Moldova says 'massive' blackouts result of Russian strikes on Ukraine

Ukrainian firefighters work at the site of an apartment block destroyed by Russian shelling in Vyshhorod, near Kyiv. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CHISINAU - Moldova said Wednesday that it was suffering from widespread blackouts that were caused by a fresh barrage of Russian strikes on energy infrastructure in neighbouring Ukraine.

“As a result of Russia’s bombardment on the Ukrainian energy system, within the last hour, we have massive electricity blackouts in the whole country,” Moldovan deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu wrote on Facebook.

He added that the country’s national energy provider Moldelectrica was working to restore supplies.

Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said the blackouts had hit the capital and even the foreign ministry building.

“I instructed that Russia’s ambassador be summoned for explanations,” he added in an English-language message on Twitter.

Ex-Soviet Moldova, which is wedged between Ukraine and EU-member Romania, also experienced widespread blackouts earlier this month following another barrage of Russian missiles.

Ukraine previously provided for 30 per cent of Moldovan electricity demand, with the remaining 70 per cent coming from a thermal power station in Transnistria, a small breakaway region.

Russian-backed separatists there have also cut deliveries to the rest of the country, but Romania has stepped in to sell electricity to Moldova at reduced prices.

“Russia left Moldova in the dark,” Moldova’s EU-friendly president, Ms Maia Sandu, said on Wednesday after the latest round of Russian attacks.

“We can’t trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that deliberately kills people,” Ms Sandu said on Facebook, vowing to restore energy.

Russian energy giant Gazprom this week accused Ukraine of diverting natural gas supplies transiting to Moldova and threatened to cut supplies.

Moldova dismissed the Gazprom allegations, saying “all the gas delivered to Moldova ends up in our country.”

Ms Sandu has warned that her country of 2.6 million people risks running out of gas and electricity this winter. AFP

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