The Ukrainian leader asks for help in fending off airstrikes and warns that Russia has destroyed half of Ukraine’s energy production capacity.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on his allies to increase their air defense support to Ukraine to help protect his country’s energy infrastructure.

Zelensky said Tuesday at a conference in Germany on Ukraine’s reconstruction that Russia has destroyed half of his country’s electricity production capacity. Another seven Patriot missile systems, as well as other air defense systems, are needed to enable the military to protect Ukraine’s urban centers from the storm of missiles, he claimed.

The two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin marks the start of a week of intense diplomacy for the Ukrainian president, during which he will also travel to the Group of Seven (G7) summit with his country’s key Western allies, and a peace summit in Switzerland.

The German hosts say it will bring together 2,000 people from national and local politics, business and other areas, arguing that the task of supporting Ukraine’s recovery is too big for governments alone.

Sustained Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power grid in recent weeks have forced energy companies to impose nationwide blackouts.

Zelenskyy told the conference that Ukraine will need equipment in the coming month to repair heating and power plants that are currently out of service.

“This allows us to respond to the situation here and now,” he said.

A total of nine gigawatts of electricity generation capacity has been destroyed – including 80 percent of thermal energy and a third of hydropower – while peak consumption in Ukraine last winter was 18 gigawatts, Zelenskyy noted.

Energy, he said, remains “one of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s main targets.”

The Kremlin said Tuesday that attacks on energy facilities are justified because they are partly aimed at disrupting electricity supplies to military facilities.

Amnesty International has called the attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure a war crime.

Helps reduce seizures

Ihor Terekhov, the mayor of Kharkov, added his support to calls for more air defense support, saying Tuesday that the Ukrainian armed forces’ ability to carry out airstrikes in Russia has helped reduce the number of attacks on his embattled city after weeks of violent attacks. bombardment.

“This helped,” Terekhov said in an interview with Reuters.

However, Russia launched three guided bombs on Kharkiv on Monday, damaging at least two houses, according to local officials, underscoring the ongoing threat.

The city and surrounding region have long been the target of Russian attacks, but they have intensified in recent months, hitting civilian and energy infrastructure.

In recent months, Moscow’s forces have made slow but steady advances along several parts of the vast eastern front, trying to push deeper into the northeastern Kharkiv region.