TechRussian assault on Ukrainian energy sector triggers widespread outages

Russian assault on Ukrainian energy sector triggers widespread outages

Russians attack Ukrainian energy infrastructure
Russians attack Ukrainian energy infrastructure
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9:44 AM EDT, March 22, 2024

The Russian military launched an assault on the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, resulting in significant disruptions. Several cities now face electricity and water shortages, impacting essential services, including the emergency hotline.

In a comprehensive offensive against Ukraine’s infrastructure, reports from highlight statements by Volodymyr Kudritsky, head of Ukraine's electricity transmission operator. Kudritsky describes the onslaught as the most severe in Ukrainian history, specifically targeting the electricity generators of a hydropower plant near Zaporizhzhia, though the dams themselves were spared. Despite the damage, Kudritsky was reassured that there was no immediate threat of water release from the dam.

Ukraine's Energy Minister, Herman Galushchenko, disclosed that the attack damaged power plants and transmission and distribution systems, including those serving the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Kyiv Post reports that this assault pushed the nuclear facility to the brink of operational safety limits. Energoatom warned that should all lines to the plant be severed, it could lead to a major safety breach.

Electricity Shortage Hits Ukrainian Cities

Nexta's coverage reveals that Kharkiv suffered an extensive blackout. With over 20 missiles aimed at energy infrastructures, the city lost both power and water supplies, Mayor Ihor Terekhov reports. The attack led to suspended electric transport, non-functional traffic lights, and minimal water pressure. The disruption also rendered air raid warnings and emergency numbers inoperative, prompting the introduction of an alternative emergency line: 1562.

Regional Power Outages Across Ukraine

Ukrainian media indicate that regions including Sumy, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, and Odesa have experienced power outages. Reports from note that the attacks on infrastructure also targeted the Lviv and Vinnytsia regions.

Ukraine's Energy Landscape

As per Forum Energii, in 2020, coal and gas power stations supplied 21.8% of Ukraine’s electricity, while nuclear energy contributed 13.8% to the energy mix. Hydroelectric plants, run-of-river and pumped-storage, produced 5.3% of the electricity, with photovoltaics adding another 5%.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility, has a capacity of 6,000 MW across six reactors. During the attack, a critical transmission line connecting the plant to Ukraine’s energy network was disconnected, according to The operation involved Kalibr cruise missiles launched from the Black Sea, supported by Tu-95MS strategic bombers over the Caspian Sea and MiG-31K aircraft armed with Kinzhal systems.
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