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Putin’s War in Ukraine Has a New Strategy: Kill the Lights and the Heat

War in Ukraine. Image: Creative Commons.
Image of Russian artillery firing.

80% Of Kyiv Left Without Power: Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s energy grid operator, revealed on Telegram on Tuesday that Ukraine now faces a “significant” energy deficit following the latest round of Russian strikes on national energy infrastructure on December 19.

In the post, Ukrenergo described how drone strikes had taken out main network facilities in the central region on Monday, and how artillery shelling in eastern Ukraine caused further damage to major pieces of energy infrastructure.

The Russian attacks primarily caused energy supply issues in the capital city of Kyiv.

Specifically, Ukrenergo revealed how Kyiv now has less than half of the capacity required to keep the lights on.

“In the capital, less than half of the consumption needs are provided, the priority is the supply of critical infrastructure,” the statement reads, adding that “certain equipment” could be switched on to allow for a slightly increased level of power reliability aimed at reducing the deficit in the capital. Ukrenergo repair crews were also deployed, although those efforts are unlikely to restore significantly more of the required capacity in the short term.

In an interview with Voice of America, Ukrenergo chairman Volodymyr Kudrytskyi described how “thousands” of employees are now working around the clock to provide power to Ukrainians.“But it is obvious that destroying an energy facility with a rocket is much easier and faster than rebuilding it,” Kudrytskyi added.

The comments underscore the urgency of new air defense systems being sent to Ukraine, as the United States and Europe mull over sending new and more advanced missile systems to protect against Russia’s ongoing missile and drone strike campaigns.

Kyiv Leader Speaks Out

Oleksiy Kuleba, the head of the Kyiv regional military administration, also responded to the latest strikes and the power shortages in the nation’s capital.

“The situation with the power supply remains critical. After the recent attacks by drones and missiles, the restoration of the power supply continues,” Kuleba said, adding that the “complexity and duration” of each repair operation increases with every enemy shelling.

Kuleba claimed that 80% of the city had been left without electricity, with the Bucha, Obukhiv, and Vyshgorod districts suffering the worst.

Nuclear Plants Reach Planned Capacity

Ukrenergo also announced this week that Ukrainian nuclear power plants, excluding the Zaporizhzhia plant, have reached their planned capacity.

In a statement, the electricity transmission system operator said that the process of restoring the nation’s energy system is underway thanks to progress in ramping up production at nuclear plants not under the control of Russian forces.

“As of December 18, the process of restoring the energy system operation is underway. Nuclear power plants have reached their planned capacity. The exception is the occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP that remains in shutdown mode,” a statement reads.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.