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Russian-hit power firm warns repairs could take 18 months

KYIV — The head of Ukraine’s largest private energy firm, DTEK, said on Saturday that five of its six plants had been damaged or destroyed with 80% of its generating capacity lost after two weeks of Russian attacks and that repairs could take up to 18 months.

Russian missile and drone attacks hit thermal and hydro power plants in central and western Ukraine overnight on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nightly video address on Saturday, said Russia was carrying out “vile strikes” designed to cause the “bleeding” of Ukrainian energy.

“America, Europe, our other partners, everyone knows what we need,” he said. “Everyone knows how important it is right now to help us protect ourselves from these strikes.”

DTEK, which meets about a quarter of the country’s needs, has seen its thermal power stations and other facilities repeatedly hit by Russian missiles, drones and artillery in more than two years of war.

DTEK Executive Director Dmytro Sakharuk said in remarks shown on national television that waves of attacks on March 22 and March 29 had hit thermal and hydro production “in almost all regions” and that distribution facilities were destroyed.

“To be specific, five out of six of our stations were severely damaged, some units were destroyed, some were damaged by 50% or more,” he said.

“This applies to both the western regions and the central regions, and both the equipment necessary for the production of electricity and for transmission from the station to the grid were damaged,” he said.

His company suffered losses amounting to $300 million for equipment alone, he said, while labor costs would require as much as half as much again. “We have determined that 80% of the available generating capacity is not working now,” he added.

A senior official at the Centrenergo generating company said the 10-unit Zmiivska thermal plant in northeastern Kharkiv region had been destroyed in the March 22 attacks.

DTEK spent $110 million restoring 10 blocks hit by Russian attacks last year, Mr. Sakharuk said, with two-thirds of those now destroyed again.

It will require months of repairs, he said, and in some cases as long as a year and half.

“It takes time to manufacture a turbine or a generator or a transformer, so you need be prepared for the fact that the power will return gradually,” he said. — Reuters

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