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Minister: Blackouts possible in winter but only short-term

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 12, 2023 4:47 PM 2 min read
Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko delivers a speech in the session hall of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Oct. 6, 2023, in Kyiv. (Andrii Nesterenko/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Russian mass attacks in the coming winter may lead to blackouts, but they will be only short-lasting, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Oct. 12.

"Of course, if there are massive strikes, they will cause significant damage to the power system, and blackouts are possible," the minister said on the air.

"But we are preparing so that they have only a short-term character, and we can restore everything quickly."

According to Halushchenko, relevant authorities are conducting training to prepare for "any solutions" in the coming months.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia would likely escalate its attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the coming fall and winter months.

On Sept. 21, Ukraine's state energy operator Ukrenergo reported the first mass strike on the country's energy infrastructure in six months.

Moscow has attempted such a strategy already in the fall and winter of 2022-2023, causing regular blackouts amid freezing temperatures.

As of Aug. 13, the Ukrainian government said it had repaired 80% of the main power grids and high-voltage stations damaged by Russian attacks to their pre-war condition and that 62% of the planned repair work on power units had been completed at the country's thermal power stations.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal then announced ​​on Sept. 12 that over 80% of heating networks, 78% of central heating stations, and more than 80% of residential buildings, 86% of schools, kindergartens, and hospitals were ready for winter, adding that "it should be 100% in a month."

With winter approaching, is Ukraine’s energy system ready for renewed Russian attacks?
The specter of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system looms once again as winter rapidly approaches. Last year in early October, just as Ukraine’s heating season began, Russia launched a month-long series of missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to blackouts…


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