Power boss urges Ukrainians to leave the country
Ukrainians should consider leaving the country to reduce the burden on the damaged power grid, Maksim Timchenko, the head of largest private power utility, DTEK Holding, has said. He made the remarks in an interview with the BBC aired Saturday.
“If they can find an alternative place to stay for another three or four months, it will be very helpful to the system,” Timchenko stated.
He also urged his compatriots to consume less electricity, explaining that a surplus is needed for critical infrastructure facilities and hospitals. Over the past few weeks, Ukraine’s energy system has been repeatedly targeted by the Russian military, prompting rolling and emergency blackouts.
“If you consume less, then hospitals with injured soldiers will have guaranteed power supply. This is how it can be explained that by consuming less or leaving, they also contribute to other people,” Timchenko said.
The remarks were apparently deemed to be too alarming for the general population. The Energy Ministry stepped in to assure people that the situation with the power supply is still under control and that there is no need to flee the country.
“Denying the panicky statements spread by social networks and online media, we assure you that the situation with the energy supply is difficult, but under control,” the Energy Ministry said in a statement.
DTEK also downplayed the remarks by the CEO. The company denied that Timchenko had called for people to leave the country, publishing a carefully cropped excerpt from his interview with the BBC to support their claim.
“It’s not [an] emergency to leave immediately, but we need to organize ourselves, we’re all fighters on the energy front,” Timchenko was quoted as saying in the excerpt published by DTEK.
The Russian military began targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in early October, after a deadly truck bombing damaged the Crimean Bridge. Moscow blamed the incident on Kiev, and stated that it was only the latest attempt by Ukraine to damage civilian infrastructure in Russia.