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Ukraine resumes electricity export after withstanding months of Russian energy terror

Since September 2022, Russia has purposely targeted Ukrainian power plants and energy infrastructure. Despite this, Ukraine was able to stabilize the energy system. As of April 17, after a six-month pause, Ukrainian electricity is exported to Slovakia, Poland, and Moldova.

A power transformer at a compound of a power substation damaged by a Russian military strike in the Kherson region. March 23, 2023.
Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service / Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine’s energy system has suffered 15 massive missile attacks and 17 drone attacks that Russia launched in attempts to leave Ukrainian citizens without electricity and heat supply in autumn and winter. Russian mass missile and drone attacks were recorded in September, October, November, December, February, March, and even on New Year’s Eve.

These attacks resulted in civilian casualties, emergency blackouts, and infrastructure damage – Ukrainian law enforcement agencies registered damage or destruction of 4,293 water and electricity networks as of April 12, 2023.

According to the Report of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine on March 15, 2023, these attacks may amount to crimes against humanity.

However, Russia’s terrorist plan to leave Ukraine entirely in the dark and cold failed. Due to the heroic and hard work of Ukrainian emergency services, and assistance from international partners to support the restoration of Ukraine’s energy grid, there is no capacity deficit in Ukraine’s power system as of April 2023.

“The Ukrainian energy system has been operating for almost two months without consumer restrictions and with a power reserve,” reported Herman Galushchenko, Minister of Energy of Ukraine, on April 7. “The most difficult winter was left behind. The next step is resuming energy exports to get additional financial resources to reconstruct the destroyed and damaged energy infrastructure facilities.”

On April 17, Ukraine began exporting electricity to Slovakia, while the energy export to Poland and Moldova had been renewed earlier this month.

However, Russia is still launching missiles and drones at Ukraine, and repairing the already damaged equipment will take months, meaning that temporary power cuts may still occur in some regions of the country. Moreover, more than 10 gigawatts of Ukrainian energy production remain unavailable due to Russia’s occupation – including 6 gigawatts at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Read more: What should be the international response to Russia’s nuclear terrorism?

Ukraine is committed to accelerating the integration of the EU and Ukrainian energy markets, including increasing the capacity to export and import electricity and cooperating in preparing lawsuits against Russia to claim compensation for damage to the energy infrastructure.