Ukrainians told to help war effort by leaving the country to save energy

Locals pose in snow-covered Kyiv  (Getty Images)
Locals pose in snow-covered Kyiv (Getty Images)

Ukrainians have been told they can “contribute” to the war effort by leaving the country temporarily in order to reduce demand on the country’s energy supply.

The head of the country’s biggest private energy firm said it would be “very helpful to the system” if people could find “an alternative place to stay for another three or four months”.

Russian attacks have damaged the energy system in the country, leaving millions of people without power as temperatures drop and with blackouts becoming a common occurrence.

Following waves of missile strikes, Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said almost half of the grid had been knocked out, while Volodymyr Zelensky warned approximately 10 million Ukrainians have been left without power.

DTEK chief executive Maxim Timchenko told the BBC: “If you consume less, then hospitals with injured soldiers will have guaranteed power supply. This is how it can be explained that by consuming less or leaving, they also contribute to other people.”

The government has asked people to limit their use of domestic appliances such as ovens and washing machines, as Russian attacks on infrastructure have increased after they suffered more setbacks on the battlefield including Ukraine winning back the city of Kherson.

Locals battling snow in the Ukrainian village of Horenka (REUTERS)
Locals battling snow in the Ukrainian village of Horenka (REUTERS)

Mr Timchenko told the broadcaster that it was becoming more difficult to fix damaged infrastructure as the country was running out of “equipment and spare parts”.

He said Ukraine also suffered from its former close to ties to Russia which meant many Russian experts has an intimate knowledge of how the country’s energy system worked.

He said: “They were colleagues, now they are enemies. They bring all this knowledge to Russian military forces, educate them, make very concrete targets, know big parts of our grid or power stations.”

He was speaking as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the country and announced a £50million aid package including 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to help Ukraine counter Iranian-supplied drones, including radars and anti-drone technology.