Analysing international policy processes and Lithuania’s role in them
Review May 10, 2024

Lessons of War: Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure Damage, Resilience and Future Opportunities

Photo source: Sergei Supinsky / AFP
  • Since 2022, the military actions in Ukraine have caused losses to the country’s energy infrastructure running into millions; its restoration requires more than USD 47 billion.
  • Russia has systematically destroyed the energy infrastructure in order to demoralise the population, obstruct the effective functioning of the Ukrainian military and disrupt the country’s economy.
  • Despite huge challenges in the winter of 2022/2023, Ukraine managed to maintain its electricity supply in the winter of 2023/2024 thanks to strengthened air defence, international support and efforts to decentralise the power grid.
  • Support from the EU, the USA and other countries has included providing technical assistance and supplying repair parts and generators to enable emergency repairs or to maintain power.
  • Looking to the future, Ukraine aims not only to restore but also to modernise its energy sector based on the Build Back Better principle, i.e. restoration of the energy system to a better position than it was before.
  • In the future, Ukraine also plans to expand the use of renewable energy sources and nuclear energy and integrate into the European energy market.
  • Ukraine must continue to modernise the energy sector, seek decentralisation and expand its production volumes of renewable resources such as biomethane and green hydrogen. At the same time, it is important
    to use its existing competencies in the development of nuclear energy.
  • The European Union and the international community must continue to support Ukraine in order to ensure its energy stability, primarily through the provision of air defence systems but also by investing in and promoting energy sector reforms in Ukraine.
  • Other countries should rely on Ukraine’s lessons in safeguarding their infrastructure – ensuring adequate reserves of critical repair components, passive defense measures for equipment in case of war, proper training of specialists, and potentially further expanding the electricity grid to ensure its reliability in case of losing some infrastructure.

After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, energy security became a particularly sensitive issue for Europe and seeking ways to abandon Russian energy resources became a priority. Events such as the bombing of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in September 2022 continued to increase attention to this topic in Europe. Such
actions in times of war especially attract the attention of Western governments and associations.

On the one hand, this is due to the direct impact on the security and economy of European countries, such as the abandonment of Russian natural resources or the aforementioned Nord Stream attack. On the other hand, the importance of energy in the war has also been heightened by Russia’s reckless and systematic destruction of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in order to intimidate and break the will of Ukrainians to oppose Russian forces. In addition, Russia’s behaviour towards the nuclear infrastructure is “reckless” to say the least, such as not complying with safety requirements at the entrances to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant at the beginning of the invasion, and later, by deploying military equipment in the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and posing a threat to the cooling of the reactors and the general operation of the power plant.

Ready the full publication here.

Saulius Rimutis graduated from Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science (VU IIRPS) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2021 and from VU IIRPS with a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy in 2023. Saulius has experience in the energy sector working for the National Energy Regulatory Council. He is currently pursuing his career in a state-owned energy company as a strategic planning analyst. His main areas of interest are national security, energy and warfare.