Ukraine’s capital city is preparing for a total electricity blackout as Russia continues to pound the country’s infrastructure in an apparent attempt to leave Ukrainians without power as winter approaches, officials said Sunday.
And Kyiv’s mayor said city residents should be prepared to evacuate if such a scenario comes to pass.
“We understand that if Russia continues such attacks, we may lose our entire electricity system, the director of security for Kyiv’s municipal government, Roman Tkachuk, told the New York Times.
Tkachuk and other Ukrainian officials told the Times that plans are in place to try and battle a blackout that would require a full evacuation of the capital.
“A few days ago, journalists asked me: does the capital have a blackout plan?” Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said in a Telegram post Sunday. “I will answer again. In the war situation in which we live, it is necessary to have plans in case of various scenarios of development of events and emergency situations. And be ready to act.”
Klitschko said there’s no imminent need for Ukrainians to panic or evacuate Kyiv, but he underscored the country’s need for robust preparations as Moscow attempts to collapse Ukraine’s energy sector.
“If you have relatives or friends in the suburbs of Kyiv who have a separate water supply, a stove and heating, plan to stay there temporarily,” Klitschko told local media on Saturday, according to the Telegraph.
Ukraine is also conducting stabilization blackouts in Kyiv and elsewhere to conserve power and keep the grid from total failure.
“As of this evening, stabilization blackouts continue in Kyiv and six regions. More than 4.5 million consumers are without electricity. Most of them are now in Kyiv and the Kyiv region. It’s really difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Sunday address.
Zelensky said he’s had “several special meetings” with government officials, regional administrators and energy company representatives “regarding probably scenarios in the energy sector.”
“We consider each scenario in detail and prepare appropriate actions,” Zelensky said.
Kyiv is also prepping 1,000 heating shelters in the event of power loss come winter.
“Electric generators were purchased, water supplies and everything necessary for these heating points to receive people were made. You will be able to warm up, drink tea, recharge your phones, and get the necessary help,” Klitschko said in a Telegram post, per translations.