Ukrainians Urged to Ration Coal and Gas Use for Upcoming Winter as Russia Targets Energy Supplies

Ukraine is appealing to its people to reduce energy consumption to avoid blackouts as Russian forces target its energy infrastructure. Russia hit about 30 percent of Ukraine's energy infrastructure in its missile attacks earlier this week.

As such, Ukraine urged civilians not to use domestic appliances like washing machines and ovens to save electricity.

Reduce Electricity Consumption

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said citizens and businesses have been told to reduce electricity consumption between 5 pm and 10 pm. He hopes this will stabilize the power grid. "It is necessary to achieve a deliberate reduction in electricity consumption from 5 pm to 10 pm across Ukraine by 25%. The minimum indoor temperature this winter will be 16 degrees, and the average temperature will be 18." Shmyhal believes this is a necessity. "This is our contribution to victory."

DTEK, a major private power supplier in Kyiv, said rolling power cuts may be necessary.

Ukraine Energy Infrasture
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Russia Targets Energy Infrastructure

Herman Haluschenko, Ukraine's Energy Minister, said Russia has been dramatically targeting energy infrastructure. He believes this is in response to Ukraine's energy export to Europe which helps European countries to save on Russian gas and coal.

Moreover, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Monday that energy targets were among those struck during the most recent assault in Ukraine. He highlighted that Russian missiles hit all designated targets as a response to Ukraine downing the Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea.

Ukrainians believe that Russia's new commander, Sergey Surovikin, will make the destruction of infrastructure a key part of his offensive. As such, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been pushing Western allies for advanced air defences to protect civilian targets including power stations and dams.

Oleksii Riabchyn, an energy adviser to the Ukrainian government, said Russia's game plan would be a failure. He believes Russia is doing this to break the morale of the Ukrainian people, to stoke internal strife and to try to make people demand that the authorities negotiate with Moscow. "They want the families of soldiers to suffer in the cold and they blame Ukraine for this suffering. But this is not going to happen. We are going to win. But we are also preparing for a very difficult cold season."

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Preparing for the Worse

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelenskyy's office, said Ukraine's leadership had been preparing for such a scenario. They prepared mobile repair brigades with the capacity to rapidly minimize damage to power plants hit by missiles. Podolyak outlined that there is a phenomenal consensus among Ukrainian society. "People are prepared to endure a difficult winter. They are ready that will be a deficit of heating, water and electricity. People are ready to suffer, and whatever happens, to win the war."

Serhiy Kiral, Lviv's deputy mayor, said authorities have bought 600 of the bulbous cast-iron wood burners to be distributed across the city. He revealed that they plan to buy several thousand. "The idea is that every resident should have a place to warm up. This could be a potbelly stove built in the basement of a building with an exhaust pipe leading to street level. It could be an open space in the city, where people can gather at certain times to warm up, chat, eat and then return to their cold apartments."

Kiral, as per official reports received from the mayors, said the heating season will not start in several towns. "Tens, or maybe even hundreds of thousands of residents of eastern Ukraine will have to evacuate, even by force, to the west of the country."