In an interview with , the adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, talked about the consequences of Russian missile strikes on the energy system, whether new massive attacks are expected and what the Armed Forces of Ukraine need to destroy enemy missiles.
Let’s start with the blackout, Ukraine officially survived it, this was confirmed by Ukrenergo. Can we already talk about what are its consequences and how the process of their elimination continues?
For the people of Ukraine, the “consequences” are even more rallying around the idea of victory over Russia, over Putin’s regime, this is even more rallying around the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Of course, the most severe consequences are experienced by our fellow citizens with certain age restrictions, who remain locked in the high floors of their buildings because the elevators do not work. There are problems with the operation of hospitals, problems with those people who need the mandatory operation of electrical devices to support their health. This is a problem for the entire energy sector of our country.
The most important thing is that the whole world understood: Putin and his army are not able to fight with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They fight with transformers, with women, with children and with old people.
We see an even greater rallying of our allies around Ukraine, their sincere desire to help us. Sometimes the help is unfortunately delayed, as was the case with the air defense systems that the president has been asking for since the first day of the Russian invasion. However, at the moment we see that weapons are going to Ukraine, that new air defense systems are being delivered. Thanks to the installation of the American NASAMS and IRIS-T systems around Kyiv, missiles no longer reach the center of Kyiv, they are shot down. The same will be gradually done around other large cities of Ukraine.
Although we will say frankly that the number of air defense systems that were given to us is not enough to cover the entire territory of Ukraine.
PUTIN WANTS TO FORCE ZELENSKY FOR NEGOTIATIONS
Putin’s strikes on the territory of Ukraine and the energy system will undoubtedly happen. And one must clearly understand that it must be a hard winter. However, our will to win cannot be broken. Conditions are being created so that there are heating points where people can get hot food and drink. Of course, it is absolutely fair that if you have the opportunity to temporarily leave the territory of Ukraine in order not to experience these cataclysms, you are not involved in the defense of the country, working at enterprises necessary for life support, then it is necessary to do so.
You are talking about repeating the attacks, and Putin still has the tools to make a blackout? Can it completely destroy our infrastructure? Leave us without light? Secretary of the NSDC Danilov says that the Russian Federation has missiles left for a maximum of 3-4 such attacks. Is this enough?
I am not ready to measure the number of strikes left for a complete shutdown of Ukraine’s energy system. According to my information, even if individual substations are cut off, energy islands remain. For example, Kyiv can receive electricity from the Kyiv HPP, and this will be enough for a certain number of working nodes – for the operation of the metro, electric transport, military industry. But it is obvious that the only way to survive such shocks for the power system is through fan outages, scheduled outages, and sometimes emergency outages.
After the last strike, the energy workers had to turn off the nuclear power plants. Probably, for the first time in the history of the world, due to a military threat, three working nuclear power plants, or even four, including Zaporizhzhya, were cut down at once.
This is a danger to the civilized world. Although nuclear power plants have safety systems, no one knows how the situation will turn out when nuclear power plants remain without energy, without alternative sources for more than 7-10 days.
We need to strengthen ourselves, we need to understand that we will win equally. What does Putin want to achieve with these strikes? I can explain. In this way, he wants to force the president of Ukraine to come to an agreement with Russia. Putin cannot understand that Zelensky will not talk to him. He clearly said that negotiations can only be with the future president of Russia, not with Putin.
Do we understand correctly that the authorities do not allow the opportunity to sit down at the negotiating table, even if the situation in the energy sector deteriorates greatly?
I am convinced that the president and the people of Ukraine will not go to such negotiations. No one will succumb to this blackmail.
Recent polls show that Ukrainians do not want this.
Of course. These strikes on the country’s energy system do not affect the ability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to continue their offensives, because the Armed Forces have their own autonomous energy sources.
THERE ARE NO SUCCESSES ON THE BATTLEFIELD IN RUSSIA
The offensive will continue. Both in the Zaporizhzhia region and in the east of Ukraine. And they will end with the complete expulsion of the occupiers from the territory of Ukraine.
At the same time, one must understand that Russia and Putin will not go anywhere. We will have 1.4 thousand kilometers of border and 800 kilometers of border with Belarus, also an aggressor state. We will need to create a powerful defense system in the country. We have to live like Israel, which lived for 70 years surrounded by enemies. We have to live like South Korea, which has lived with the North Korean regime for 70 crazy years.
The whole world admires the bravery of Ukrainians. The phrase brave like Ukraine is already a brand for the whole world.
You rightly emphasized the incredible unity of Ukrainians as a result of this blackout. The question arises, to what extent the goals set by the Kremlin can be compared with the results of this missile attack?
The goal of the missile attacks, in addition to damage to the energy infrastructure, was Putin’s attempt to save his prestige in the eyes of the so-called “cotton warriors”, supporters of war. Show them that they are still “something”.
They have no success on the battlefield. The same Avdiivka, which is 8 kilometers from Donetsk, they could not take for 9 months thanks to the heroism of our soldiers.
It is also a reason to push the authorities of Ukraine into negotiations using the method of energy blackmail. But they will not succeed.
An unpleasant question, but it is necessary to talk about it. Where does the enemy have such accurate data on the placement of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure? Are law enforcement agencies thinking about it?
There is no need to ask the SBU or anyone. In fact, absolutely all the data on substations of Ukraine are in energy textbooks published during the Soviet years. There are many pictures on the subject “Economic Geography”, where Ukrainian power plants are located – Rivne, Chornobyl, South Ukrainian NPP. Five nuclear power plants. It is obvious that there are substations next to them. There are six hydroelectric power plants on the Dnipro. Sorry, they are visible from space, their dams. And each power station has its own transformer substation. Therefore, there are no secrets here.
The whole world has long been visible from space. The location of any substation is absolutely known.
What are the Russians doing? They attack the power system, then through those people who are their agents, supporters, they get information about whether there is light in Kyiv, Dnipro or Odesa. And they are preparing for a new strike.
On the other hand, these strikes can be avoided only by strengthening the air defense system. Unfortunately, we are not given the most effective anti-crude missile. This is aviation. The essence of a cruise missile is to fly at a low altitude, and our radars do not always notice it. At the same time, aircraft radars see cruise missiles like in the palm of your hand. According to the tactics of using aviation, an interceptor on a fighter enters behind a cruise missile, shoots and with a 100% probability of shooting it down. We have many such examples. But unfortunately, we have very few planes. And our Western allies are still afraid to give us aviation.
In 9 months, our pilots would have mastered the F-16, F-18, and any other Western fighter a long time ago, but a political decision is needed. It will definitely be. Remember, at first they refused to give us the famous HIMARS, and now in Ukraine they are advertised so much that the queue for them is 10 years ahead. They did not want to give us powerful air defense systems such as NASAMS and IRIS-T. Finally, they were given.
I think that the day is not far when we will be given new tanks and new planes.
Another unpleasant story. We have seen isolated cases of road closures due to lack of electricity, complaints of lack of water. Odessans excelled. Were they Russian provocations, do you think?
People who are used to living with electricity do not understand the most important thing, that these are emergency shutdowns. Nuclear power plants were shut down due to breakdowns of substations. And here you will not achieve anything by exits and road closures. Maybe it’s just that information was not finalized with our fellow citizens in Odesa, the local authorities did not inform them that any overlaps will not solve the problem. Energy workers should be given the opportunity to work calmly, they should be able to see when and what to do.
For example, I know the heads of the country’s energy industry, but it never occurred to me to call and ask when electricity will be available in my area. Why? But because you can’t bother the energy workers, they have their own plans, they know what needs to be supplied first of all – railways, metro stations, military enterprises, places where important state decisions are made. Yes, the rest will have to suffer. But the system is gradually recovering. The other day, for example, they gave electricity to Kherson, which had not been there for a month. Therefore, all of Ukraine will recover and prosper.
Then let’s stop at Kherson, the situation is very difficult there now, the city is intensively shelled, there are a lot of fires. Is it possible to somehow protect the city from artillery?
It is natural that every time the Russians shoot at Kherson, our gunners answer them and kick them in the teeth, because there are special radar stations that determine the place of shelling and after that our shells, our HIMARS, already fly there. Therefore, of course, there will be a fivefold revenge for each person killed.
Is it even possible to make a prediction about the liberation of the left bank?
Look, these forecasts are a thankless business. There is a General Staff that has the calculation of forces and means for the offensive, and they know better when to do it. Currently, for example, the weather conditions are very difficult, tanks are being loaded in Ukrainian chernozems. Therefore, I think that the offensive will begin when the weather, shall we say, becomes more favorable, the ground freezes, and the heavy equipment can advance and advance.
PUTIN ALREADY has to somehow explain to the Russians WHAT IS HAPPENING
In Russia, they observe our problems and triumph. They deprived Ukrainians of light, water, and heat. Solovyov has been promising a nuclear strike for several days, delighting his audience. At the same time, I drew attention to the fact that the riots of the mobilized, on which Russian oppositionists in exile had placed such hopes, came to naught. Do you think the Russians have finally come to terms with the war, are they satisfied with everything? Can they wake up sooner or later?
First, only time can change the situation for the worse. I can tell you that from the history of wars, if we take the First World War, in 1914 all the countries that entered it entered joyfully – the French, the English, the Russians, and the Germans – everyone shouted: “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurray ! We will definitely defeat the enemy” and so on. It took no less than a year and hundreds of thousands of victims for everyone to understand that the war was leading their states to complete collapse.
I don’t believe the polls in Russia that say 75% support the war. First, Russia is a state of total fear. There you can get 7 years in prison for saying that you are against the war.
Do you remember how for months the propagandists said: “This is all nonsense, what a war, there will be no war!”. Then the war began, they promised to enter Kyiv in three days. But it’s not that they didn’t go to Kyiv, they can’t go to Bakhmut for five months. And the rest of their success they had only in the first days due to the factor of suddenness. After that, they are moving away from Kharkiv Oblast, Kherson Oblast, etc. And there will be more. Therefore, this process will continue gradually. The impoverishment of the Russian people will continue. Today, one third of the Russian budget for 2023 is spending on the army and power structures. This means that people will withdraw money from social programs, from medicine, health care. Sooner or later it will lead to hatred. Yes, we do not have such a tool as the Allies had during the Second World War, when the Germans under the fascist regime experienced firsthand what it was like to start wars against other countries, when the bombing of London was returned by the bombing of Berlin, Dresden and other cities. We do not have such an opportunity. But I think that we will achieve the result by other methods.
In a previous interview, you said that the more Russians die in Ukraine, the sooner the time will come for a coup in the Kremlin. But we already see almost 90 thousand, probably, and this is not enough, right?
Note that yesterday there was an unprecedented case when Putin met with the so-called mothers of the military, although they were specially selected…
Did you find at least one mother there who was really grieving for her son? Have you seen this video?
First of all, as far as I remember, there were no mothers whose sons died, that is, they were mothers whose sons were fighting. I even wonder what will happen in the future, when one of their sons does die under the blows of our artillery and our troops. What am I talking about? Putin already has to come out of his shell and communicate with his people in order to somehow explain what is happening. But these explanations are, to put it mildly, unconvincing. Today, no one goes into battle shouting “For the Motherland, for Putin.” While in the same Soviet years they marched “For the Motherland, for Stalin”. Russian propaganda is actually not as strong as they try to paint it. Therefore, gradually, gradually, her bonds will fall from people.
By the way, since July of this year, the majority of Russian information users have already left television and are now on Telegram. That is, Russians understand that what Solovyov, Skabeeva and others say on TV should be divided in half and turned 180 degrees. They say that there won’t be a second wave of mobilization – so there will definitely be one. They say that there will be no inflation, no economic problems – therefore, they will definitely be there. Like this.
THERE ARE NO MORE UNIONS FOR PUTIN FOREVER, HE REMAINS ALONE
Putin appeared this week not only at a meeting with mothers, he appeared at a meeting of the CSTO. And now I would like to ask, what was it in general? Lukashenko promises that the CSTO will stand up for Belarus in the event of an attack on this country, but is anyone going to attack it? At the same time, Armenia sits at this table, which recently requested such help from the CSTO and did not receive it. Do the participants understand why they need this organization, and why Putin is so passionate about it?
Putin imagined himself as a great strategist, a world leader, whose decision depends on the future of the entire world, the entire universe. He expected that the invasion of Ukraine would be successful, Ukraine would fall, he would generally become terrible and terrible for the whole world, everyone would be afraid of him. It didn’t work out that way. Putin’s almost complete foreign policy isolation leads to the fact that he considers it honorable to meet with the president of the Central African Republic or with other African countries. The CSTO was a structure created by Putin in order to pretend that there are some countries around Russia with which it is in a NATO-like relationship, that they should stand for each other. But it turned out that in fact all this is a fake, and this CSTO is built on fear of Russia. When the countries of Central Asia and Transcaucasia suddenly began to see that Putin is a Colossus with feet of clay, then, for example, even the president of Tajikistan, a country dependent in many respects on Putin, directly asked him not to communicate with Central Asian countries like this in public, to treat them with respect .
Regarding Mykola Pashinyan. He, an ally of the Russian Federation, suddenly saw how Russia refused to defend Armenia and its interests in the conflict with Azerbaijan by any means, even elementary diplomatic ones, even with a word. So he refused to sign the declaration, after which Putin threw his pen on the table and Lukashenko threw up his hands. We showed this video to the whole world.
There are no more alliances around Putin, he is alone. There is only one more scumbag with him – Lukashenko. Putin pulled him in with the power of fear, he is completely dependent on Putin. And, in general, everything. Iran does its own policy, it just sells missiles or drones to Putin for money and gets the military technology it wants from Putin. It is beneficial for China to receive oil and other resources from Russia, which the West is currently wringing its hands. Putin was left alone. And this isolation will only increase with all these decisions to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Do you know that Prigozhin appeared on the FBI’s website, that 250 thousand dollars are promised for his head? Putin will be there soon.
IF LUKASHENKO ATTEMPTS TO ATTACK, THE WAR WILL END IN MINSK
You correctly noted that only Lukashenko stood up for Putin at the CSTO meeting, giving another dose of delusion about Ukraine. What do you think it was, did he decide to join the war or just, like a little dog, worked out the dungeons of the Kremlin and quickly washed back into the bushes?
The second option. Lukashenko is completely dependent on Putin, his power is completely permeated by Russian agents – the special services, the army, and so on. He himself is Putin’s puppet, he has no opportunity to do anything. The only thing holding him back is his desire to survive so that he and his family can continue to stay in power. But he gave Putin territory for a treacherous attack on Kyiv and Chernihiv. He gave territory to Belarus for treacherous aerial missile strikes that killed thousands of Ukrainians. Therefore, it is an abomination and scum who will answer together with Putin.
It seems that this is not enough for Putin. American analysts talked about the fact that the Kremlin has already given the go-ahead for the physical removal of Lukashenka.
I think that this is an unlikely scenario, because then Putin may not control what is happening in Belarus. The guarantees that he will be able to appoint his successor to the post of the head of Belarus, and it will be painless for him, are quite small. I do not believe in this plan.
Perhaps this information comes from the Kremlin to finally intimidate Lukashenka and force him to participate in the war?
If the Belarusian army tries to attack Ukraine under the orders of Lukashenka, I think that this war will end in Minsk. Putin is in the same situation as Hitler was during the Second World War. All his allies, such as Mussolini and others, only weakened him, their troops were effective. Remember how the Italians behaved during the Second World War. They threw down their weapons and surrendered to the Soviet army, exposing areas of the front and worsening the situation for the German army and the Wehrmacht. Therefore, the situation is the same with the Belarusian army. No one will fight there and there will be no effectiveness of the attack.
However, we still need to prepare, right? How well fortified is this border of ours today?
All over northern Ukraine, Polish region, there are signs “Caution, mines”, and all local residents know that forest paths, passages, bridges are mined. It’s one thing when the invasion is kind of sudden. Today it is impossible.
There are satellites of our allies, the work of our intelligence. A huge number of informants are working. Even in Belarus, there is a public site “Belarusian Forest” of the Belarusian opposition, which daily reports information on where some Belarusian or Russian military vehicle has passed. Just come in and read. That is, everything is so under control that it is impossible to imperceptibly accumulate tens of thousands of troops for any kind of invasion. Anyone who tries to claim that Belarus is a threat is either in the bathroom or out of control.
2023 WILL BE THE YEAR OF IMPACT DRONES
You are an excellent military analyst, so I would like to ask you to predict what situation awaits us on the fronts in the coming month?
The situation at the front is like this. After our victory on the right bank and the escape of the enemy, tens of thousands of well-trained and equipped troops were released from us, who were to advance and conduct combat operations for the liberation of the Kherson region. These troops will be deployed in the east of Ukraine, where the situation is currently the most difficult (Avdiivka, Vugledara region). It is there that our fresh troops will help to stop the Russian offensive, which is actually quite sluggish.
We are all waiting for the continuation of the offensive in the east. Our troops are attacking Svatove, Kreminna. And if our troops de-occupy these settlements as soon as possible, the Russians will have to flee from Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, and Rubizhny.
Of course, morale is very high. Weapons, unfortunately, are not as many as we would like, because our Western countries could supply much more of them. There are certain shortcomings in vehicles, cargo transport, but the morale of our soldiers is so high that no one thinks about stopping the offensive.
Can you tell us about the new “birds” that, thanks to you, will soon appear in service?
I can say in general that the upcoming 2023 will be the year of drones, and of drones. This year was the year of reconnaissance drones, when HIMARS and artillery used them to deliver precision strikes on the enemy. At the same time, a lot of work was done by the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to ensure that next year large units of attack drones were deployed, which would destroy as many Russians as possible with their direct participation.
The arithmetic is simple: the more Russians are destroyed, the sooner this war will end. No amount of strikes on the energy structure will save Putin from relentless retribution both for him personally and for those who planned this aggressive war with him. We will definitely win, there is no doubt about that. Yes, these burdens must be borne. Yes, we must protect our wives, children, relatives. Those who can leave Ukraine should be supported. But we will definitely win. Glory to Ukraine!
Kateryna Schwartz, Oleksiy Lihman