Ukraine struggles to restore power after Russian strikes left ‘vast majority’ without power

Kyiv, Ukraine

Ukraine rushed to restore electricity across the country on Thursday, a day later Russia Feel new boom missiles on target critical infrastructureleading to the temporary shutdown of most of its power plants and leaving the “overwhelming majority” of people without power.

National energy company Ukrenergo said the work “took longer than after previous attacks” because Wednesday’s attack targeted power facilities and caused a “systemic incident.”

By Thursday afternoon, power had been restored “in all regions” but individual households were still “gradually connected to the grid,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, an employee of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces said 70 Russian missiles were launched and 51 shot down on Wednesday afternoon, as well as five combat drones.

The attack killed at least 10 people, including a teenage girl, and “led to a temporary blackout of all nuclear power plants, as well as most thermal and hydroelectric power plants,” the Energy Ministry said in a statement. As a result, most of the country was left without electricity, which negatively affected heating, water supply and Internet access in some areas.

On Wednesday, for the first time, four Ukrainian nuclear power plant were simultaneously stopped in 40 years, the head of the state nuclear energy company Energoatom said in a statement. Petr Kotin said that this is a precautionary measure and he expects them to be connected again by Thursday evening. Three fully functioning factories in the hands of Ukrainians – occupied Zaporozhye the plant has been shut down since September to help supply electricity to the national grid, he said.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy. It has 15 reactors at four power plants, which, before the full-scale Russian invasion in February, produced about half of the electricity.

Russia has focused its attention on destroying energy infrastructure in Ukraine ahead of the harsh winter season, and successive waves of strikes have left much of the country facing permanent power outages.

Pictured: Central Lviv without power after Russian rockets fired at critical civilian infrastructure on November 23, 2022.

Local residents charge their devices, connect to the internet and bask in a shelter in Kyiv, November 24, 2022.

Wednesday’s strike caused chaos across the country, leaving the capital Kyiv, the western city of Lvov and the entire Odessa region in darkness.

People who had taken refuge from airstrikes in the capital left the bunkers to find their homes without electricity and rushed to look for a place to sleep with friends or family. On Thursday morning, one in four homes in the city were still without electricity. According to Mayor Vitali Klitschko, despite the fact that by noon the water supply in all areas was restored, it still did not work at full capacity, and low water pressure was observed in multi-storey buildings.

A Reuters video shows people queuing in the capital to draw water from public wells in the pouring rain.

Hospitals relied on generator power or even headlamps worn by staff as they continued to perform operations.

In one of the Kyiv hospitals, doctors were performing a heart operation on a child when the electricity went out. Dr. Boris Todurov posted a video on Instagram showing surgeons working under headlamps while waiting for the generator to turn on.

The director of a hospital in the central Dnepropetrovsk region, across the river from the Russian-occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, said “dozens of critically ill patients were on operating tables at the Mechnikov hospital” when the power outage occurred.

“Anesthesiologists and surgeons turned on the headlights to save each of them,” says the doctor. Sergei Ryzhenko wrote about this on Facebook. He posted a photo of two doctors, he said, Yaroslav Medvedik and Kseniya Denisova, operating on a 23-year-old man when the power went out – “for the first time in Yaroslav’s 35 years of practice.”

Ukrainian doctors perform an operation by torchlight in Kyiv on November 24.

Zelenskiy requested an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council after the strikes were met with strong condemnation from Ukraine’s allies.

The European Union announced it would prepare a ninth package of sanctions against Moscow in what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said was an attempt to “further weaken its ability to wage war on Ukraine.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the Russian attack requires a response. “Today Ukraine was subjected to massive shelling, most of the country was left without water and electricity. Attacks on civilian infrastructure are war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” he tweeted on Wednesday evening.

Poland said on Wednesday that the Patriot missile defense system that Germany offered Poland should be transferred to Ukraine. “Following further missile strikes (by Russia), I have approached (Germany) with a request to transfer the proposed (Poland) Patriot batteries to (Ukraine) and deploy them on the western border,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak tweeted. Germany’s offer to Poland came after a November 15 rocket hit Polish territory near the border with Ukraine, killing two people.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Ukraine’s leadership can end the suffering by complying with Russia’s demands.

“The leadership of Ukraine has every opportunity to normalize the situation, has every opportunity to resolve the situation in such a way as to fulfill the requirements of the Russian side and, accordingly, end all possible suffering of the local population,” the message says. Peskov told reporters about this.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry issued a tweet on Thursday commemorating the nine months since Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Nine months. The amount of time a child is born. In nine months of a full-scale invasion, Russia killed and injured hundreds of our children, kidnapped thousands of them and made millions of children refugees,” the report says.