Top Ukrainian power firm warns of supply shortage
Ukraine’s largest private power utility, DTEK Holding, said on Monday that it had run out of equipment needed to repair damage inflicted by Russian attacks.
The latest round of missile strikes caused partial blackouts in Kiev and several other cities.
“Unfortunately, we have already used up the stock of equipment we had in warehouses after the first two waves of enemy attacks that have been taking place since October 10,” DTEK executive director Dmitry Sakharuk told Ukrainian media.
Sakharuk added that DTEK has been able to buy some replacement parts at a cost of “hundreds of millions of dollars,” and is now “working on how to purchase it or get it from our partners.”
Ukraine’s power grid uses Soviet-standard equipment that is incompatible with parts from the West and difficult to obtain outside of Russia. DTEK, owned by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, accounts for a third of the country’s electricity market via coal-powered plants.
Another wave of missiles struck Kiev, Kharkov, Cherkasy and Vinnitsa on Monday. Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said some 350,000 apartments were without power, while water supply was disrupted in about 80% of the city. The metro system in Kharkov was offline.
Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergy has introduced rolling blackouts in many regions, begging the population to reduce power consumption in order to avoid a “total collapse.”
Russia began targeting Ukraine’s power grid on October 10. President Vladimir Putin explained the change of tactics by saying Kiev has carried out “sabotage” attacks against Russian infrastructure, including nuclear power plants. The October 8 suicide attack that damaged the Crimean Bridge was the final straw, the Russian president said.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.