Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said a “major accident” had caused widespread power outages in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, whose infrastructure was damaged by Russian airstrikes.
“A technical accident occurred today at a high-voltage substation in Odessa, which was damaged several times in previous Russian attacks,” Shmyhal said in a Facebook post.
Nearly 500,000 people were cut off from electricity after a “serious accident,” according to a local official. “All services and facilities are involved,” Maxim Marchenko, head of the Odessa Regional Military Administration, said on his official Telegram channel.
“The damage is complex and very severe, so it is too early to make any qualitative predictions about the completion of repairs,” Marchenko said, adding that heating, sewage and water supplies were functioning normally.
According to Marchenko, the generators will be delivered to the Odessa region within 24 hours. The government will also transport a gas turbine power plant donated by the United States to the city.
In view of this situation, the Ukrainian government held an emergency meeting on Saturday and decided to set up a 24-hour government headquarters to focus on ensuring the country’s energy supply.
Shmyhal stressed that the government’s “main task” now is to “rehabilitate Odessa’s critical infrastructure and multi-apartment buildings,” adding that heating in these buildings depends on electricity supply.
Both Ukraine’s energy minister and the head of utility Ukrenergo have traveled to the city to help restore energy infrastructure, Shmyhal added.
Sites providing emergency shelters will remain open 24 hours a day to help those affected in Odessa, the prime minister said.
remember: This is not the first time Odessa has suffered an emergency power outage. Just as recently as January. On the 26th, the city imposed an emergency shutdown after the Russian army continued its pattern of crackdowns on energy installations.
CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Denis Lapin contributed to this report