Faced With a Russian Onslaught, Ukraine Struggles to Keep the Lights On

As Ukraine struggles to hold back Russian advances, the country’s officials say they are once again facing the formidable challenge of keeping electricity flowing as Moscow’s forces increasingly strike power plants.

To conserve energy, the government has ordered nationwide rolling blackouts for Monday night, broadening the smaller regional ones that have become the norm in recent weeks.

“This is another frontline in the war,” said Maxim Timchenko, the head of DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private electricity company, on social media last week. He said the company’s workers were engaged in a “race against time” to restore power to consumers.

The nationwide blackout, scheduled from 6 p.m. to midnight, will affect the entire country for the first time this year, but it is unclear if it will continue past Monday.

The winter of 2022-2023 was especially hard on Ukrainians after Russian forces struck many power plants, leaving much of the population without heat in the bitter cold. But after that, Ukrainian forces became more adept at shooting down incoming missiles and had more weapons at their disposal to do so. At least until this spring.

As Ukrainian troops run low on weaponry, especially after the United States slowed down deliveries of arms, they have been less able to protect themselves against Russian barrages that have also become more sophisticated.

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