Wintry weather and ongoing fighting are hampering repairs to Ukraine’s power grid as technicians scramble to get damaged power infrastructure back up and running in weeks of relentless Russian attacks.
Ukraine’s state energy agency Ukrenergo said on Thursday there was a “significant shortage of electricity in the system,” adding that consumption limits had been exceeded and emergency power cuts had occurred in several regions. The power outages are due to temperatures across the country dropping below freezing.
“Frost, rain with snow and strong winds in many regions in the west of the country cause ice formation on cables and their damage,” said Ukrenergo.
But the biggest challenges lie in the east of the country, where access to the sites is made difficult by constant shelling and artillery fire.
In the evening, the enemy again hit several areas with massive artillery fire. Where the situation allows, the electricity grids are inspected. The repair work will begin upon entry by the military,” the agency added.
Emergency repairs are underway in Kiev and Odessa.
Some background: Russia unleashed another wave of drone and missile attacks in Ukraine on Monday, targeting the country’s energy infrastructure. Ukraine has been facing a large-scale attack on critical infrastructure and energy resources since early October, as part of Moscow’s arming of winter. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday’s strikes caused extensive blackouts in several regions, including Kiev and Odessa.
The consequences: Ukraine’s health ministry announced the suspension of planned operations on Tuesday in an effort to protect the medical system from the effects of ongoing blackouts. “They will be carried out when the situation around the electricity supply has stabilized … all urgent medical care will be fully provided to the patients,” the statement said.