4 Million affected by power blackouts – Zelenskyy

Ukraine President Zelensky

Ukraine announced on Friday “unprecedented” power cuts affecting a total of four million people, especially in the Kyiv region, as Ukrainian energy facilities have been heavily damaged by numerous Russian strikes in recent weeks.

“In many cities and districts of our country, power cuts have been introduced to stabilise the situation,” President Zelenskyy said in his daily address. Ukrainian operator DTEK warned that the coming days would bring “more severe and longer cuts”.

In the Kyiv region, as winter looms, the latest damage to utilities will mean outages of four or more hours a day, according to Ukrenergo, the state operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines.

Kyiv regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba warned “more severe and longer shutdowns will be applied in the coming days”. City mayor Vitali Klitschko said the power grid was operating in “emergency mode,” adding that he hoped Ukrenergo would find ways to address the shortage “in two to three weeks”.

In the Kharkiv region, home to Ukraine’s second-largest city of the same name, governor Oleg Syniehubov said daily one-hour power outages would begin on Monday.

Officials across Ukraine have urged people to conserve by reducing electricity consumption during peak hours and avoiding the use of high-voltage appliances.

AFP visited a Ukrainian power plant on Thursday, where repair work was underway following a Russian attack.

“We don’t know how long it will take,” said one employee, adding that the plant had been targeted twice by missiles and a third time by an Iranian-made suicide drone.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Tehran to stop arms deliveries to Russia during a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian.

“I demanded that Iran immediately stop supplying Russia with weapons that are used to kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” Kuleba tweeted on Friday.

Iran has denied supplying Russia with explosive drones and other weapons used in the invasion of Ukraine.