KYIV, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Ukrainian officials said on Friday the country's energy system was stabilizing after the latest round of Russian air strikes but warned that a power deficit was likely to last throughout the winter.
Eight waves of attacks, most recently on Monday, have targeted Ukrainian energy infrastructure since mid-October, plunging swathes of the country into darkness as utilities workers have raced to complete repairs.
"We will say it openly - that this winter we will be constantly living amid restrictions on electricity consumption," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a government meeting.
He added that he was ordering his energy minister to ensure that critical infrastructure, medical facilities and the country's defence industry were prioritised for receiving electricity.
Shmyhal's comments came hours after Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, head of Ukrainian state grid operator Ukrenergo, told reporters that at the current rate of power generation "a deficit will exist at least during the autumn-winter period".
But he also credited Ukrainian air defences with softening the blow from the latest wave of Russian strikes and said the energy system was returning to "a stable regime of functioning".
Kudrytskyi said more than 1,000 missiles and drones had hit the energy infrastructure since October. (Reporting by Dan Peleschuk, Editing by Angus MacSwan)