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Ukraine’s state-owned energy company said on Tuesday that blackouts would continue across the country, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling Ukrainians they were consuming more energy than was available and the head of a power utility electricity warning that outages would likely last until March.

“The Ukrainian electricity system has still not fully recovered from the six waves of [Russian] missile strike and cannot operate at full capacity, ”electricity group Ukrenergo wrote on Telegram on Monday evening.

In his usual nightly speech, Zelenskyy called on regional authorities and local communities to repeat calls for residents to reduce their energy consumption.

Serhiy Kovalenko, chief executive of Ukrainian electricity supplier Yasno, said “Ukrainians will most likely have to live with power cuts until at least the end of March.”

The best-case scenario, Kovalenko said, was that there were no new Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and “the energy deficit can be evenly distributed across the country.”

However, if Russia continues its missile and drone barrages on the power grid, he warned, Ukraine “will have to use not only hourly stabilization shutdowns, but also emergency shutdowns, during which it could be no light for a very long time”.

State authorities said last week that more than 10 million people, around a quarter of Ukraine’s population, were without power after weeks of Russian attacks.

The number and duration of power outages across the country, including in the capital, Kyiv, have increased in recent days as temperatures dipped below freezing and the first snow fell in several regions this week .

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