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PRIVATE At least half of Ukraine's thermal power capacity affected by Russian strikes -min

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  • Ukraine may need electricity imports – energy minister
  • Minister in interview: Energy system still stable
  • 30-40% of energy infrastructure affected by Russian attacks

KYIV, October 21 (Reuters) – Russian airstrikes have hit at least half of Ukraine’s thermal generation capacity and have caused billions of dollars in damage since October 10, but all these power units have not stopped completely, Ukraine’s energy minister said on Friday. . .

German Galushchenko told Reuters in an interview that Ukraine may need electricity imports to survive the winter after the attacks that hit 30-40% of its energy infrastructure, and that traders are already negotiating with suppliers.

Moscow stepped up its attacks last week, using missiles and mobile munitions targeting Kiev and its major power and heating infrastructure, which Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin described as payback for Ukraine’s attack on a bridge to annexed Crimea.

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When asked about the extent of the damage, Galushchenko replied, “It’s pretty high capacity. I can tell you… at least half of the thermal (power) generation capacity, or even more.” Said.

Although state weather forecasters expect a slightly milder season this year, Ukraine typically experiences long, cold winters, with average temperatures a few degrees below Celsius and as low as -20 degrees Celsius.

The Minister stressed that Russia, whose occupation of Ukraine is approaching eight months, now believes that it plans to destroy the entire energy system, but for now the system is still working steadily.

“They targeted a number of thermal productions (plants) this week,” Galushchenko said. Said. He said Ukraine lost 4000 MW in generating capacity as a result of the strikes.

Earlier this week, towns and cities restricted power supplies and limited electricity use this week so energy companies can repair power plants hit by a wave of Russian airstrikes.

We see that they targeted a number of new (facilities) but also bombed (premises) that were bombed before to destroy them completely,” he said.

Galushchenko warned that rebuilding the damaged infrastructure would take “months” and that Ukraine would pursue Russia for costs through international courts.

Five energy workers have been killed and 11 injured in attacks since October 10, the ministry said.

NUCLEAR BACKGROUND

Galushchenko spoke English throughout the interview, wearing casual military-style attire in the airy Soviet-era offices of the energy ministry in Kiev.

He has served as energy minister since April 2021 and was previously vice president at state nuclear company Energoatom, which rose to prominence during the war as fears rose around the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.

He said he saw no signs of progress towards an agreement involving Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations nuclear watchdog to resolve the situation at the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

Russian forces occupied the facility in southern Ukraine shortly after the invasion of Moscow, but it is still operated by Ukrainian personnel. Kyiv and Moscow accused each other of bombing the facility and risking a nuclear disaster.

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, held talks in Moscow and Kiev to agree on a safety and security protection zone around the power plant.

“It’s not at this stage,” Galushchenko said when asked if he had seen progress towards an agreement.

“I see that there are some messages from Rafael this week that he wants to discuss a framework of agreement again. I don’t know, maybe something has changed in Russia’s position, but I don’t believe (I don’t believe) in any possibility. We have agreed with Russia,” he said.

When asked at what point it would be too dangerous for Ukrainian personnel to continue working at the facility, he said, “This point is a nuclear accident,” explaining that they have a responsibility to continue as they cannot be changed by Russia.

Galushchenko said the evacuation of “thousands” of the plant’s workers would therefore only occur “(a) a few hours before a real disaster”.

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Reporting by Max Hunder; Written by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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