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    With winter approaching, Ukraine works to restore its power system damaged by Russian attacks


    December 6, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      Ukraine was trying on Tuesday to restore its electricity service after the latest wave of Russian attacks that caused blackouts throughout the country, at a time when the winter cold is hitting its territory.

      Of 70 missiles launched by Moscow, "most" were shot down, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said, but the remainder hit the country's battered energy infrastructure.

      New blackouts were recorded in all regions "as a result of the attacks," Ukrenergo power company Ukrenergo reported on Telegram.

      Ukrenergo head Volodimir Kudrytskyi said that "there is no doubt that the Russian military consulted with Russian energy engineers during the attack," judging by where the missiles landed.

      "The timing the Russians chose for this attack has to do with their desire to cause as much damage as possible," Kudrytskyi told a Ukrainian news outlet, explaining that the strikes were carried out at the onset of the coldest period.

      "Our teams are going to work on restoring the energy system," he assured.

      Nearly half of Ukraine's power systems have been damaged after months of attacks on electricity infrastructure, leaving residents in the dark for hours at a time when the temperature drops below freezing.

      Meanwhile, UN human rights commissioner Volker Turk, who began a four-day visit over the weekend, had to move his meetings with activists to a subway shelter.

      Zelensky announced in his evening message that four people were killed in the Russian attacks.

      But "our people never give up," he assured in the video message.

      Meanwhile, the governor of the Russian region of Kursk, bordering Ukraine, said on Tuesday that a drone attacked an airfield in the area, where an oil storage tank caught fire.

      Earlier in the day, Russia had blamed Ukraine for two drone attacks on such facilities in the Saratov and Ryazan regions, allegedly killing three soldiers.

      At the same time, it confirmed that it carried out a "massive attack on Ukrainian military command systems and defense, communications and energy facilities."

      Moscow rejects cap

      The attacks came after Russia rejected a Western-imposed cap on its oil exports, warning that the measure would not affect its campaign in Ukraine.

      The $60 per barrel cap agreed by the European Union (EU), the G7 and Australia seeks to restrict Russian revenues while ensuring Moscow maintains supplies to the world market.

      "The Russian economy has all the necessary potential to supply the needs and requirements of the special military operation," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, using Moscow's term for its attack on Ukraine.

      "Such measures will not affect us," he said.

      Peskov added that Russia "will not recognize" the cap, which he called "a step toward destabilization of the world energy market."

      The current market price of a barrel of Russian crude oil is $65, slightly higher than the $60 cap, suggesting that the measure will have little short-term impact.

      The cap is the latest in a series of measures by Western countries against Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter, since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

      The EU also imposed an embargo on maritime deliveries of Russian crude oil, which took effect on Monday.

      The embargo will prevent sea shipments of Russian crude to the EU, which account for two-thirds of the bloc's oil imports from Russia, leaving Moscow out billions of dollars.

      Kiev initially hailed the price cap, but later claimed it would do little harm to the Russian economy.

      Meanwhile, Russian state media released images of President Vladimir Putin driving a Mercedes over the Crimean bridge, the closest the 70-year-old ruler has come to the front line in Ukraine.

      Uncertainty ahead of winter

      The G7 countries - UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US - along with Australia, said they were prepared to adjust the price cap if necessary.

      Gas prices have soared in recent months since Moscow halted shipments to the EU in apparent retaliation for Western sanctions, and the bloc has struggled to find other suppliers.

      In the Ukrainian town of Borodianka outside Kiev, where snow already blankets the ground, villagers gathered around wood-burning stoves in tents to keep warm during the blackouts.

      "We are totally dependent on electricity (...) One day we had no electricity for 16 hours," Irina, who came to the tent with her son, told AFP.

      Volunteer Oleg commented that it is difficult to know how Ukraine will do in the winter months.

      "It is impossible to prepare for this winter because no one has ever lived in these conditions before," he said.

      (With information from AFP)

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