Ukraine’s national energy company has urged citizens to “charge everything” by 07:00 (04:00 GMT) onThursday because of expected power cuts caused by Russian missile strikes.
Energy plants were hit by Russian missiles again on Wednesday – part of a wave of such strikes since October10.
Outages of up to four hours at a time will affect the whole country on Thursday, grid operator, Ukrenergo, said.It comes as Russia declares martial law in areas of Ukraine it has annexed.
Heightened security measures have also come into force in Russia – mostly areas along the Ukraine border.
In preparation for the blackouts, Ukrenergo has appealed to Ukrainians to stock up with water and ensure they have “warm socks and blankets and hugs for family and friends”.Phones, power banks, torches and batteries need to be charged, it urged.
As much as 40 per cent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been seriously damaged, according to Oleksandr Kharchenko, an adviser to the energy minister.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said three energy facilities had been destroyed on Wednesday and energy companies were preparing for “all possible scenarios” for winter. He was due to address a summit of European Union (EU) leaders who are trying to reach an agreement on bringing down gas prices.
Serious damage was reported to power facilities in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine and Burshtyn in the west.
Ukrenergo said there had been more attacks in the past 10 days than in the whole preceding period since Russia’s invasion on February24.
Ukrenergo said it would use “controlled, calculated consumption restrictions”, and warned power cuts may occur throughout Ukraine from 07:00 to 22:00.
It advised citizens to check the regional network operators’ websites to see how it would apply to them.
Sporadic power cuts have already affected parts of the capital, Kyiv, and many of Ukraine’s regions. Russian missiles have damaged infrastructure all across Ukraine, including cities such as Lviv in the west – a long way from the fighting.
Authorities have urged Ukrainians to reduce their power use in the evenings.
“We do not rule out that with the onset of cold weather, we will ask for your help more often,” Ukrenergo said. -BBC