A Ukrainian minister has urged refugees who fled the country after the Russian invasion to stay away this winter.

Iryna Verashchuk, the deputy prime minister, said that the power outages caused by Moscow’s bombing of power plants would be a heavy burden on the country.

In an interview on national television on Tuesday, she told Ukrainians seeking asylum in foreign countries to wait until spring before returning.

“I wanted to ask people not to come back, they have to survive the winter,” she said.

Russia has been bombing since October 10 of Ukraine energy infrastructure with waves of missile and drone strikes.

Kyiv claims that up to 40% of the power system is damaged.

Last week, an official in Kyiv said that residents should prepare for a blackout that will last several days or even weeks.

The strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure come amid a sharp rise in food and energy prices across Europe, where most of the millions of people who have fled Ukraine are seeking asylum.

This creates an additional challenge for refugees, many of whom find it difficult to find well-paid work in their host countries.

Ms. Verashchuk said that the network “can’t stand” the return of refugees from abroad and that the situation will “only get worse.”

“To return now is to risk yourself and your children, your vulnerable relatives,” she said.

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The latest figures from the UN Refugee Agency show that more than 7.7 million million refugees from Ukraine spread across Europe.

Poland, which borders Ukraine to the west, hosts the most refugees: 1.4 million.

In Britain, 138,000 Ukrainian refugees are registered for temporary protection.