Snow fell in Kyiv and temperatures hovered around freezing on Sunday as millions of people in and around the Ukrainian capital struggled with disruptions to electricity supply and central heating caused by waves of Russian air strikes.
The cold weather is pushing up the energy needs of consumers even as repair workers race to fix damaged power plants, grid operator Ukrenergo said.
Electricity producers are unable to resume full power supply after Russia launched missile attacks on Wednesday and have no choice but to conserve energy by imposing blackouts, it said.
The consumption restriction regime is still in place due to a capacity deficit, which currently stands at around 20%, according to Ukrenergo on Telegram.
Moscow has targeted vital infrastructure in recent weeks through a series of air strikes that have sparked widespread power outages and killed civilians. There were more than a dozen strikes last Wednesday that caused the worst damage in the nine-month conflict, leaving millions of people with no light, water or heat even as temperatures fell below freezing point.
David Arakhamiya, head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's party, predicted Russia would carry out new infrastructure attacks this coming week and said the week could be really difficult. On Saturday evening, Zelenskyy said there were restrictions on the use of electricity in 14 out of Ukraine's 27 regions. He said the restrictions affect more than 100,000 customers in each of the regions. The capital of Kyiv and the surrounding region were affected.
If consumption increases in the evening, the number of outages may increase, according to Zelenskyy's nightly video address, reiterating an appeal to citizens to save power.
This shows how important it is to save power and consume it rationally. Weather forecasters predicted snowfall in Kyiv, a city that had 2.8 million residents before the war, until midweek, while temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing.
Sergey Kovalenko, chief operating officer of YASNO, said on Saturday evening that the situation in the city has improved but still remains quite difficult. He stated that residents should have at least four hours of power per day.
If you haven't had at least four hours of electricity in the past day, write to DTEK Kyiv Electric Networks, colleagues will help you figure out what the problem is, Kovalenko wrote on his Facebook page.
YASNO is the retail branch of DTEK, Ukraine's largest private energy provider.
Ukrenergo said that blackouts will continue and that there will be limited use of power.
In a statement on Saturday, Telegram messaging app, it said that every Ukrainian whose home has had electricity restored can help restore it to others faster, simply by consuming it sparingly.
Russia has said since it launched the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 that it does not target the civilian population, while the Kremlin has said on Thursday that Kyiv could end the suffering of its population by meeting Russia's demands to resolve the conflict.
On Saturday, Ukraine accused the Kremlin of reviving the genocidal tactics of Josef Stalin as Kyiv commemorated a Soviet-era famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the winter of 1932 -- 33.
Zelenskyy wrote on Telegram that they wanted to destroy us with hunger.