TEvery day Volodymyr Kudrytskyj receives new bad news. A broken power line in the south, a destroyed power plant in the west, a broken substation in the east. It is an unequal battle that the CEO of the Ukrainian electricity supplier Ukrenergo is currently fighting. “The time to launch a missile at civilian infrastructure is much less than the time it takes us to rebuild.”
For a long time he struggles for words when he speaks, his eyelids droop. For the past two years, 36-year-old Kudrytsky has been making sure that Ukrainians can watch TV, do laundry and turn on the coffee machine in the morning. On the very morning that the FAZ met him for an interview, there were 450,000 residents Kievs no more electricity. “It’s a direct result of Russia’s missile attacks,” he says. “They know exactly what to hit in order to do as much damage as possible to the Ukrainian capital’s energy supply.”
Kudrytskyj is sitting at a conference table in Ukrenergo’s headquarters. In front of him is a card Ukraine. Red, yellow and brown dots mark the objects that Russia has already attacked. They are spread across the country, most power plants have been hit at least once. The number 1 thermal power plant in Kyiv is also there, just a few steps from Kudrytskyj’s office.
The damage is hardly visible from the outside. Only the missing windows indicate that a combat drone ended its kamikaze flight there a few weeks ago and exploded. Smoke rises into the air from two of the eight chimneys, and things are already working at a low level. For Kudrytskyj are of Russia Attacks “the largest attacks on a country’s power infrastructure in human history”.
40 percent of the infrastructure destroyed
Since mid-October, the Russian military has been taking more and more action power supply targeting Ukraine. The attacks probably began in retaliation shortly after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, which connects Russia to the annexed peninsula. Now the Ukraine is to be bombed in the dark and cold. 40 percent of the energy infrastructure has already been destroyed. At the beginning of this week, almost eight million people in the country were disconnected from the power supply, and 600,000 households were without gas. Citizens are called upon to save energy.
The government is even asking the millions of people who have fled abroad not to return at the moment. This should protect the domestic power grid. In order to cushion the restrictions for those who remained as much as possible, the electricity is divided between the regions of Ukraine.
In cities like Kharkiv, Dnipro and Kyiv, the local energy suppliers publish plans for when the lights will go out for several hours in which district. Then it goes black behind the windows of the apartment blocks and the street lamps go out. The water often fails at the same time because the pumps also need electricity.
In the dark, pedestrians trudge over the cobblestones on the Andreassteig. It is one of the most famous streets in Kiev, restaurants and bars are lined up here. Outside you can see people dining by candlelight. In some bars, colorful chains of lights shine, here and there the bright white light of a cell phone lamp flashes. On the street, musicians unpack their accordions, guitars and violins. The boy playing the accordion in the dim light on the Andreassteig even made it onto the front page of the New York Times.