Ukraine’s power grid, badly damaged by a Russian missile strike, is likely to be disrupted for months to come. President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country struggled with a sudden blackout on Monday, in addition to planned shutdowns. Consumption is more than power generation and everyone needs to conserve energy. Electricity supplier Yasno said Ukrainians should expect outages or shutdowns until at least the end of March.
As the Ukrainian military continues to report heavy fighting from the Donbass coal and steel region in the stricken east of the country, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released one area all clear: the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which is occupied by Russia. The troops, despite coming under heavy shelling over the weekend, remained largely intact.
A memory of the protest at Maidan nine years ago
In his video speech on Monday, Zelensky recalled the start of pro-European demonstrations on Nov. 21, 2013, nine years ago in Independence Square in Maidan, the capital, Kiev. This protest led to the fall of the pro-Russian government. In February 2014. However, Moscow took advantage of Ukraine’s weak phase to annex the Crimean peninsula and, a little later, start a war in eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky said that the freedom and dignity of the Ukrainian people is more than a thousand years old. People have survived many threats to their freedom and existence. “Now there is a historic opportunity to defend Ukrainian independence once and for all,” he said, referring to the hoped-for victory against the Russian aggressors.
Selensky calls on fellow countrymen to save electricity
With no electricity on the Ukrainian grid, Zelensky turned to regional and municipal administrations: they should continue to encourage citizens to save electricity. Electricity should also be saved in public places. “The situation is very difficult tonight in Kyiv and its surrounding areas, as well as in Vinnytsia, Sumy, Ternopil, Cherkasy, Odessa and some other cities and districts,” Zelensky said.
“The system damage caused to our energy sector by the Russian terrorist attacks is so great that all our citizens and companies need to be more frugal and spread consumption throughout the day,” he said. Since mid-October, Russia has been destroying Ukraine’s energy system with rocket attacks in violation of international law. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the neighboring country’s government should be forced to the negotiating table.
Power technicians are doing everything they can to repair grid damage before winter sets in, Yasno power company boss Serhi Kovalenko wrote on Facebook. “Although there are fewer outages now, I want everyone to understand: Ukrainians will have to live with outages at least until the end of March,” he wrote. He advised people to prepare: “Put on warm clothes and blankets and think about how to survive a long power outage.” Network operator Ukrenergo announced planned shutdowns across the country on Tuesday.
Heavy fighting in Donbass
Regarding the fighting in the Donbass, Ukrainian civil servants announced that Russia is concentrating its attacks on the cities of Avdiyvka and Bagmud in the Donetsk region. Elsewhere, public servants spoke of the “active defense” of Russian troops – so the Ukrainians were openly attacking. Fronts in Kubzhansk and Liman and in the Novopavlivka and Zaporizhia region are mentioned. Russian troops reportedly fought back with tanks, mortars, barrels and rocket artillery.
According to an official statement, Russian troops in southern Ukraine are strengthening their defense lines along the southern bank of the Dnipro River. According to unofficial information, Ukrainian artillery fired its long-range guns in the direction of Crimea in this area. Russian military bloggers reported a successful Russian advance on the town of Marzinga near Donetsk. The Ukrainian city of Vovsansk in the Kharkiv region was hit by Russian multiple rocket launchers on Monday evening, local officials said.
IAEA: Nuclear fuel stored safely in Zaporizhia
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grassi said there were no immediate concerns about the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. Four IAEA experts inspected the largest European nuclear power plant. Six reactors are stable. The integrity of spent fuel, fresh fuel and low, intermediate and high level radioactive waste is ensured in their storage facilities.
Nevertheless, experts found damage at several places on the site. “This is very worrying because it highlights the seriousness of an attack on one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” Grassi said. The nuclear power plant was rocked by dozens of grenades on Saturday and Sunday. The facility also caught fire a few months ago. Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for this.
That will be crucial on Tuesday
The State Duma, the Russian parliament in Moscow, wants to condemn Tuesday’s shooting of captured Russian soldiers by Ukrainian soldiers. Parliaments of other countries should join. The incident, documented by video, is believed to have taken place in mid-November when Ukraine recaptured the city of Makivka in the Luhansk region in the east of the country. According to Ukrainian sources, one Russian opened fire instead of surrendering. So the Ukrainians shot the Russians who were already lying on the ground in self-defense. The UN Human Rights Office has announced an investigation.