Ukrainians Warned a Horrific Winter Looms

Rolling electricity blackouts will likely occur through March due to Russian attacks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2022 2:37 PM CST
Ukrainians Warned a Horrific Winter Looms
Ukrainians queue to board the Kherson-Kyiv train at the Kherson railway station, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. Authorities are evacuating civilians from liberated sections of the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, fearing that a lack of heat, power and water will make conditions too unlivable this winter.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Ukraine could face rolling blackouts throughout the entirety of winter because Russian airstrikes have caused "colossal" damage to the power grid, officials said. To cope, authorities are urging Ukrainians to stock up on supplies and evacuate hard-hit areas. Sergey Kovalenko, the CEO of private energy provider DTEK Yasno, said the company is under instructions from Ukraine’s state grid operator to resume emergency blackouts in the areas it covers, including the capital Kyiv and the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region. "I want everyone to understand: Most likely, Ukrainians will have to live with blackouts until at least the end of March," Kovalenko warned on Facebook.

"Stock up on warm clothes and blankets. Think about what will help you wait out a long shutdown," Kovalenko added. The AP reports Russia has launched six massive aerial attacks against Ukraine's power grid and other infrastructure since Oct. 10; that targeted onslaught has caused widespread blackouts and deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat, and water. The series of attacks—with the most severe on Nov. 15, involving 100 heavy Russian rockets—has damaged practically every thermal and hydroelectric power plant in the country, and "the scale of destruction is colossal," the CEO of state-owned power grid operator Ukrenergo said Tuesday. Electric substations have been damaged, while nuclear power plants have largely been spared, he said.

"This winter will be life-threatening for millions of people in Ukraine," warned Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization's regional director for Europe. Temperatures commonly stay below freezing in Ukraine in the winter, and snow has already fallen in many areas, including Kyiv. Ukrainian authorities have started evacuating civilians from recently liberated sections of the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions out of fear that the winter will be too hard to survive. Kovalenko said even if no more Russian airstrikes occur, scheduled outages will be needed to ensure that power is evenly distributed.

(More Ukraine stories.)

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