help Ukraine, Kirby said, is by fortifying its vital energy infrastructure. The US has therefore supplied safety gear like wire mesh, rebar, and Hesco barriers to safeguard vital infrastructure. Additionally, Ukrainian officials receive advice on the best ways to utilise this equipment from specialists from the US Departments of Energy and Defense.

Third, Kirby further stated, back-up supplies and equipment have been provided to Ukraine. In the event that Russia delivers severe strikes, high-voltage autotransformers, industrial-size gas generators, and mobile off-grid equipment will add resilience and prevent people from losing heat and electricity.

Kirby says that the G7 Plus Energy Coordination Group, which consists of the US and 50 other countries, is working together on this. Together, they have provided Ukraine with the equipment and materials it needs for energy production, including substation infrastructure, generators, and other security measures.

At the same time, Kirby noted that in order for the United States to continue to provide Ukraine with the air defence assets, protective equipment and back-up supplies that it needs, Congress must pass additional funding.

He reiterated his call for Congress to act quickly to approve additional funding to assist Israel and Ukraine, as well as the Indo-Pacific region and US border security.

"We didn’t pull those figures out of thin air. We need that funding. We continue to urge Congress to pass that supplemental [funding - ed.] as soon as possible," Kirby said. 

The official also warned that the "runway is getting shorter", and this must be resolved before the end of the year.

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