KYIV, Ukraine — Utility crews spent a dark night in snow and freezing rain on Thursday to stabilize Ukraine’s battered power grid and restore many parts of the country after another wave of destructive Russian missile attacks Even basic services like running water and heating are still without power for millions.
Ukrainians have expressed defiance in the face of Moscow’s relentless campaign to weaponize winter, seeking to undermine their resolve and force Kyiv to surrender, even as Russia inflicts new pain on a war-weary nation.
Surgeons were forced to work with flashlights, thousands of miners had to be pulled from deep underground with hand winches, and across the country people lugged buckets and bottles of water up the stairs in high-rise apartment buildings where elevators stopped working.
Ukrainian State Border Service suspend operation At a checkpoint on the Hungarian-Romanian border Thursday due to a power outage, Ukraine’s national rail operator reported delays and disruptions across the network that has provided the country with a resilient lifeline amid the nine-month war.
Families set up centers in towns and cities to charge phones, keep warm and gather information during extended power outages. Police in the capital Kyiv and other cities stepped up patrols as shop and restaurant owners turned on generators or lit candles to keep working.
“The situation is difficult across the country,” said Herman Galushchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister. But by 4 a.m., he said, engineers had managed to “unify the energy system” by allowing power to be sent to to critical infrastructure.
In Ukraine’s western neighbor Moldova, whose Soviet-era power system is still interconnected with Ukraine’s, the grid has largely come back online after the country experienced a “massive blackout,” the infrastructure minister said. tweeted“We move on, stronger and more victorious,” wrote Minister Andrea Spinu.
At least 10 people were killed and dozens more wounded in a Russian missile strike Wednesday that appeared to be one of the most damaging in weeks, Ukrainian officials said. Since October, Russia fired about 600 missiles on Oct. 10 at power plants, hydroelectric facilities, water pumping stations and processing facilities, high-voltage cables around nuclear power plants and vital substations that power tens of millions of homes and businesses, according to Ukrainian officials. missile.
The campaign is taking its toll. Wednesday’s airstrike shut down all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants for the first time, depriving the country of one of its most vital sources of energy.
“We expect nuclear plants to start working at night, so the deficit will be reduced,” Mr. Galushenko said.
Ukrainian air defenses shot down 51 of 67 Russian cruise missiles and five of 10 drones fired on Wednesday, said Valeriy Zaluzzhnyi, the supreme commander of Ukraine’s armed forces.
Speaking at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned what he called Russian terror.
“It is clearly a crime against humanity when the temperature outside drops below zero and tens of millions of people are cut off from power, heat and water as a result of Russian missile attacks on energy installations,” he said.
In Kyiv, about a quarter of households remained without power on Thursday afternoon, and more than half of the city’s residents were without running water, according to city officials. Service was gradually being restored, city officials said, saying they believed pumps that provide water to about 3 million residents would be back on by the end of the day.
Traffic in the southern Black Sea port city of Odessa was suspended to divert limited energy supplies to resupply water. In western Ukraine’s Lviv region, millions of people have been displaced by fighting and power and water cuts, but services have mostly been restored.
State energy utility Ukrenergo said repairs in some areas could take longer than others due to the “extensive amount of damage” and difficult working conditions.
“There is no reason to panic,” the utility said in a statement. Critical infrastructure will all be reconnected, it said.