A recent upsurge in Russian strikes increasingly aimed at the country’s power system has put a heavy strain on Ukraine’s power grids, with several power plants being destroyed or disabled. Due to the resulting power deficits, Ukraine began implementing rolling shutdowns on 15 May.

As reported by the Kyiv newspaper The Kyiv Independent on 21 May, and in news outlets around the world, Ukraine ordered the rolling blackouts for the first time this year. They started to take effect on 15 May when Ukraine’s state-owned national energy company, Ukrenergo, introduced schedules of hourly power outages throughout Ukraine for domestic and industrial consumers.

Then on 19 May hourly energy shutdowns were ordered for industrial and household consumers throughout the country, to take effect from 6:00 pm local time on May 20 until midnight. But the restrictions were not expected to affect critical infrastructure facilities, said Ukrenergo.

However these restrictions may last until August, said Yurii Boiko, an advisor to prime minister Denys Shmyhal.”If we talk about the [power supply] restrictions that started a day ago, we will have to live in these conditions, according to my estimates, until August,” Boiko said during a press conference on 16 May.

Ukraine previously experienced blackouts on this scale during the autumn and winter of 2022 and 2023, when a huge Russian missile campaign destroyed 50% of the country’s power grid.