Ukraine conflict: Ukraine braced for bleak winter of blackouts as MoD offer Black Sea Fleet update

Rolling blackouts across Ukraine may continue until March, according to one of the country’s energy chiefs, as Ukrainians brace for a grim winter after weeks of relentless Russian strikes against the country’s power grid.

Sergey Kovalenko, chief executive of private energy provider DTEK Yasno, said in a Facebook post late on Monday that the company is under instructions from Ukraine’s state grid operator to resume emergency blackouts in the areas it covers, including the capital, Kyiv, and the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region.

“Although there are fewer blackouts now, I want everyone to understand – most likely, Ukrainians will have to live with blackouts until at least the end of March,” Mr Kovalenko warned.

Hide Ad

“I think we need to be prepared for different options, even the worst ones. Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about what will help you wait out a long shutdown,” he urged Ukrainian residents.

Hide Ad

Russia has been pummelling Ukraine’s power grid and other infrastructure from the air for weeks, as the war approaches its nine-month milestone. That onslaught has caused widespread blackouts and deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat and water.

Temperatures commonly remain below freezing in Ukraine in the winter months. Ukrainian authorities have started evacuating civilians from recently liberated sections of the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions amid fears that the winter will be hard to survive.

Hide Ad

Mr Kovalenko added that even if no more Russian strikes occur, scheduled outages will be needed across Ukraine to ensure that power is evenly distributed across the battered energy grid.

In an update on the situation in Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defence provided an update on the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Hide Ad
Ukrainian servicemen fire towards Russian positions on the frontline of the Donetsk region on November 21, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov / AFP) (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

The intelligence update read: “On 18 November 2022, multiple Russian and Ukrainian media outlets reported that an attack took place at an oil terminal in Novorssiysk port on Russia’s Black Sea coast. A major base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) is close to the oil terminal.

Hide Ad

"The Black Sea Fleet relocated many of its submarine operations to Novorssiysk after its Sevastopol base in occupied Crimea was struck by Ukraine over the summer. Russian commanders will likely be concerned about threats to the Novorssiysk-based amphibious landing ship flotilla.

"These vessels are relatively vulnerable without escorts and have assumed a more important role in supplying Russian forces in Ukraine since the Kerch Bridge was damaged in October.”

Hide Ad

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian missile strikes have damaged more than 50% of the country’s energy facilities, and the World Health Organisation is warning that millions face a “life-threatening” winter in Ukraine.

The battle for terrain has continued unabated despite the deteriorating weather conditions, with Ukrainian forces pressing against Russian positions as part of a weeks-long counter-offensive and Moscow’s forces keeping up shelling and missile strikes.

Hide Ad

On Tuesday morning, Ukrainian officials reported overnight shelling by Russian forces in several regions – eastern Donetsk, where the fighting is focused, northern Sumy, which borders Russia, and south-eastern Dnipropetrovsk.

In the partially occupied Donetsk region, the city of Avdiivka was most affected by the shelling, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram.

Hide Ad

The city was hit by several strikes overnight and a massive artillery barrage early in the morning. No casualties were reported, according to the official.