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Electricity utility says Ukraine’s power grid suffered record damage in Russian strikes

Electricity utility says Ukraine’s power grid suffered record damage in Russian strikes

Kyiv, Ukraine – More than 1.4 million Ukrainian households lost electricity after a morning of repeated Russian airstrikes, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The Ukrainian General Staff stated that 40 cruise missiles and 16 allegedly Iranian-made Drones Ukraine hit throughout the day.

Ukraine’s energy utility, Ukrenergo, says the amount of damage has set a new record, outstripping attacks on the country. Earlier in October. Previous air strikes marked the largest escalation of the war since the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian government has repeated calls for citizens to rationalize their electricity consumption, announcing a timetable for power outages if the grid reaches capacity. Ukrenergo warns that blackouts could last 8 to 10 hours a day as power lines are still intact. Areas that have suffered more damage may go without electricity for longer.

The mayor of the western city of Lutsk, Ihor Bolchuk, says the damage caused by three Russian missiles is “not compatible with repair”. He called for patience as engineers rebuild the electrical infrastructure and restore water pressure.

Police also said that most sirens do not have electricity to warn of possible further air strikes. They encouraged citizens to keep cell phones charged to receive emergency alerts, and said they would turn on the sirens in their cars in the event of an incoming attack.

“When you don’t have electricity in a city, it means you don’t have water, you don’t have a gas supply, you have nothing,” Oleksandr Kharchenko, a prominent Ukrainian energy expert, told NPR. “It really is a big problem.”

Seven of Ukraine’s 25 regions suffered similar damage, mostly in the west, south and center of the country.

Dr. Ihor Dondyuk, vice president of Rivne Municipal Hospital, told national radio that his facilities are running on backup power, and they are turning to oxygen and fresh water reserves, but patients are eating food cooked on wood stoves on the sidewalk.

Kirillo Tymoshenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, says that the Ukrainian air force was able to intercept 18 Russian missiles heading towards Ukrainian infrastructure. Military officials praise Germany’s four new IRIS-T air defense systems for preventing damage to major cities, but experts fear Ukraine still lacks the air defense capability to cover smaller cities. Ukraine’s prime minister, Denis Shmyal, requested more air defense missiles in response to Saturday’s attacks.

Kharchenko says he believes the Russian Air Force is working closely with energy experts to maximize civilian damage, though he says Ukraine has the ability to repair the grid quickly and frequently. He noted, however, that the strikes had shifted from power plants to smaller relay stations and transformer facilities.

“Power generation facilities are very large objects that are protected by defense because there are not many of them … But there are hundreds of transformers, and it is impossible to cover them all,” Kharchenko said. “It is absolute terror.”

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.





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