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For the first time since Russia invaded, Ukraine is facing large-scale nationwide disruptions to electricity and rolling blackouts from extensive damage to the country’s power infrastructure from Russian missile attacks this month.
Ukrainian officials have sought to restrict supply to allow energy companies to repair power facilities that have been pounded by Russian air strikes.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged people to use as little electricity as possible from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and prepare for temporary blackouts if this was not done. Russian attacks have knocked out 30% of the country's power plants, causing massive blackouts.
The new development comes just weeks after Russia and Belarus announced the formation of a new joint force, with the Ukrainian army seeing rising military threats from the north.
On Thursday morning, Russia hit Mykolaiv and the surrounding region with C-300 missiles, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, has revealed on Telegram. Russia hit an industrial facility and energy infrastructure in the Kryvyi Rih district of the Dnipropetrovsk region overnight, inflicting serious damage. However, Ukrainian forces have successfully repelled Russian assaults near nine settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukraine’s General Staff has said.
Last month, Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom reported that the final working reactor at the six-reactor facility at Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine was disconnected from Ukraine's grid after Russian shelling disrupted power lines. The vast Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP)--the largest in Europe--was captured by Russian forces in March, but is still run by Ukrainian engineers and staff.
Ukraine has been unable to repair the power lines because of heavy fighting and shelling raging around the station, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko posted on Facebook.
According to Galushchenko, fresh shelling hit soon after most of the inspectors from a mission by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), left the plant earlier on Monday. Reactors number five and six remain in use but are currently disconnected from the grid having suffered repeated disconnections due to heavy shelling.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.