By Olga Voitovych and Alex Hardie, CNN
Ukraine’s government has appealed to people to reduce their electricity consumption to avoid blackouts as Russian missiles target the country’s energy infrastructure, saying peak demand needs to be reduced by 25%.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on citizens and businesses to reduce electricity consumption from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. in order to stabilize the power system, after the damage caused by Russian missile attacks this week.
“We are grateful to all Ukrainians who deliberately reduced electricity consumption yesterday and the night before yesterday. The total saving was 10%. We also thank the mayors, heads of communities, who took a responsible approach to reducing electricity consumption in communities,” Shmyhal said in a statement.
But to avoid power outages, he said, “it is necessary to achieve a deliberate reduction in electricity consumption from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. across Ukraine by 25%.”
Shmyhal asked that “external electric advertising and other energy-consuming devices” be turned off during the evening hours.
He also appealed to people to use gas and coal sparingly after turning on the heating.
“The minimum indoor temperature this winter will be 16 degrees, and the average temperature will be 18 degrees,” he said. “This is a necessity and this is our contribution to victory.”
Around 30% of energy infrastructure in Ukraine has been hit by Russian missiles since Monday when the recent wave of Russian attacks started, Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told CNN on Tuesday.
Halushchenko told CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
He said that one reason for this was because Ukraine’s export of electricity to Europe “helps European countries to save on Russian gas and coal,” adding that Ukraine is trying “to reconnect quickly from the other sources.”
“The export of electricity, we call it a win-win situation. I mean with the Europeans because we receive money to Ukrainian energy system and it helps (Ukraine) from financial point of view…on the other side, Europe receives electricity and that is really the perfect situation for both sides,” he said.
“That’s why the Russians started” attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the minister claimed.
On Tuesday, Russia’s defense ministry confirmed that it is targeting Ukrainian military and energy facilities in attacks.
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