According to an energy boss, this winter will be the most difficult in Ukraine’s independence history. Russia is threatening Ukraine’s power and water supplies. This could worsen the effects of war.
Sky News’ Maksym Timchenko said that Moscow won’t be able to shut out the lights too long due to its missile strikes. He also stated that Russia is able to quickly repair the damage.
DTEK’s chief executive, Ukraine’s largest private energy company, said that the Ukrainian people would weather the next 125 days of winter “as brave Ukrainians”, despite Russian threats to the energy grid.
He said, “We will survive and win.”
DTEK and Ukrenergo workers, both the national electricity company, mobilized – at great personal risks – to fix power stations, substations, and other parts that were targeted by Russian airstrikes in October as part of a new energy frontline.
“This is as important for Ukrainian victories than the military frontline,” said Mr Timchenko.
Since February, when Russia declared war on the West, four of his employees were killed while on duty. Three of his employees died in rocket attacks, and the fourth was struck by a mine.
He said, “I’m so thankful to our people…who work in this sector,” These are true heroes, and they will be remembered forever in Ukraine’s history.”
Russia is believed to have already bombed more Ukraine’s energy systems, so DTEK boss predicted that the next months would be the most difficult since 1991, when Ukraine was independent from the Soviet Union.
He said, “I can confidently say that [it] will prove to be the most difficult winter, because we haven’t seen such destruction, such behavior of our enemy and we never lived in such conditions – constant missile attacks, destruction, damage, explosions, and destruction.”
“I also have complete confidence that we’ll be able to cope.”
Timchenko stated that all six of his company’s thermal power stations were hit, some multiple times, but all of them were back up and running.
He said, “In this battle, you learn many things: how to restore power supply; restore the system; and what creative technical solutions are possible so that we can bring back our power plants.”
“I believe that there is no way that a total blackout could continue for so long that people can’t live.”
He appealed to international communities for more transformers to aid in reconnecting the grid. “Today equipment is more important than money.”
On 23 November, a major attack knocked out power in large parts of the country. This affected tens to millions of people. Many homes in Kyiv, the capital, were without power and water for at most 48 hours. This was Russia’s worst attack to date.
But, Timchenko stated that power supplies had been restored despite the damage. He said, “Now we begin this countdown to the winter season -125 days – and I trust that we will get these 125 days through as brave Ukrainians.”
A couple in their 70s lived in a home near Kyiv and said that they wouldn’t give up, no matter how much electricity or running water they had to go without.
Volodymyr Sudakova, and Liubov Sustakova are both fortunate to have a log stove which keeps their house warm even when the power goes out. They also stock up on food, including potatoes and other vegetables that they have grown in their own garden.
Liubov stated that all we need is for the bombs to stop coming down. “When bombs flew in the summer… “When bombs were flying in the summer…,” I heard it from my garden. Then, boom! That was frightening.