Ukraine conflict: How much damage has Russia done to power supplies?

Ukrainians are ready to endure power cuts from Russian air strikes for two to three winters, first lady Olena Zilenska said.

Millions of people in Ukraine have been left without power, heat, or water due to missile and drone attacks.

After suffering setbacks on battlefield, Russian forces concentrated on attacking Ukrainian fuel storage depots, power plants, and water works.

Ukrenergo Ukraine’s national power company says that electricity infrastructure damage is so severe that it cannot meet 50% of the demand.

According to Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president – six million people are without electricity.

All power plants in Ukraine – including Odesa, the capital Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Odesa in southern regions – were affected.

Many people are without heat because of the power outages. Temperatures have fallen below zero in many areas of Ukraine.

Yasno, another power supplier, claims that Ukrainians will likely face power cuts up to March.

Through the Ukraine Energy Support Fund, the EU has provided money to purchase equipment to restore power supplies. The UK also contributes money.

Due to air strikes, three nuclear power plants were cut off from the grid for two consecutive days.

UN experts also worry that shelling surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe, might lead to a radioactive leakage.

Although shells have been found near nuclear reactors, they have also struck a radioactive waste storage facility at the plant. However, this has not caused any serious damage.

Russia and Ukraine blame each other for the bombardment.

According to Marina Miron (defense researcher at King’s College London), attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure are intended to harm the morale of Ukraine’s civil population.

She says that Russia believes that people may rebel against their government if they are desperate and freezing.

Olena Zelenska stated that the Ukrainians are prepared to live without electricity if their country becomes independent. There was also the possibility of joining Europe.

The government of Ukraine is asking civilians to evacuate areas that have power stations or other facilities, rather than trying to survive the winter.

It advises people who live in the Kherson or Mykolaiv areas, in the south-west part of Ukraine, that they should move to the western and central parts of the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 703 threats or attacks on Ukrainian health facilities since February, when Russia invaded.

According to Dr Hans Kluge WHO Europe regional director, hundreds of hospitals and healthcare facilities are “no more fully operational, lacking fuel water and electricity to satisfy basic needs,” he said. This is putting millions at risk, he says.

The WHO called for “health corridors” opening to provide aid to Russian-occupied regions, such as Donbas, as well as areas recently reoccupied by Ukrainian forces (e.g., the Kherson region).

A war crime is defined as an attack on civilians or infrastructure essential to their survival.

Dr Kluge described the attack on health facilities as a violation of international humanitarian law and war rules.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has stated that Russia’s drone and missile attacks on power stations in Ukraine and other infrastructures are “acts pure terror”.

She stated that “targeted attacks on civilian infrastructure” is a war crime.

Shivi

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