Ukraine's energy system stable but any scenario is possible

Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko cautioned on April 12 that Ukrainians should brace themselves for potential power outages in the upcoming spring or summer amidst Russia's sustained assaults on energy infrastructure.

In recent times, Moscow has escalated its barrage of missile and drone attacks targeting critical infrastructure in Ukraine, resulting in the destruction of several thermal power plants across the nation, including the Trypillia facility. The latter serves as the primary electricity provider to Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Cherkasy oblasts.

Reports indicate that in March alone, assaults inflicted damage or complete destruction on 80% of the thermal generating capacity of DTEK, Ukraine's largest private energy company.

Halushchenko emphasized that Ukraine's energy system is currently facing the most extensive series of attacks by Russia to date. Over the past three months, an estimated 30,000 strikes have been conducted on Ukrainian territory.

Despite these challenges, the minister reassured the public that Ukraine's energy infrastructure is maintaining operational stability, as he conveyed during a national television address.

Halushchenko underscored that any potential shortfall in power capacity hinges on the ramifications of further Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy network.

Ukrainian army collapse 'cannot be ruled out - US official

Reports from U.S. officials, as cited by Bloomberg on April 11, suggest that the prospect of Ukraine's army collapsing "cannot be ruled out," marking the nation's "most fragile moment in over two years of war."

Recent months have seen Ukraine's military position weakened by a severe shortage of ammunition, further exacerbated by an ongoing deadlock in Congress regarding U.S. aid to Ukraine.

In an interview with CBS News, President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated that a significant new Russian offensive could materialize by the end of May or in June.

While there are no indications of an imminent breakthrough by Russian forces, according to an anonymous U.S. official speaking to Bloomberg, Ukraine finds itself in an extremely delicate state, as affirmed by Western officials with insight into the situation.

In contrast, Russia has swiftly replenished its heavy losses on the battlefield, surpassing initial estimates, cautioned U.S. General Christopher Cavoli on April 11. Cavoli informed Congress that Russia has reconstructed its force, now larger by 15%, exceeding its size during the invasion of Ukraine.

One significant risk identified is the potential collapse of Ukraine's defenses, which would grant Russia an opportunity for a substantial advancement, marking a critical development since the conflict's early stages.

To bolster defenses, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on April 12 that the government allocated an additional Hr 3.88 billion (almost $100 million) for fortification construction, primarily in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts bordering Russia.

This funding supplements the Hr 20 billion ($512 million) already earmarked for fortification construction in 2024, as stated by Shmyhal in January.

However, concerns persist regarding the pace of fortification progress, with reports suggesting that Ukrainian troops' efforts may not be advancing quickly enough, as highlighted by The Wall Street Journal in March.

Rebuilding Kyiv Oblast power plant possible but requres air defense

Andrii Hota, chair of Ukraine's state energy company Centerenergo's supervisory board, emphasized to Voice of America on April 11 that while international assistance could facilitate the restoration of the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant in Kyiv Oblast, such efforts would prove "futile" without bolstered air defense capabilities.

The devastating Russian attack on April 11 resulted in the complete destruction of the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant, causing the loss of Centrenergo's entire generating capacity. Situated less than 30 kilometers south of Kyiv, the plant served as a crucial power source for Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Cherkasy oblasts.

The assault triggered a significant fire within the plant's turbine house, yet all personnel on duty during the attack managed to survive.

While expressing confidence in the plant's potential restoration, Hota underscored the necessity of international collaboration, particularly in acquiring essential equipment such as turbines and transformers from European nations. However, he cautioned that without a sufficient stock of missiles for anti-aircraft defense, such efforts would likely be futile.

The escalation of Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in March coincided with Ukraine's pressing shortage of air defense systems and ammunition. Kyiv has been fervently advocating for increased support from allies, especially in securing U.S.-made Patriot systems capable of intercepting ballistic missiles.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has stressed that Ukraine requires 25 Patriots to achieve complete coverage of the nation, while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has initially targeted the acquisition of seven systems.

Liberated part of Kherson Oblast cut off from grid and has issues with water supply

Roman Mrochko, Head of Kherson City Military Administration, reported that the entirety of the liberated portion of Kherson Oblast has lost connection to the power grid due to recent Russian assaults, resulting in disruptions to the water supply system.

"The lack of electricity throughout the liberated part of Kherson Oblast as a result of enemy attacks on critical infrastructure in neighboring Mykolaiv Oblast has led to failures in our district’s water supply system," Mrochko stated.

These power outages have caused water hammers in the water supply network of Tekstylne village near Kherson, resulting in interruptions to water distribution.

Kherson Vodokanal specialists are working to restore water supply by increasing pressure in the network by the end of the day, ensuring water availability for Tekstylne residents over the weekend. Repair works on the damaged water supply section will commence next week.

Mrochko advised residents to stockpile water to meet their needs, given the circumstances.

Background information reveals that as of April 12 morning, 399 settlements have lost power due to combat activity, affecting regions like Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Kherson oblasts. Emergency power cuts have been implemented in Kharkiv Oblast, leaving approximately 210,000 households without electricity.