A high-ranking Ukrainian official believes that Russia is running out of missiles to target critical infrastructure.
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov told Ukrainian news outlet Pravda on Monday that Russia has “at most two or three, maybe four more to spare.”
“But then they will be completely without missiles, which is unacceptable, because they may have completely different challenges, and they have to leave at least some reserve,” Danilov said.
About a month ago, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov tweeted a list of high-precision Russian missile supplies on November 22, showing a reduced stockpile of Iskander, Kalibr, Kh-22/32 and Kh-35 missiles.
William Courtney, former U.S. ambassador and adjunct senior fellow at the nonprofit RAND Corporation, told Newsweek that it would be best for Danilov and other Ukrainian officials use caution when making claims about Russia’s missile stockpile.
“Moscow has reserves for other purposes, including war with NATO,” Courtney said. “How deeply it will be willing to dip into them to use against Ukraine is not easily assessed.”
He added that uncertainty remains regarding how many S-300s Russia is willing to repurpose as surface-to-surface missiles. Danilov expressed scepticism regarding the number of those missiles are at Russia’s disposal.
“If Moscow were to expect the West to supply Western combat fighters, such as Gripens [fighter aircrafts], it might be less willing to repurchase S-300s,” Courtney said.
Ukrenergo CEO Volodymyr Kudrytskyi told U.S.-based Voice of America that Russia has already launched more than 1,000 heavy missiles and kamikaze drones, directed at Ukraine’s electric grid and including mostly Ukrenergo targets, transmission targets and power plants.
He said damage incurred from the attacks, which date to early October, require at a minimum $1.5 billion for restoration. It caused Ukrenegro, which is responsible for Ukraine’s national grid, to introduce “rolling power cuts…to maintain the perfect balance between generation and consumption in the system.”
“This makes this campaign against [the] power system the largest in human history,” Kudrytskyi said. “Nobody ever has experienced what we are experiencing now. So, of course, such a scale of destruction presumes a lot of problems. And unfortunately millions of Ukrainians are now suffering from this because millions of people are cut from electricity supplies.”
Russia’s “ultimate goal” is to cause a complete system blackout, Kudrytskyi added. He referred to “clear strategies” that inflict the most destruction, surmising that Russian military forces are being “consulted” by energy experts about which targets to identify and attack.
John Erath, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told Newsweek that Danilov’s comments regarding Russia’s missile arsenal were likely strategic.
“[Danilov’s] goal is to reassure the Ukrainian public that they can fight on, so any comments should be read in that light,” Erath said. “That has been the critical factor thus far: the will to resist.
“Kyiv is well aware that the Russian strategy is to wear down the will to resist through attacks on civilians and infrastructure and wants to signal that these will not achieve their goal.”
On Monday, Ukrenegro announced emergency power outages via Telegram in the Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Zhytomyr, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv regions, including the capital city of Kyiv.
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