Ukrainians face emergency blackouts after Russian missile attacks

Ukraine has warned of more emergency power outages, particularly in the Kiev region, after a spate of Russian missile strikes damaged just-repaired energy infrastructure.

The barrage of missiles, which plunged parts of Ukraine back into icy darkness with temperatures below 0C (32F), was the latest in weeks of attacks that hit critical infrastructure.

At least four people were killed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late Monday, adding that most of the estimated 70 missiles had been shot down.

“In many regions there will have to be emergency power outages,” Zelenskyy said. “We will do everything we can to restore stability.”

The national electricity supplier Ukrenergo said on Telegram that there would be renewed power cuts in all regions of Ukraine “due to the consequences of shelling”.

Residents charge their devices, use the internet connection and warm up at a “Point of Invincibility” in Kherson, Ukraine. The mobile centers are designed to help people who are without heating or electricity during the winter [Anatolii Stepanov/AFP]

About half of the Kiev region, which does not include the capital and had a population of some 1.8 million before the war, will be without electricity in the coming days, the region’s governor said.

The attack caused damage to power plants in the Kiev and Vinnytsia regions of central Ukraine, Odessa in the south and Sumy in the north, officials said.

Nearly half of Ukraine’s energy system has already been damaged after months of attacks on electricity infrastructure, leaving people out in the cold and in the dark for hours.

The country had only just returned to planned blackouts on Monday rather than the emergency blackout it has suffered since Nov. 23, the most intense day of Russian attacks on energy infrastructure.

Ukraine says such attacks target civilians and constitute war crimes; Moscow denies attacking civilians.

The United States said it would convene a virtual meeting with oil and gas executives on Thursday to discuss how it can support Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, according to a letter accessed by Reuters news agency.

In The Pitch Darkness Of A Power Outage In Odessa, A Store Still Lit Up Catches The Eye. Some People Can Be Seen In The Store Buying Goods.
Customers visit a store during a power outage in the southern city of Odessa. Nearly half of the country’s energy grid has been destroyed by Russian missile strikes [Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia would fail in its “current effort to basically get the Ukrainian people to raise their hands”.

“The point is this, unless and until Russia shows it is interested in meaningful diplomacy, it has nowhere to go. If and when it does, we will be the first to be willing to help,” he said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, DC.

Russian bases hit

Moscow on Monday confirmed a “massive attack on Ukrainian military command systems and related defence, communications, energy and military facilities” as it blamed Ukraine for drone strikes on two airbases in Russia, which killed three soldiers and two aircraft were damaged.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attacks. If it were behind them, they would be the furthest incursions into Russian territory since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, said it was “likely” that Ukrainian troops were behind the attacks, noting that anger at Moscow’s inability to prevent them outweighed praise for the latest attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure by influential military personnel. bloggers.

Russia’s defense ministry said the attacks were “terrorist acts” designed to disable long-range aircraft and that the low-flying drones had been shot down. The deaths were reported at the Ryazan base, 185 km southeast of Moscow.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers on the front lines of the war in eastern Ukraine attempted to cut off roads to the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region from the west and northwest, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on YouTube.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told Ukrainian television late Monday that only about 12,000 people remained in Bakhmut, compared to a population of about 80,000 before the war. He also said the city had no electricity or gas.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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