Ukraine facing blackouts until March after ‘colossal’ damage to grid from Russian air strikes

Firefighters work to put out a fire at energy infrastructure facilities in the Kyiv region, damaged by Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues.  (via REUTERS)
Firefighters work to put out a fire at energy infrastructure facilities in the Kyiv region, damaged by Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues. (via REUTERS)

Ukraine faces blackouts across the country after ”colossal” damage to the country’s power grid from Russian attacks, an energy expert has warned.

Ukrainians are being told to stock up on supplies or evacuate as the winter bites with temperatures expected to plunge to -20C.

Millions are suffering blackouts as Vladimir Putin’s forces fire missiles intended to cripple critical infrastructure as part of its war on its neighbour.

Sergey Kovalenko, the CEO of private energy provider DTEK Yasno, said that the company was under instructions from Ukraine’s state grid operator to resume emergency blackouts in the areas it covers, including the capital Kyiv and the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.

He wrote: “Although there are fewer blackouts now, I want everyone to understand: Most likely, Ukrainians will have to live with blackouts until at least the end of March.

“I think we need to be prepared for different options, even the worst ones. Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about what will help you wait out a long shutdown.

That Russian onslaught has caused widespread blackouts and deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat and water.

The World Health Organisation has warned that millions of lives are at risk in Ukraine over the winter with power outages leaving residents without basic utilities.

Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe: “This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine”

Temperatures commonly stay below freezing in Ukraine in the winter, and snow has already some to many areas, including Kyiv.

Ukrainian authorities have started evacuating civilians from recently liberated sections of the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions out of fear that the winter will be too tough to survive.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Russian missile strikes have damaged more than 50% of the country’s energy facilities.

“The scale of destruction is colossal” on the power grid from the Russian barrage last week, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the CEO of Ukrenergo, the state-own power grid operator, told Ukrainian TV on Tuesday.

He said Ukraine has “practically no intact thermal (or) hydroelectric power plants” following the large-scale attack by Moscow on Nov.

Kyiv regional authorities said on Tuesday more than 150 settlements were enduring emergency blackouts due to the onset of winter weather, including snowfall and high winds.

More than 70 repair teams have been deployed to restore power across the province.

Speaking on Ukrainian TV, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russia launched missiles at the city of Kramatorsk, home to the local headquarters of the Ukrainian military, and on the strategic city of Avdiivka.

Kyrylenko added that power supplies and communications are non-existent in most of the Donetsk region.