Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the Kremlin of “energy terrorism” after 4.5 million people across Ukraine faced power cuts on Friday following Russian attacks on the country’s energy network.
More and more power cuts continue across Kyiv, according to the city’s mayor Vitalii Klitschko. “It is one and a half times more than the recent days,” he said.
The power cuts were followed by warnings about a cold winter ahead for those staying in the country, after weeks of Russian airstrikes and rocket attacks on Ukraine’s power grid.
A third of Ukraine’s power stations destroyed
After suffering a series of defeats on the battlefield, Russia has stepped up attacks in recent weeks on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure in cities away from the front lines.
During October, a third of the country’s power stations were destroyed, according to Zelensky.
Consequently, the Ukrainian government has been forced to urge the population to try and use energy sparingly. “About 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption,” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday.
“The very fact that Russia has resorted to terror against the energy sector indicates 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 stated.
Russia’s constant aerial attacks have dragged cities in central and western Ukraine back to the forefront of the war. As a result, residents in the capital are struggling to keep businesses running and facing constant power cuts, not to mention struggling with water supplies and other resources.
Several Ukrainian regions to face power cuts
Ukraine’s national power supply company, Ukrenergo, said earlier this week that several regions will face extended power cuts. That is because they are struggling to repair the damage caused by recent Russian air strikes.
German Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday that the G7 group of wealthy nations will coordinate their support for Ukraine as a difficult and unpredictable winter approaches.
”We will not allow the brutality of the war to lead to the death of lots of elderly people, children, teenagers and families to die from hunger or cold over the upcoming winter months due to the brutal tactics of the Russian president,” Baerbock announced.
Russian forces triple their attacks
The Ukrainian military states that Russian forces have stepped up their air attacks near the eastern frontlines, using multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
The military’s General Staff said eighty were recorded on Wednesday. On Thursday, Russia “carried out four missile and 28 air strikes, and fired more than 45 times from MLRS” as well.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, stated that during a conversation on Thursday with General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, he noted that Russia forces had “tripled the intensity of hostilities on certain areas of the front – up to eighty attacks daily.”
Zaporizhzhia in ”full black out mode”
What is more, according to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces and allies began a census in the city of Enerhodar. The city is next to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Dmytro Orlov, displaced mayor of Enerhodar, said “they are doing it in their typical manner, by force since one cannot decline participation in the ‘census’.”
“For the second day now, the ruscists along with collaborators with the so-called police are doing the door-to-door tours and intercepting people in the courtyards. This was reported by local residents who had to participate in the ‘census’,” Orlov stated.
“In many cases the census ends up with a rummage and browsing through the apps of mobile phones. Please be aware!” Orlov said.
Energoatom, the state company which runs the Zaporizhzhia power plant, said on Thursday that further Russian bombs some 50 km from the plant had disabled two high voltage transmission lines. As a result, the power plant had gone to “full black-out mode.”
The plant is run by Ukrainian technicians, even though it is now under the control of the Russian state operator Rusatom.
Russian troops leaving Kherson
Zelensky’s accusation of ”energy terrorism” comes as reports emerge stating that Russian troops are leaving the occupied city of Kherson. This signals a major defeat for Russia.
Russian official Kirill Stremousov told Russian media that Moscow was “likely” to pull its troops from the area. Furthermore, according to an unnamed Western official, most Russian commanders have already withdrawn.
The officials also claim that Russian troops are building up their defensive positions on the other side of the Dnipro River as part of a wider Russian move to establish better defensive lines throughout southern and eastern Ukraine before winter.
Banks have reportedly been emptied and museums have been plundered. Occupying authorities have also been evacuating thousands of civilians from the area.
Russia’s capture of Kherson in March was seen as one of Moscow’s most significant achievements in the war.
Yet Ukrainian counter-offensives forced Russia to reassess its battlefield objectives.
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