More than 10 million Ukrainians were without power after another wave of Russian strikes on critical infrastructure, as concerns over Ukraine’s power supply grew as winter began to set in across the country.
Temperatures have plummeted in Ukraine this week, putting the country’s power grid under extra strain as engineers try to repair damage caused by fresh Russian missile strikes, according to state energy company Ukrenergo.
“Due to a dramatic drop in temperature, electricity consumption is increasing daily in those regions of Ukraine where power supply has already been restored after massive missile strikes on November 15 on the energy infrastructure,” said Ukrenergo in a statement issued Friday. “This complicates the already difficult situation in the energy system.”
Ukrenergo said it was restricting the use of electricity in some areas as “a necessary measure to preserve the stability of the energy system,” and had teams “working around the clock to restore the damaged infrastructure in order to return light to Ukrainians.”
Russian missile strikes hit critical infrastructure in cities across Ukraine this week, as many parts of Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, saw the first snowfall of the season on Thursday.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Thursday that more than 10 million Ukrainians lacked electricity, and that most were in the Kyiv, Odesa, Vinnytsia and Sumy regions.
Zelensky said crews were doing everything to normalize supply but there were “emergency power cuts again in addition to the planned stabilization ones.”
Yasno, a power supplier in Kyiv, said the city had experienced emergency blackouts all day Thursday, with the grid having less than half of its normal supply.
Russian shelling and missile strikes hit civilian infrastructure in various parts of Ukraine overnight into Thursday.
Zelensky said that dozens of people were wounded as a result of a missile strike in Dnipro, while in Zaporizhzhia seven bodies were recovered from the debris of a residential building destroyed by Russian shelling. A further two bodies were later found at the Zaporizhzhia site, bringing the toll to nine, his office said on Friday morning.
Another three men were hospitalized after being wounded in missile strikes in Izium in the Kharkiv region. Several gas production facilities in eastern Ukraine were destroyed and others damaged by shelling, and the southern region of Odesa was also hit by Russian strikes on Thursday.
Zelensky has accused Russia of “energy terrorism” over its repeated attacks on key infrastructure.
“The very fact that Russia has resorted to terror against the energy sector indicates the weakness of the enemy,” Zelensky said during his nightly address on November 3.
“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 along with “fuel and energy infrastructure” associated with the military.
“An arsenal with artillery weapons supplied by Western countries, prepared for shipment to the troops, was destroyed,” the ministry said Friday. “The transfer of reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the delivery of foreign weapons to the areas of hostilities have been disrupted.”