More than 10 million Ukrainians have been cut off from power after another wave of Russian strikes on critical infrastructure, with concerns about Ukraine’s power supply growing as winter begins across the country.
Temperatures have dropped in Ukraine this week, putting the country’s power grid under additional strain as engineers try to repair damage from Russia’s new missile strikes, according to state energy company Okenergo.
“Due to the significant decrease in temperature, electricity consumption is increasing daily in those regions of Ukraine where power supply has already been restored after the massive missile strikes of November 15 on the energy infrastructure,” Okranergo said in a statement released on Friday. “This complicates an already difficult situation in the energy system.”
Okenergo said it was restricting electricity use in some areas “as a necessary measure to maintain the stability of the power system,” and it has teams “working around the clock to repair damaged infrastructure in order to bring light back to Ukrainians.”
Russian missile strikes have hit critical infrastructure in cities across Ukraine this week, as many parts of Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, experienced their first snow of the season on Thursday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Thursday that more than 10 million Ukrainians lacked electricity, and that most of them were in Kyiv, Odessa, Vinnytsia and Sumy regions.
Zelensky said crews were doing their best to normalize supplies but that there were “emergency blackouts again in addition to the planned installations”.
Yasno, an electricity supplier in Kyiv, said the city experienced emergency power outages throughout Thursday, with less than half of its normal supply in the grid.
Russian missile and shelling hit civilian infrastructure in different parts of Ukraine on Thursday night.
Zelensky said that dozens of people were injured as a result of missile strikes in Dnipro, while seven bodies were recovered in Zaporizhia from the rubble of an apartment building destroyed by Russian bombing. On Friday morning, his office said two more bodies were later found at the Zaporizhye site, bringing the death toll to nine.
Three other men were taken to hospital after being wounded in missile strikes in Izyum, Kharkiv region. Several gas production facilities were destroyed in eastern Ukraine, and the bombing damaged other facilities. The southern Odessa region was also hit by Russian strikes on Thursday.
Zelensky has accused Russia of “energy terrorism” due to its frequent attacks on key infrastructure.
“The fact that Russia has resorted to terror against the energy sector indicates the weakness of the enemy,” Zelensky said during his November 3 night address.
“They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, and therefore they are trying to break our people in this way.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday’s strikes targeted missile manufacturing facilities, as well as “fuel and energy infrastructure” associated with the military.
On Friday, the ministry said, “an arsenal of artillery weapons provided by Western countries, intended for shipment to the forces, was destroyed.” “The transfer of reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the delivery of foreign weapons to combat zones has been disrupted.”