Ukraine plans record power imports after infrastructure damage

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine plans record electricity imports from five European countries on Monday after reporting significant energy infrastructure damage from Russian strikes, the energy ministry said.

Imports are expected to rise to 19,484 megawatt hours (Mwh), beating the record of 18,649 Mwh at the end of March after the first wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy sector.

"The power system has been experiencing a significant electricity shortage for most of the day," national power grid operator Ukrenergo said on the Telegram messaging app.

"The reason for this is large-scale damage to Ukrainian power plants, which means they cannot produce as much electricity as before the attack."

The ministry said that, with the country facing a significant deficit in the system, it plans to import power from Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Moldova on Monday.

The grid operator said that emergency assistance from the European Union had already been provided from midnight to this morning, adding that power curbs for industrial consumers are expected this evening.

"Restricting consumption is a necessary measure to maintain the stability of the power system after the fifth targeted missile attack on power plants this year," the operator said.

Last week's combined attack on Ukrainian energy infrastructure caused serious damage at three thermal power plants, piling more pressure on the country's power grid.

Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's energy sector have intensified since March, dealing significant damage and causing blackouts in many regions.

The attacks have resulted in more than $1 billion of damage to the sector, said Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko.

Thermal and hydropower facilities as well as power transmission systems bore the brunt of the attacks, resulting in the loss of about 80% of Ukraine's thermal power generation capacity and increasing reliance on its three nuclear power plants, which produce about 50% of the country's electricity.

(Reporting by Anastasiia Malenko and Pavel Polityuk,Editing by Toby Chopra and David Goodman)