Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russian missile strikes across Ukraine last week disabled nearly half of the country’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions of Ukrainians without power.
“Unfortunately Russia continues to carry out missile strikes on Ukraine’s civilian and critical infrastructure. Almost half of our energy system is disabled,” Shmyhal said on Friday, according to Reuters.
Russia previously avoided large-scale strikes on energy infrastructure in Ukraine but began such operations in early October after the truck bombing of the Kerch Bridge, which connects the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula.
Russian strikes on Ukraine appeared to wane on Saturday and Sunday, but massive damage has been done. Authorities in the capital Kyiv warned Friday that they are preparing for all scenarios, including the “complete shutdown” of the city’s power system.
POLITICO reported last week that Ukraine has warned its Western backers that it may not be able to recover if Russia launches more strikes on its energy infrastructure. The report said Kyiv is worried it might not have enough replacement parts to bring power and heat back online and is looking to the West for assistance.
Ukrainian officials said Saturday that they were starting a voluntary evacuation from the southern city of Kherson, which Ukraine recently recaptured after Russia withdrew from the area. The officials said the evacuations were starting due to the damage to the city’s energy infrastructure.
In an effort to ease concerns, the Ukrainian Energy Ministry said that it has control of the power grid despite the Russian strikes and said there was no need for people to panic.