Kyiv faces massive blackouts and a looming burden on its energy system after a series of Russian attacks on its infrastructure on Halloween.
Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko announced the resumption of water and power supply on Tuesday 1 November.
However, he added that scheduled partial blackouts would continue in order to let the city cope with the damage to Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure.
Klitschko said that the water supply had been restored, but officials have urged people to limit their power use between 06:00 and 11:00 and 17:00 and 23:00.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky stated in his nightly address on Thursday that “about 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption.”
He also called Russia’s targeting of civilian infrastructure “energy terrorism” and a sign of “weakness” as Russia suffers military defeats against Ukraine’s counter-offensive.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the attacks were partly in retaliation for a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea fleet.
Russia’s bombings could possibly be a small part of a larger military strategy to deprive Ukraine of energy this coming winter.
Without street lights, parts of Kyiv are pitch-black and pedestrians and drivers both stand in danger of potholes and collisions.
Most significantly, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in southern Ukraine was disconnected from the power grid after shelling, Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom stated on Thursday 3 November.
The plant reactors require external power to prevent a meltdown, raising fears of a potential nuclear disaster.
With Russia changing its strategy in the face of a string of losses on the battlefield, Ukraine faces the alarming prospect of blackouts in one of the most challenging winters in Europe’s recent memory.
Russia’s bombing of civilian infrastructure is expected to increase in frequency, posing an added challenge to Ukraine’s armed forces and population as winter looms close.