Ukraine’s energy network breaking faster than it can secure spare parts

Russian attacks have targeted Ukraine’s transmission lines and outdoor transformers

Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko and EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson in Kyiv. AFP
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The EU is struggling to help Ukraine secure spare parts for its energy infrastructure, which has been the target of intense Russian missile attacks.

“After the cascades of missile attacks, the need for spare parts is so big that there is no storage available to deliver them on spot,” said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson during a visit to Ukraine on Tuesday.

“The biggest challenge is not just financing. It’s finding the equipment, and here we can help you,” she told Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko in Kyiv.

In recent days, Russia has targeted combined heat and electricity plants, as well as transmission lines and outdoor transformers, according to Ms Simson.

The EU has the possibility of transferring electricity to Ukraine, which halted its own exports to Europe on October 10 due to Russian attacks. But there are limits to such transfers, said the commissioner.

“That’s why the most urgent challenge is to restore the transmission lines inside Ukraine,” said Ms Simson.

The chief executive of Ukraine’s national grid Volodymyr Kudrytskyi on Tuesday told British newspaper The Guardian that relentless Russian bombing had hit “virtually all” non-nuclear power stations in the country.

Mr Kudrytskyi described the situation as “critical” and accused Russia of deliberately targeting Ukraine’s power system to cause a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Electricity cuts across Ukraine have become common.

Mr Kudrytskyi also told AFP that the barrage of strikes that came on October 10-12 was “the largest attack on an energy system in European history”.

The attacks forced Ukraine to stop exporting electricity to the EU, hitting hardest the small country of Moldova. Neighbouring Romania agreed to step in and sell Moldova electricity at a reduced price.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 11:51 AM