Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “energy terrorism” after Moscow’s repeated attacks on key infrastructure cut power to hundreds of thousands of people.
Some 450,000 households in Kyiv were left without electricity on Friday as power cuts across the country continue, according to the city’s mayor, Vitalii Klitschko. “It’s one and a half times more than in the last few days,” Klitschko said on Telegram.
It follows dire warnings of a cold and difficult winter ahead for those remaining in the country, after weeks of Russian airstrikes and rocket attacks on Ukraine’s power grid.
This week alone, attacks on critical infrastructure in the Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions have left millions without electricity and water on an intermittent basis. As of Thursday night, about 4.5 million consumers were temporarily disconnected from power supplies during emergency and stabilization times, according to Zelensky.
“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 said during his evening speech.
Recurring air strikes from Russia have dragged cities in central and western Ukraine back to the forefront of the war, leaving residents of the capital struggling to keep businesses afloat, along with water and other resources.
Ukraine’s national power supply company Ukrenergo said earlier this week that several regions will face prolonged power outages as they try to repair damage caused by recent attacks.
The G7 group of rich nations will coordinate its support for Ukraine as winter approaches in the conflict-ravaged country, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers. of the group in the German city of Muenster.
“We will not allow the brutality of war to lead to the death of many elderly people, children, teenagers and families dying of hunger or cold in the coming winter months due to the brutal tactics of the Russian president,” Baerbock said. reporters.
The Ukrainian military says Russian forces have stepped up airstrikes near the eastern front lines using various rocket launch systems (MLRS), especially in the Donetsk region.
The military’s General Staff said 80 such attacks were recorded on Wednesday, while on Thursday “the enemy carried out four missiles and 28 air strikes and fired more than 45 times from the MLRS”.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander General of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said that during a conversation on Thursday with General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, he noted that “the enemy has tripled the intensity of hostilities in certain areas of the front.” – up to 80 attacks daily.”
Russian forces and “collaborators” have also started a census in the town of Enerhodar, which is adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to Ukrainian officials.
Dmytro Orlov, the displaced mayor of Enerhodar, said that “they are doing it in the typical way, by force, as you cannot refuse to participate in the ‘census’”.
“For the second day, the ruscists, together with the collaborators of the so-called police, are making door-to-door walks and intercepting people in the courtyards. This was reported by local residents who had to participate in the ‘census,’” Orlov said.
“In many cases the census ends up with a search and browsing through cell phone apps. Please be aware!” he said. The pre-war population of the city was around 50,000. It has been under Russian occupation since early March.
The state-owned company that runs the nuclear plant, Energoatom, said on Thursday that further Russian bombing around 50 kilometers from the plant had disabled two high-voltage transmission lines and that the plant had entered “full blackout mode. All 20 diesel generators started operating.” The plant is managed by Ukrainian technicians but is under the control of Russian state operator Rusatom.
Further south, social media videos and local Telegram channels indicated explosions near an airfield north of the city of Kherson, in an area occupied by Russian forces.
The video showed a large cloud of black smoke rising from the Chornobaivka area.
Ukrainian troops and Russian-appointed officials in the area have not officially commented on the footage.
On the east bank of the Dnipro River further north, unofficial Telegram channels say Russian forces are forcing local people out of the village of Velyka Lepetykha. Russian-backed authorities have already announced the evacuation of civilians from a 15-kilometer zone along the river as they build new defenses in the area.
Those same channels say a mandatory evacuation is also underway in the village of Hornostayivka further downstream, while further explosions were heard in the town of Nova Kakhovka, also on the east bank and near a dam and hydroelectric plant on the river. Humanitarian bodies have said that such a strategy could constitute human rights violations.
*Collaborated with Yulia Kesaieva and Jennifer Hauser
Source: CNN Brasil
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