“Black Friday” in Kiev: how Russia wants to turn Ukraine into “islands of electricity”.


Russia continues its massive shelling of Ukrainian power plants and power grids. All nuclear power plants had to be shut down on Thursday, further worsening the power supply.

Ukraine has been under massive Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure since October. As a result, even before last Wednesday, according to transmission system operator Ukrenergo, there were almost no intact thermal and hydroelectric plants. Almost important substations were also hit, often multiple times.

After Russia launched about 70 missiles at energy facilities on Wednesday, Ukraine suffered its worst power outage since the start of the war. On Wednesday evening, 11 regions of Ukraine were completely without electricity, with 80 percent of households in the capital Kyiv without electricity. Electricity was practically only available in the area around the government district, where there are almost no planned shutdowns, as the power grid there is responsible for the most important facilities. But even there, there was no tap water until late Thursday night.

This was not the scenario of a total blackout, which is considered a real threat in Ukraine. However, the Russians have partially achieved their supposed goal of disrupting the country’s unified power grid, even the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine claims. It can only be reconnected early Thursday morning. This is exactly what Russia’s attacks are aimed at: they want to turn Ukraine’s electricity grid into so-called energy islands, so that Ukraine cannot compensate for regional power outages by diverting energy from one region to another. This could lead to power outages lasting days and weeks, which, like Wednesday and Thursday, are naturally associated with water, heating and cell phone outages.

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All nuclear power plants are off the grid

To achieve this, the Russians attack substations, high-voltage lines, and especially transformers, which are difficult to repair or replace, on a weekly basis. Often, the Russians fire repeatedly at the same, already damaged objects, which means that Ukraine cannot quickly and certainly not completely stabilize the electricity supply. On Wednesday, all three nuclear power plants in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government had to be at least partially disconnected from the grid – not because they themselves were targeted, but because the substations were destroyed. had customers longer because they had their own power. Therefore, for security reasons, they had to be closed for the time being. This is also the main reason why the eclipse was so widespread.

All regions of the country that do not belong to the annexed Crimea could be reconnected to electricity grids on Thursday. However, it primarily provides critical infrastructure. It will be some time before the nuclear power plants start operating again. At the same time, it is clear that this time the repair will take longer than the previous attacks, which indicates that many attacks have caused significant damage. Although the situation in Western Ukraine is not yet so critical, although very serious, the situation in and around Kyiv remains particularly critical. Both in the Kyiv region and in the capital itself, there were corners where electricity went out for 34 hours. In addition, the announcement that tap water has been restored everywhere in Kiev is not yet valid for 100 percent of the population.

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As a result of the situation, the local authorities are preparing the residents of Kyiv that the electricity supply will last two to three hours for the time being, and unplanned power outages will be more frequent. As everywhere in the country, the so-called “places of invincibility”, heated rooms in administrative buildings or schools with electricity, heat, charging devices for technical devices, ideally – access to mobile communication and the Internet, are already in use. The latter is no less important to take care of using Starlink terminals.

Many air alarm sirens also fail

Communication in particular has become a bigger problem for Kyiv. For example, in areas such as the northern district of Obolon, people congregate at metro stations with better reception and mobile internet, as the network was modernized a few years ago to allow people to use the metro where there used to be dead spots. have good reception. One more tweak: Police officers have to use megaphones to announce weather alarms in the event of a power outage…

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