Ukraine's Power Outage Woes in a 'Chilling' Setting Amid Russia's 'Infra Attacks' | Explained

The mayor of Kyiv said Thursday that about 70% of the Ukrainian capital was without power, a day after Moscow launched another devastating missile and drone barrage on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The renewed Russian attack on Ukrainian infrastructure on Wednesday caused widespread power outages, further straining Ukraine’s already strained power grid and adding to the misery for civilians as temperatures plummet.

Power outages were also reported in neighbouring Moldova as a result of the strikes.

Elderly women cook food on a fire in the yard of an apartment building in Lyman, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Andriy Andriyenko)
Why Have There Been Power Outages in Kyiv

Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s power infrastructure following a string of battlefield setbacks its forces suffered during the full scale war it launched Feb. 24, exactly nine months ago Thursday.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram statement that “power engineers are doing their best to get (electricity) back as soon as possible” and added that the water supply has been restored in about half of Kyiv on the left bank of the Dnieper River.

Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Thursday morning that Russian forces fired 67 cruise missiles and 10 drones during Wednesday’s “massive attack on residential buildings and energy infrastructure” in Kyiv and several other regions in Ukraine.

Catherine, 70, looks out the window while holding a candle for light inside her house during a power outage, in Borodyanka, Kyiv region, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Efforts to restore power, heating and water supplies disrupted by the Wednesday attacks were underway elsewhere in Ukraine as well.

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Ukraine’s energy minister Herman Haluschenko said three out of four nuclear power stations that are fully functioning and which had been forced offline by Wednesday’s strikes were subsequently reconnected to the grid.

Governor of the Poltava region Dmytro Lunin said “an optimistic scenario” suggested that electricity will come back to residents of his central Ukrainian region on Thursday.

“In the next few hours, we will start supplying energy to critical infrastructure, and then to the majority of household consumers,” Lunin said on Telegram, noting that power has already been restored for 15,500 people and 1,500 legal entities in the region.

Lunin added that water supplies resumed in several parts of the city of Poltava, and four boiler stations have started to heat regional hospitals.

The Kirovohrad and the Vinnytsia regions were reconnected to the power grid early Thursday, adding to more than a dozen other regions that were reconnected on Wednesday night, according to Deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

In the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, power has been restored for up to 50% of consumers, Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko said, but noted that “the situation with energy is complicated.”

As Russia continues to assail Ukraine’s power network, Ukrainian authorities started opening what they call “points of invincibility” — heated and powered spaces where people could go for hot meals, electricity to recharge their devices and to connect to the internet.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said on Thursday morning that a total of 3,720 such spaces have been opened across the country.

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According to the initiative’s website, various venues have been converted to such points including government buildings, schools and kindergartens and emergency services offices.

A Harsh Winter

In Kyiv, where temperatures sometimes drop below freezing in the winter, a sudden cold spell and the first snow have greatly worsened the situation. People are forced to use heaters because of the cold, which greatly increases the stress on the grid and lengthens power outages, the Associated Press reported. The Kyiv authorities declared they were installing communal heating spots in response to the chilly weather.

Ukraine authorities are trying to solve the power outage problems. (Image: Reuters)

There are 528 emergency points in the three million-person city. Residents will be able to stay warm, sip tea, charge their phones, and receive any assistance they require here. The heating sites will have unique boiler chambers as well as independent power sources.

In case someone becomes trapped in an elevator for an extended period of time, many Kyiv residents have started to leave food boxes, flashlights, and power banks there. Public transportation is affected, some small businesses cannot run, and certain medical facilities can only operate to a certain extent because of the lack of energy.

With inputs from the Associated Press

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