A serious accident at a high-voltage substation has caused widespread power outages in and around Ukraine’s southern port city of Odesa, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Saturday.
“The situation is difficult, the scale of the accident is significant, it is impossible to quickly restore power supply, in particular to critical infrastructure,” Shmyhal wrote on Telegram.
He said the substation in Odesa region had previously been damaged multiple times by Russian missile strikes, and that the energy minister was on his way to the regional capital to oversee repairs along with the national grid operator’s CEO.
Shmyhal said authorities were now working to restore power supply to critical infrastructure and apartment blocks which needed electricity to heat homes.
The temperature in Odesa, Ukraine’s main southern port city on the Black sea with a pre-war population of one million, was at two degrees Celsius (35.6°F) on Saturday and is due to dip below freezing for much of the next week.
Shmyhal said he had ordered Ukraine’s energy ministry to scramble every available high-power generator in its nationwide inventory and deliver it to Odesa within a day.
He also ordered Ukraine’s foreign ministry to appeal to Turkey to send powerships– vessels which carry power plants– to come to the city’s aid.