Ukraine: Half of the energy system has been disrupted and Kiev is facing total electricity outage

The Ukrainian government said on Friday that Russian missile strikes had knocked out about half of Ukraine’s energy system, while Kyiv city authorities warned of a possible “complete outage” in the power grid as winter sets in.

With temperatures dropping and snow falling for the first time this season in Kyiv, officials are working to restore power across the country after one of the heaviest bombardments of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in the nine-month-old war.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine this winter as a result of the lack of electricity and water.

“Unfortunately, Russia continues to carry out missile attacks on Ukraine’s civilians and its important infrastructure, and about half of our energy system is down,” Denys Shmyhal Prime Minister of Ukraine said.

His remarks came at a joint press conference with European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who expressed Ukraine’s “unwavering support” from the 27-nation bloc.

Engineers are racing against time to repair the electricity grid in the capital.

“We’re preparing for various scenarios, including a complete power outage,” Mykola Povoroznik, deputy head of the Kyiv city government, said in televised comments.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that about 10 million people do not have access to electricity in a country with a population of 44 million before the war.

Zelensky added that the authorities in some areas ordered forced power cuts due to emergency conditions.

The national power grid operator, Ukrinegro, said Russia launched six large-scale missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure between Oct 10 and Nov 15.