Bad weather forces electricity shutdowns in eight Ukrainian regions

FILE PHOTO: A view shows a power transformer at a compound of a power substation damaged by a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kherson region, Ukraine March 23, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's national grid operator imposed emergency electricity shutdowns in eight Ukrainian regions on Tuesday because of bad weather, and said Russian attacks had affected the power supply in some frontline areas.

The shutdowns follow an improvement in electricity supplies across Ukraine in recent weeks, in what officials have hailed as a victory in their battle to restore power after months of Russian missile and drone strikes.

The grid operator, Ukrenergo, said storms, wind, snow and rain in seven regions of western Ukraine and in the southern region of Odesa had resulted in blackouts for consumers.

It said electricity distribution networks in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, Zaporizhzhia in the southeast and Kherson in the south had been damaged during recent shelling.

"A difficult situation with electricity supply remains in the regions along the front line where the enemy constantly damages the networks with artillery fire," Ukrenergo said in a statement. "In particular, distribution system operators' networks in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions were damaged yesterday as a result of Russian shelling."

Ukrenergo said it was maintaining limits on electricity consumption in the central Zhytomyr region because of damage to the network during Russian attacks this month.

Ukraine's energy system has survived despite months of attacks that have at times left millions of people without electricity, heating or water.

Officials say about 40% of the energy system has been damaged, and teams of workers continue repairs to restore power and strengthen the energy system.

Weather forecasters expect weather conditions to a further deterioration in the weather this week.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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