Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko says about half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by shelling and rocket attacks since Russia started targeting it in October.
Galushchenko made the remarks in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live airing Sunday. He also spoke about how the power outages have affected his country.
“It’s influenced not only the people. It’s influenced the industry, the production, the economy of the country,” he said.
Russia, which invaded and forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missile strikes since last October.
Galuschenko told CBC News Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton that while it seems his country has weathered the worst of the strikes, he isn’t expecting Russia to stop.
WATCH | Ukrainian energy minister on Russian attacks:
Rosemary Barton Live speaks with Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galushchenko, about the latest attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure as Ukrainians continue to endure blackouts. Galushchenko also discusses how they are handling Russia’s nuclear threats.
“It’s very difficult, let’s say, to predict the level of damages in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been ramping up his rhetoric about nuclear weapons lately.
Putin announced plans on Thursday to deploy new Sarmat multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. Earlier this week, he suspended Russia’s participation in the START nuclear arms control treaty.
In remarks released by the Kremlin, Putin said Russia would “pay increased attention to strengthening the nuclear triad” — a reference to nuclear missiles deployed from land-based silos, submarines and bombers.
Galushchenko said Putin has made nuclear threats in the past and he doesn’t know whether these threats are serious.
“It’s really difficult to make any estimation,” he said.
Experts in Ukraine and elsewhere are also growing more alarmed about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, which has been shelled over the past few months.
The plant is occupied by Russian forces. Galushchenko said his government is in constant contact with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi and the agency’s experts at the plant.
“Our joint feeling … is that the situation has become worse and worse,” he said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency wants a safety zone created around the plant. Galushchenko said a draft agreement on that zone is still on hold.
Support from Canada
Since the war in Ukraine began, Canada has committed over $5 billion in financial, humanitarian, development, military, and peace and stabilization funds to Ukraine.
When asked whether the Canadian government has offered more help to repair Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Galushchenko said his government is in constant communication with Ottawa.
“We received a lot from Canada. We are talking not only about the money donation, but also the supply of equipment,” he said.
As the world marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion, Galushchenko said he is confident his country will win. He said Ukrainians will fight as long as they must.
“We are not tired. We are ready to fight until the victory, and I think that gives us the feeling that the victory is not far.”