Ukraine’s state energy firm said rolling power blackouts would continue across the country on Tuesday, with president Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling Ukrainians that they are consuming more energy than is available and the director of one power company warning that the outages will probably last until March.
“Ukraine’s power system still has not fully recovered from the six waves of [Russian] missile strikes and cannot operate at full capacity,” electricity group Ukrenergo wrote on Telegram late on Monday.
In his regular night-time address, Zelenskyy appealed to regional authorities and local communities to repeat pleas for residents to reduce their energy use.
Serhiy Kovalenko, chief executive at Ukrainian power provider Yasno, said that “Ukrainians will most likely have to live with blackouts until at least the end of March.”
The best-case scenario, Kovalenko said, was there were no new Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and “the power deficit can be evenly distributed throughout the country”.
However, if Russia continued its missile and drone barrages on the power grid, he warned, Ukraine “will have to use not only hourly stabilisation shutdowns, but also emergency shutdowns, during which there may be no light for a very long time”.
State authorities said last week that more than 10mn people, or about a quarter of Ukraine’s population, were without power following weeks of Russian attacks.
The number and length of power outages across the country, including in the capital, Kyiv, have increased in recent days, as temperatures plunged below zero and the first snow fell in several regions this week.