The power situation across Ukraine remains "really difficult" because of the persistent risk of Russian shelling, Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said, warning that New Year's Eve could see "maximum damage to the energy system."
Speaking on Ukrainian television on Tuesday, Halushchenko said Ukraine was trying to use the time between Russian attacks to reduce the energy deficit by increasing electricity production and also to increase the capacity to transmit electricity.
During the holidays the risk of shelling could be higher, Halushchenko added.
"There is a feeling that [Russians] have not refused to continue shelling our energy system. They are tied to certain dates. I think that the New Year is one of such dates when they will try to cause maximum damage to the energy system," he said.
"The situation is such that it is definitely difficult to plan anything, because we do not know the volume of possible future shelling and the amount of damage it will cause to the power system."
Ukraine's state energy company Ukrenergo said Tuesday that the power deficit in the system had "slightly decreased due to the increase in the production volumes of power plants" but that "the available capacity in the system is still not enough to meet all the needs of consumers in the country" because the level of power consumption had increased at the same time.
"This is due to the gradual return to operation of power grids that were damaged during massive attacks, as well as the restoration of energy infrastructure in the de-occupied territories," Ukrenergo said in a statement.
The number of consumers whose electricity supply has been restored at least partially has increased and the volume of industrial consumption is also growing, Ukrenergo said.
During his nightly address on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 9 million people remained cut off from power in different regions of Ukraine.