It comes as eastern Europe braces for a potential wave of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country as Russia continues to barrage critical infrastructure, including heating plants, with freezing winter temperatures approaching.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said an estimated 4 million people and 14 regions were already without power, while Ukraine’s electrical grid operator Ukrenergo said scheduled hourly power outages would affect the whole of the country on Wednesday.
Energy infrasturcture has been the latest Ukrainian casualty of Vladimir Putin’s war as Russia bombards power plant with missile and drone strikes in the run up to winter, when mean temperatures typically drop to several degrees below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), with lows of minus 20C.
Some 6.9 million people are believed displaced internally within Ukraine and east European countries such as Slovakia and Hungary are preparing for an influx in coming months.
“An increase in numbers is being felt, and is expected. It is currently up 15 per cent,” said Roman Dohovic, an aid coordinator for the eastern Slovak city of Kosice.