Ukraine is demanding an immediate emergency connection to the European power grid in order to guarantee security of supply and possible emergency operation of its nuclear power plants.

The association of European network operators Entso-e wanted to discuss this on Monday evening, as the FAZ was confirmed by several parties.

The topic should also play a role at the meeting of energy ministers.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson tweeted that she would ask member states to complete the emergency connection "as soon as possible".

Andreas Mihm

Business correspondent for Austria, Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey based in Vienna.

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For historical reasons, Ukraine is connected to the power grid of Russia and Belarus.

In the event of a blackout or large voltage fluctuations, it would have to be stabilized by countries currently at war with Ukraine.

The government in Kyiv has been trying for some time to be connected to the Central European network instead.

The changeover planned for 2023 is now to be brought forward, even if the Ukrainian energy infrastructure has probably not been subjected to any systematic attacks so far.

What happens in the event of a blackout?

A spokeswoman for the network operator Ukrenergo said on request that all power plants were running, that there were outages due to the war, but that they could be compensated for.

"People have lights, our soldiers have electricity." The bigger problem for grid stability seems to be the very low demand for February in the country, where hundreds of thousands are fleeing and many companies are no longer working.

However, the Ukrainian government is worried about power plants, distribution systems and high-voltage networks being deliberately sabotaged and destroyed.

In that case, there would be the possibility of guaranteeing the stabilization of the power system from the west, says Dirk Buschle, deputy director of the energy community, which coordinates energy policy with neighboring countries of the EU.

A collapse in Ukraine's electricity system would not only affect homes, hospitals and army facilities, but could also affect the 15 nuclear power plants that generate about half of the country's electricity consumption.

Because they need electricity for the permanent cooling of reactors that are switched off.

In the event of a nationwide blackout, one would then have to rely on functioning diesel units.

In addition, a blackout in Ukraine would also affect the neighboring Republic of Moldova, which operates on the same power grid with Ukraine, Buschle says.

But Western countries would also take a technical risk with the emergency connection of Ukraine, which they want for the coming days, which is why some network operators were skeptical.

Because a blackout continues through the power grid in fractions of a second and can lead to a series of shutdowns.

The European grid is designed for the loss of a capacity of 3000 megawatts.

The Ukraine, however, comes up to 15,000 megawatts.

In the case of a speedy connection, the power flows would then have to be monitored and managed very precisely.

Over the weekend, Ukraine had finally decoupled itself from the Russian network.

This followed a long-planned "island mode" test run that began the day before the Russian attack.

The fact that the supply was maintained and the power grid remained stable is seen in Ukraine as proof that the risks that the West would take on in the event of an emergency connection are manageable.