The capital, Kyiv, and other cities are affected again. Officials say ongoing power outages are possible
More than a thousand towns and villages in Ukraine remain without electricity after massive Russian attacks in recent days, according to Ukrainian officials.
Emergency services spokesman Oleksandr Khorunzhyi said more than 70 people had been killed in rocket and drone attacks since Oct. 7.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 30% of the country’s power plants were destroyed in the last eight days.
Parts of the capital Kyiv are without electricity and water after fresh attacks on Tuesday.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said the three victims of the latest Russian onslaught were “critical infrastructure” employees, adding that two facilities in the capital were targeted.
Power and water were cut in Zhytomyr, west of the capital, and a power facility was affected in the southeastern city of Dnipro.
At Tuesday’s briefing in Kyiv, Khorunzhyi said: “In the period from October 7 to 18, as a result of the shelling of energy facilities, about 4,000 settlements in 11 regions [of Ukraine] were isolated.
“Currently, according to the Ministry of Energy, 1,162 settlements remain without electricity,” said the spokesman for the emergency services.
A harsh winter is coming
After suffering a series of painful defeats on the battlefield, Russia has stepped up attacks in recent weeks on electrical infrastructure in cities far from the front lines.
Ukrainian emergency officials have scrambled to repair the damage, but the attacks, ahead of winter, have raised concerns about how the system will respond.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president’s office, said that “everyone should be prepared, first, to save electricity, and second, continued blackouts are also possible if the attacks continue.”
“The entire population needs to prepare for a harsh winter.”
Ukrainians are urged not to use electrical appliances between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. local time every day.
The latest attacks came 24 hours after “kamikaze” drones, believed to have been supplied by Iran, killed at least nine people in Kyiv and Sumy in the northeast.
It was initially unclear to what extent drones were involved on Tuesday.
Ukraine said Russian bombers fired missiles and an S-300 anti-aircraft missile hit a residential building in the southern city of Mykolaiv overnight, killing one person.
The city’s flower market was also destroyed.
Other events on Tuesday:
- In Zhytomyr, the mayor said there was no electricity or water in the city and hospitals were working to get backup power.
- 11 villages in the Zhytomyr region were also without power, officials said.
- Power and water supplies were disrupted in the central city of Dnipro, where a large power facility was destroyed, and authorities said street lights would be switched off.
- Shelling was reported in the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
- Infrastructure in the southern city of Zaporizhia was affected, although local authorities reported no injuries.
In some cities, Ukrainians buy power generators and gas burners. Some towns are already facing rolling blackouts.
In a separate development, Ukraine’s state nuclear power company accused Moscow of kidnapping two top officials at its Zaporizhia nuclear plant.
The plant, which is the largest in Europe, is occupied by Russian forces, but its Ukrainian staff continue to work there in difficult conditions.
“We expected Russia to intensify attacks on energy infrastructure, civil infrastructure and increase urban warfare by the fall, and here we are with exactly that scenario,” Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko told the BBC.
In its latest assessment, UK defense intelligence said Russia is likely to be increasingly willing to attack civilian infrastructure, in addition to military targets, following its battlefield setbacks.
Russia’s missile and drone attacks have prompted new calls from the Ukrainian government for the delivery of air defense missiles.
Earlier, the United States said it agreed with allies France and Britain that Iran’s supply of drones violates a UN Security Council resolution, linked to a nuclear deal, that prohibits the transfer of certain military technology.
Ukraine has identified the drones used in the deadly attacks on Kyiv and Sumy as Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They are known as Geran-2 in Russia.
Vedant Patel of the US State Department said Washington would not hesitate to apply sanctions. The European Union said it is gathering evidence and is ready to act.
Both Russia and Iran have denied that Iranian drones have been deployed.
However, Western officials in Ukraine said there is no doubt that the drones came from Iran and that it is obvious that Russia is seeking to attack the power grid.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that he would ask President Zelensky to sever diplomatic relations with Tehran.
He also announced that an official note would be sent to Israel requesting immediate air defense supplies.
So far, Israeli officials have stopped short of sending weapons to Kyiv.
The former president of Russia and current vice president of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, warned that if they did, relations with Moscow would be destroyed.
Meanwhile, in one of the largest prisoner swaps since Russia’s war began in February, 218 detainees were exchanged, including 108 Ukrainian women.
And across the Sea of Azov, a Russian warplane crashed into the courtyard of a block of flats in the southern Russian city of Yeysk.
At least 13 people were killed, including three children, while dozens of residents were rescued from the nine-storey block.
The pilots on board the Su-34 plane jumped by parachute.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.