Ukraine shields its energy infrastructure in several defensive layers — official

Mustafa Nayyem, Head of the Agency for Infrastructure Reconstruction and Development

In anticipation of Moscow resuming its air strike campaign this winter, Ukraine has taken steps to protect key nodes of its energy infrastructure by erecting several layers of defensive structures, the head of the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, Mustafa Nayyem, said at NV’s Dialogues on Resilience event on Oct. 5. 

According to Nayyem, direct hits were not the biggest problem during Russian attacks on energy infrastructure as they were quite rare last winter. The real issue was the shrapnel. Transformers, being oil-filled equipment, tend to “burn up right before your eyes” when hit by shrapnel.

Initially, sandbags were used for protection. Over time, gabions — structures of about 12 meters tall — were built around the substations to protect the transformers, forming the first layer of defense.

Read also: Ukraine needs more Gepard and other air defense missiles to protect against Russian attacks this autumn and winter

“In fact, this is very effective protection; but it worked only until there were several cases of drones hitting the transformers directly,” Nayyem pointed out.

To protect against direct drone hits, a second layer was needed. Concrete structures were being built around critical sites starting from March 2023.

The third layer is designed for protect against missiles, but the official was secretive as to what exactly it looks like.

“The types of missile attacks against Ukraine have not been seen in any other country,” said Nayyem.

Read also: UK intel says Russia might again target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure this winter

“No country had faced attacks from these missile types. Some mention Israel, South Korea, even Malaysia, but none of these countries saw such attacks in large quantities. For comparison, last October, 5-7 drones arrived within two to three days, followed by a lull. Today it’s already around 600 [kamikaze] drones a month.”

He did not disclose details about this third defense layer, only saying that such structures do not exist anywhere else in the world. Various experts were consulted for their development, but eventually, Ukrainian servicemen invented them during training in London.

“They came up with constructions that help protect substations from such large threats,” the official added.

Read also: Ukraine to pioneer comprehensive energy infrastructure protections to foil Russian attacks

“These are very expensive structures. They cost a lot of money. They also take quite a long time to build because for some structures it’s necessary to drive poles 40 meters deep into the ground. On some grounds, these amounted to tens of thousands of poles driven into the ground to build a protected substation. But this will allow us to be protected against missiles. I hope we can protect as many substations as possible this [winter] season.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine

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