Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “violent terrorism” after Moscow’s repeated attacks on key infrastructure knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people.
About 450,000 households around Kiev were without power on Friday as blackouts continued across the country, the city’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said. “One and a half times more than the last few days,” Klitschko said on Telegram.
After weeks of Russian airstrikes and rocket attacks, dire warnings have been issued for the country ahead of a cold and harsh winter.
This week alone, attacks on critical infrastructure in the Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Zaporizhia regions have left millions without electricity and water. As of Thursday night, about 4.5 million consumers had been temporarily cut off from power through emergency and stabilization programs, Zelensky said.
“The fact that Russia has started terrorizing the energy sector shows the weakness of the enemy. They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, and therefore they are trying to break our people in this way,” Zelensky said in his evening speech.
Repeated Russian airstrikes have dragged cities in central and western Ukraine to the front lines of the war, with residents in the capital struggling to maintain business activities with water and other resources.
Ukraine’s national power supply company, Ukrainergo, announced earlier this week that several regions will face extended power outages as they try to repair damage caused by recent attacks.
The G7 group of developed countries will coordinate their support for Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annale Baerbock said before the start of the group’s foreign ministers’ meeting in the western German city of Münster.
“We will not allow the brutality of war to cause so many elderly, children, teenagers and families to die of hunger or cold in the coming winter months,” Baerbock said. Journalists.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russian forces have intensified airstrikes near the eastern front, particularly in the Donetsk region, using multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
According to the General Staff of the Army, 80 such attacks were registered on Wednesday, while on Thursday, “the enemy launched four missiles and 28 airstrikes and fired more than 45 times from the MLRS.”
General Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhnyi, in a meeting with General Christopher Cavoli, the NATO High Command for Europe, said on Thursday: “The enemy has tripled the volume of fighting in certain areas of the front – up to 80 daily attacks.”
Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces and “allies” had begun a countdown in the city of Inerhodar, which is located near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
Dimitro Orlov, the displaced mayor of Enerhodar, said: “They are doing it in a normal way by force because they cannot refuse to participate in the census.”
“For the second day, the Russians, in collaboration with the so-called police, are going from house to house and abducting people in the compound. This was reported by local residents who had to take part in the ‘counting,'” Orlov said.
“In many cases, the counting is done by calling and browsing through mobile applications. Please be careful!” he said. The pre-war population of the city was about 50,000. It was under Russian occupation from the beginning of March.
Energoatom, which runs the nuclear plant, said additional Russian strikes 50km from the plant disabled two high-voltage transmission lines and the power plant went into “total black mode”. All 20 diesel generators are operational. The plant is run by Ukrainian technicians but controlled by Russian state operator Rusatom.
In the south, social media video and local Telegram channels indicated explosions in an area held by Russian forces near an airport north of the city of Kherson.
The video shows a large plume of black smoke rising from the Chornobyivka area.
Ukrainian soldiers in the area and Russian-appointed officials have not publicly commented on the footage.
In the north, on the east bank of the Dnipro River, unofficial telegram channels say Russian forces are telling locals to evacuate the village of Velika Lepetika. Russian-backed authorities have announced that they will evacuate civilians 15 kilometers along the river as they build new defenses in the area.
According to the same channels, a mandatory evacuation is underway in the village of Hornostyvka downstream, in the town of Nova Kakovka, as well as on the east bank and near the dam and hydroelectric power plant on the river.
He said that such a strategy of human bodies could indicate a violation of human rights.