In an interview, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko stated that Ukraine is considering targeting Russia’s oil and gas infrastructure if Moscow continues to intensify attacks on Ukraine’s electric system during the winter season.
During a conversation with POLITICO in Washington, D.C., Galushchenko shared that after discussing with Biden administration officials and lawmakers, it is clear that Russia has consistently carried out cyberattacks on Ukraine’s electric grid. As the weather gets colder and people rely more on energy for heating, it is anticipated that Russia will also increase physical attacks.
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, recently stated that his country would retaliate if Russia increases attacks on their power grid this winter. This could potentially worsen the already unstable global energy markets due to the ongoing conflict in Europe.
When questioned about the possibility of Ukraine targeting Russia’s extensive oil and gas operations, which greatly contribute to its economy, Galushchenko responded by saying, “It would be equitable.”
Galushchenko suggested retaliating against Russia’s attack by targeting their energy infrastructure.
Galushchenko clarified that he is not a part of the Ukrainian military and did not engage in conversations with U.S. government officials about potentially targeting Russian energy operations. He is, however, a member of the Ukrainian national security and defense council.
Evidence was discovered suggesting potential involvement of Ukrainian citizens.
During his time in Washington D.C., Galushchenko held meetings with Jennifer Granholm, the Secretary of Energy, Geoffrey Pyatt, the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, and various lawmakers such as Senator [last name].Angus King (I-Maine) and Kevin Cramer
Representatives from the United States and Ukraine met to discuss the necessity of American air defense systems and other equipment for Ukraine. The officials’ representatives did not respond to inquiries about the meetings.
Galushchenko stated that he advocated for sanctions against Russia’s nuclear sector, specifically the state-run company Rosatom, in order to compel Russian workers to vacate the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant complex, which was taken over by the Russian military in 2022.
Russian nuclear fuel and technology is a major export for the country. Despite a decrease in imports of Russian oil and gas by the United States and Europe, they continue to spend large amounts of money on Russian nuclear fuel and technology, which some argue supports Moscow’s military actions.
Galushchenko described Russia’s continued occupation of the plant as one of the greatest worries in Ukraine. In June, the plant’s main outside reservoir of cooling water started leaking after a hydroelectric plant was damaged, forcing the emergency drilling of groundwater wells.
According to Galushchenko, the equipment at the plant is deteriorating while it remains inactive. This raises concerns about a potential nuclear incident in a country that has already faced the disaster of Chernobyl in 1986.
Galushchenko added that despite the presence of employees from the International Atomic Energy Agency at the Zaporizhzhia complex, they only have a false sense of authority and have been unsuccessful in convincing Russia to vacate the nuclear facility.
“We must come up with a novel solution,” Galushchenko suggested. “My proposal is to impose sanctions on Russian nuclear activities. Otherwise, we have no means to compel them.”