Ukraine’s Energy Infrastructure Recovers from Russian Attacks
Ukraine has finally begun exporting electricity after six months of restrictions due to repeated attacks by Russia on the country’s energy infrastructure. Last October, Russia launched a lengthy and deliberate assault that caused power cuts, scheduled blackouts, and left towns and cities in darkness during the winter.
After halting electricity exports, Ukraine now has excess power and will be able to sell it again. Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko has signed an executive order authorising the exports, but local customers remain the priority, and Ukrainians are not facing any restrictions on power. Mr Halushchenko is also praising the significant work of engineers and international partners who have restored the system, but the operator of the country’s electricity network, Ukrenergo, has warned that Russian attacks may not stop.
According to Ukrenergo, Russia has launched more than 1,200 missiles and drones at its energy facilities. The company described the assault as the largest attempt to destroy a European country’s energy system. The power sub-stations provide not only power and heat but also basic supplies such as food and medicines.
Every one of Ukraine’s thermal and hydroelectric power plants was damaged after Russia began targeting energy infrastructure. However, last month residents across Ukraine reported reliable power supplies, and the situation is improving. In June 2023, Ukraine said it was hoping to bring in €1.5bn (£1.33bn) from electricity exports to the EU by the end of the year.
The Battle to Keep Ukraine’s Power Running
The winter snow settles around us as we hear the electricity crackle loudly in the wires overhead. Michael runs his gloved fingers over golf ball-sized holes in the crippled hulk of a huge transformer, showing where shrapnel from a Russian missile punctured the transformer’s thick sides. Along the way, other large transformers protectively cocooned behind concrete and sandbags resemble small bungalows. It’s a testament to the physical impact of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.