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15 May, 2024 11:54

Blackouts imposed across Ukraine – authorities

The emergency shutdowns are due to Russian strikes and cold weather, Ukrenergo has said
Blackouts imposed across Ukraine – authorities

Ukraine has been forced to introduce temporary blackouts across the country, affecting both industry and the local population, as it struggles with the aftermath of Russian strikes, the national power grid operator said.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Ukrenergo said it had “implemented controlled emergency shutdowns for industrial and household consumers in all regions of Ukraine,” adding that critical infrastructure was not affected. It later clarified that the restrictions lasted two to three hours and did not apply to the Kiev-controlled part of Russia’s Kherson Region.

“The reason is a significant shortage of electricity in the system due to Russian shelling and an increase in consumption due to the cold weather,” Ukrenergo said

The operator also warned the public that the blackouts would most likely be in the evening hours due to increased power consumption. In addition, there will be power limitation schedules throughout the day for industrial consumers on Wednesday, Ukrenergo noted.

This came after the operator introduced similar restrictions for industry on Tuesday, which were followed by controlled power cuts in the evening due to a spike in consumption.

To alleviate the pressure, Ukraine is importing energy from neighboring EU countries, including Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Moldova, Ukrenergo added. A day earlier, the operator said its repair crews were making every effort to restore power, although in frontline regions the work is constantly hampered by air raid sirens.

The rolling blackouts come after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba admitted earlier this month that Russian strikes had damaged half of the country’s energy system. The Ukrhydroenergo power generating company said last week that its hydroelectric facilities had suffered “overwhelming damage.” 

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko estimated the combined financial losses from Russian attacks at more than $1 billion, warning that the figure would continue to rise.

Moscow has ramped up strikes on Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure in recent weeks. The Russian Defense Ministry said last month that the strikes were in response to Kiev’s attempts to target oil facilities in the country. Moscow reiterated that the attacks are only aimed at Ukrainian military targets and facilities that support their operations and never at the civilian population.

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