More than 1.5 million Ukrainians are without power as winter approaches following a sizeable overnight drone assault by Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the situation in a statement released Saturday, explaining that the strikes have left the city of Odessa and others in the same region without power for all things, aside from certain critical infrastructure. He also reported that the strikes were carried out using 15 Iranian drones, with Ukrainian forces shooting down most of them.
“In total, Russian terrorists used 15 Shahed drones against Odessa,” the statement read. “During one night on Saturday. This is the true attitude of Russia towards Odessa, towards Odessa residents – deliberate bullying, deliberate attempt to bring disaster to the city. Our sky defenders managed to shoot down 10 drones out of 15. Well done!”
Despite that positive note, Zelensky warned that, due to the severity of the strikes, it would take longer than usual for power to be restored to the region.
“Power engineers, repair crews, regional authorities – everyone is working non-stop to restore power,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, the hits were critical, so it takes more than just a period of time to restore electricity… It doesn’t take hours, but a few days, unfortunately. We will do everything we can to speed up the recovery.”
The outage comes at a troublesome time, as the winter season began in Ukraine on December 1. The frigid season will continue until the end of February, with average temperatures in the country ranging from -4.8 to 2 degrees Celsius, or roughly 23-36 degrees Fahrenheit.
The timeline presented for repairs in Zelensky’s statement conflicted with a Saturday report from Pravda, citing claims from Ukrainian energy authorities which said that repairs could last for months potentially. The sources claimed that the timeline for restoring power to Odessa is “not about days, but even weeks, and it is not excluded that 2-3 months.”
Zelensky’s statement continued, urging Odessa residents to lend aid to their friends, neighbors, and the elderly while the power situation is being resolved. He confirmed that “Points of Invincibility” were being deployed in the region, with the government-run outposts providing power, warmth, and access to communication services. He also stressed that those who still have power should limit their power usage while repairs are underway.
“Due to losses in the system, everyone in the system has to reduce the limits,” the statement read. “Recovery is also very difficult. But still, our energy and utility crews are doing truly heroic things, restoring in weeks what would have required months of work. And I thank each who is working to restore power and save the power system.”