Defense of the grid, another front for Ukraine

“Am I really like a hero? », Yuri sighed (he requested anonymity), wondering if the compliments he’d received over the months were a bit exaggerated. He was buxom, heavy on his feet, with his hat pressed down on his head, and never risked his life on the front line. He never thought about being a war hero… until the war caught up with him on October 10, 2022, when the Russians began attacking the Ukrainian power grid.

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The 50-year-old engineer was illustrated on another front opened up in the fall, the defense of civilian infrastructure.he manages a “Substation”or “source post”, in central Ukraine (the exact location cannot be specified for security reasons), it converts high-voltage electricity from power stations to low-voltage electricity for distribution to homes and businesses. The huge power hub, which covers about 10 hectares and supplies power to nearly 600,000 homes, has been hit twice. The place is under high security and is now protected by armed men. Yuri and his team defend the country by securing the space station.

“Watch out for shrapnel”, in the month of January, engineers warned as they walked under the spidery cables that some 330,000 volts passed with a slight hum. His job overnight became one of the most exposed of the war. “The main change is that every morning we go to work thinking a missile might be falling on us”he admitted.

open air

As the master of the source station, he has never received so much praise and attracted so much curiosity in his life. His neighbors took the opportunity to ask him if there would be a power outage during the day and for how long, a bit like he became the “Mr. Weather” of electricity.Yuri said he needed this comfort because “Rebuilding something that could be destroyed in days or weeks is sometimes frustrating”.

January 20, 2023. Yuri has been working day and night at a power plant in central Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

With their guts open, these spring-fed power plants are more vulnerable to sabotage than coal-fired power plants, which stand behind thick walls like fortresses. They’ve all been hit by missiles or kamikaze drones at least once.

“The Russians don’t have enough weapons to wipe out millions of Ukrainians, so they are attacking the power grid which is a critical infrastructure, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi says, The young president of Ukrenergo, a public company that manages the country’s electricity transmission network. Without electricity, there would be no water, no heat, no modern civilization. »

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