(Berlin) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Russian bombing of his country’s energy infrastructure had led to Ukraine’s electricity production being halved since the winter.

Mr. Zelensky, traveling to Berlin, said he saw the delivery of more air defense systems to Ukraine as “the answer” to stopping Russia and ending the invasion.

“Russian missile and drone strikes have already destroyed 9 gigawatts of capacity. Last winter’s peak electricity consumption was 18 gigawatts. So half of it doesn’t exist today,” Mr. Zelensky reported.

According to him, 80% of thermal production and a third of hydroelectric production were destroyed by Russian strikes, which in recent months targeted numerous Ukrainian power plants, after a bombing campaign the previous year which had already led to massive cuts.

Mr Zelensky also accused Russia of targeting gas storage facilities and systems connecting the Ukrainian electricity grid to that of the EU.

“It is the terror inspired by missiles and bombs that helps Russian troops advance on the ground,” Zelensky said.

“As long as we do not deprive Russia of the ability to terrorize Ukraine (Vladimir) Putin will have no real interest in seeking a just peace,” he added, assuring that “air defense is the answer.”

As a result of the Russian strikes, the national operator Ukrenergo announced on Tuesday to extend power rationing across the country.

“Today the restrictions were extended to the whole of Ukraine from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.” (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time), said Ukrenergo, who organizes the rotation of power cuts.

The day before, the time slot was two hours shorter, and the company had hoped the restrictions could be limited to Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.  

But “consumption continues to increase” while “Ukrainian power plants are unable to produce as much electricity as before the attacks due to the considerable damage they have suffered,” notes Ukrenergo.

According to the same source, imports from European countries are not sufficient to compensate for the system deficit.

Energy security and restoration of Ukraine’s power grid are one of 10 points in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace plan, which will be on the agenda at a summit in Switzerland on June 15-16, to which Russia has not been invited.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov told journalists on Tuesday that Ukrainian electrical installations were legitimate “military” targets.