Will Ukraine be able to power through the winter?

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Winter has left Ukrainians more vulnerable, with power outages leaving citizens exhausted and struggling to get through the season.

Will Ukraine be able to power through the winter?
The winter months have left Ukrainians even more vulnerable, with power outages leaving citizens exhausted. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

26 Jan 2023 11:19AM (Updated: 26 Jan 2023 11:56AM)

KYIV: Power outages have become increasingly common in Ukraine as a result of relentless Russian strikes on its energy infrastructure.

Power supply has been patchy, with the country only having half of its usual thermal power generation capacity at times.

The winter months have left Ukrainians even more vulnerable, with citizens calling the outages “exhausting” and saying they are struggling to get through the cold season without reliable heat.

In late December, around 9 million people were disconnected from electricity. Rolling blackouts have left Ukrainians without power, for up to days at a time.

Residents have tweaked their daily routines to adjust to the state of things, with facilities set up for people to rest and charge their devices.

Kyiv resident Myroslava said: “Power outages are exhausting. I understand that our utility workers, those who work with electricity, are doing everything possible. We just have to endure. But it’s all very tiring.”

“When there is no power supply, we turn on a battery, connect LED (light-emitting diode) lights and do homework with the children. Otherwise, there is nothing. There is no water, no heating … We just sit at home trying to survive somehow,” said another Kyiv resident Olena.


Citizens are relying on petrol or diesel generators to get through winter.

People take shelter in the Kyiv subway during an air siren in the city. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Ukrainian authorities have also set up “invincibility centres” across the country, offering people a warm space, a hot drink and a chance to charge their electronic devices.

Some of these facilities are makeshift tents in car parks, while others are repurposed shopping centres, but not everyone can be accommodated.

Closer to the frontline, the challenges are even greater as help is more scarce. In the Zaporizhzhia region, for example, residents have to depend on one another to survive.

Zaporizhzhia resident Yevhen said: “We put the kettle on, we take the phone out and write to the neighbours, ‘Everyone come to the basement!’. When there is no electricity, we keep warm together, we make tea. There we have a table and cups. This is our routine now.”

The Ukrainian authorities are working round the clock to repair infrastructure damaged in the war, with energy facilities a top priority.


Some respite may be on the horizon for Ukrainians, however, as experts say a German plan to deliver high-tech battle tanks to Ukraine may change the course of the war.

The German government has confirmed it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks and approve requests by other countries to do the same. (Philipp Schulze/dpa via AP, file)

“The war in Ukraine is virtually at a stalemate. Nobody’s winning it. Nobody’s losing it,” Mr Allan Behm, director of the International and Security Affairs Program at Australia Institute, told CNA’s Asia First on Wednesday (Jan 25).

Germany had announced that it will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries, such as Poland, to do the same to help Kyiv.

The German decision was initially held back by the “historical memory” of German tanks operating in the second World War, said Mr Behm, along with some ruling coalition partners who remain pacifist and do not wish to see German military equipment deployed in the war.

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