Zelensky: Russian strikes have destroyed half of Ukraine’s power plants

Zelensky said nine gigawatts of the nation’s power plant output has already been destroyed heading into the upcoming winter months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a stark assessment Tuesday of the crippling toll Russian missile and drone attacks have inflicted on his country’s energy grid, claiming the campaign has knocked out half of its electricity generation capacity.

Speaking at a conference on rebuilding Ukraine, Zelensky said nine gigawatts of the nation’s power plant output has already been destroyed heading into the upcoming winter months. That accounts for nearly half of the 18 gigawatts Ukraine required at peak demand last winter before Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The severe damage has led to scheduled blackouts and increasingly frequent power outages across wide swaths of the country in recent weeks as utilities struggle to keep up with demand.

The Ukrainian leader implored Western allies to urgently supply more advanced air defence systems to help protect the country’s critical infrastructure, calling the Russian barrage missile and bomb terror that allows Russian troops to advance on the ground.

While Russia claimed the escalating bombing campaign targeting power plants is intended to degrade Ukraine’s military capacity, the strikes have caused widespread civilian suffering as winter approaches. Several million households have experienced prolonged periods without electricity, heating, and running water recently.

Zelensky has accused Moscow of resorting to energy terrorism through deliberate attacks on non-military targets like power stations and substations that could expose much of Ukraine’s population to potentially deadly conditions once temperatures plummet. He called preserving electricity supplies this winter a matter of sheer survival.

The latest Russian bombardment comes as Ukraine’s forces have made incremental battlefield gains in recent months, including reckoning a key city in the Kharkiv region. The Kremlin appears to be trying to weaponize supply shortages to break Ukrainian civilian resolve as the war drags through its ninth month.

Western nations have already begun providing shelter, rations, generators and other humanitarian aid in preparation for the potentially devastating combination of combat damage and winter exposure facing many Ukrainian communities in the coming weeks.