Power outages in Moldova after Russian strikes in Ukraine

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) – Moldova experienced temporary major power outages across the country on Tuesday following Russian military strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure A key power line that supplies the small nation shut down, an official said.

“Following Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine’s power system in the last hour, one of the power lines that ensures electricity transmission for our country was cut,” Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu said in a statement. “This has resulted in massive power outages across the country.”

Spinu noted that the downed power lines “were not damaged but were automatically disconnected as a safety measure” and later confirmed just after 18:30 local time (1630 GMT) that power had been restored to most areas.

“Russian aggression against Ukraine directly affects our country,” Spinu wrote on Facebook. “The risks of power outages remain high. Any Russian bombing of Ukrainian power plants could lead to a repeat of today’s situation.”

The power outages in Moldova, which is neither a member of the European Union nor NATO, happened at 16:37 local time (1437 GMT) and affected “a large number of consumers”, according to Moldovan energy supplier Premier Energy Distribution. Local media reported that more than half a dozen cities were affected.

Pro-Western Moldovan President Maia Sandu condemned Russian attacks in Ukraine that ultimately left “dozens of places” in her country without light.

“They hit the neighboring country’s civil and energy infrastructure, endangering the lives and safety of tens of thousands of people,” Sandu wrote on Facebook.

“Russian attacks on Ukraine also resulted in the automatic cutoff of a line that supplies electricity to our country, and dozens of places remained without lights,” she said, adding that “special services are working to resolve the situation.”

Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook that the large-scale attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure could affect the energy systems of neighboring countries. He noted that Tuesday’s barrage on Ukraine’s power plants was “the most massive” since the war began.

The blackouts hit Moldova, a former Soviet republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine as it grapples with a severe winter energy crisis, soaring inflation and a spate of anti-government protests. Russia, on which it fully depends for natural gas, recently halved its supplies to Moldova.

Last week the EU pledged 250 million euros (almost $260 million) to help Moldova – which was granted EU candidate status along with Ukraine in June – tackle the energy crisis and support its most vulnerable population .

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Stephen McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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