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Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has replaced the commander in charge of Moscow's war in Ukraine, appointing the current Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, in place of General Sergey Surovikin.
Now Surovikin will be a deputy to the new commander, Gerasimov, and will remain in charge of the air force. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the reshuffle reflects the expansion of the operation’s goals and the need for closer cooperation between different parts of the army.
Surovikin was put in charge of the operation last October and immediately initiated strikes on Ukraine’s electric grid and power generation infrastructure, plunging much of the country into the dark.
As a result of the strikes, Ukrainians were urged to conserve electricity until the damage is repaired. However, given the extent of this damaged and the continued Russian strikes, conservation will likely extend as a means of ensuring power supply.
"In the near future, a significant drop in temperature is expected, which will lead to a rapid increase in consumption," Ukrenergo, the country’s grid operator, said in a Telegram statement earlier this month, as temperatures began to drop after an unseasonably warm spell.
"The energy system is currently unable to fully cover it due to the damage and the enemy's occupation of a number of power plants that produce electricity, in particular, and the most powerful - the Zaporizhzhia NPP (nuclear power plant)," the company also said, as quoted by Reuters.
The EU has pledged to help with the repairs of damaged infrastructure but the task will not be easy. Ukraine’s power plants and grid have not been upgraded since the fall of the Soviet Union. Repairs, therefore, would require a lot of equipment that appears to not be readily available right now, and a lot of time.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com