During daytime, entire districts of Ukraine’s capital are disconnected from the power grid to save energy. Traffic lights stop, choking traffic, accompanied by the constant rumble of generators installed outside cafes and shops. Ukraine, including Kyiv, is struggling to cope with a new wave of rolling blackouts after relentless Russian attacks took out half the country’s power generation capacity.

Residents and businesses of Kyiv are adapting to the absence of electricity using generators, power banks, and flashlights and even recalculating their bathroom visits. Heavy damage inflicted to the country’s power system has left millions feeling uncertain about Ukraine’s ability to meet the national electricity demand after the warm weather months are over and the weather turns cold.

“I light my apartment as our grandparents used to—with candles and small flashlights,” said Rudoy, a 40-year-old insurance agent from Israel who relocated from Tel Aviv to Kyiv in 2023 after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Ukraine is struggling to meet electricity demand as systematic attacks on its power infrastructure have intensified since March, forcing utilities to ration household supplies over the last three months. The country’s top officials repeatedly called on allied countries to provide more air defense systems to protect its power plants from Russian missiles and drones, but tangible damage had already been inflicted.

He blackouts in Kyiv are the worse since the early months of the war when Russian strikes on the country’s power grid led to major winter-time blackouts that led to authorities setting up communal heating areas and hundreds of emergency points where residents could drink tea, recharge their phones and get help.

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