Kyiv is preparing for winter without heating, water and electricity
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – The mayor of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, is warning residents to prepare for the worst this winter if Russia continues to pound the country’s energy infrastructure — and that means no electricity, water or heat in the freezing cold. turn off.
“We are doing everything to avoid this. But let’s be honest, our enemies are doing everything to make the city without heat, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all perish. And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how prepared we are for different situations,” Mayor Vitalij Klitschko told state media.
Russia has focused on attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure over the past month, causing power outages and blackouts across the country. On Sunday, Kiev was supposed to have hourly rotating blackouts in parts of the city and the surrounding area.
Power outages are also planned in the nearby regions of Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava, Ukrainian state energy operator Ukrenergo announced.
Kyiv plans to deploy around 1,000 heating spots, but notes that this may not be enough for a city of 3 million people.
As Russia steps up its attacks on the capital, Ukrainian forces push forward in the south. Residents of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson received warning messages on their phones urging them to evacuate as soon as possible, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday. Russian soldiers warned civilians that the Ukrainian army was preparing for a massive attack and told people to immediately move to the right bank of the city.
Russian forces are preparing for a Ukrainian counter-offensive to capture the southern city of Kherson, which was captured during the first days of the invasion. In September, Russia illegally annexed Kherson, as well as three other regions of Ukraine, and then declared a state of emergency in four provinces.
The administration installed by the Kremlin in Kherson has already evicted tens of thousands of civilians from the city.
Russia simultaneously “occupied and evacuated” Kherson, trying to convince the Ukrainians to leave, when in fact they were digging, Nataliya Humenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern forces, told state television.
“There are defense units that dug in quite strongly, a certain amount of equipment was left behind, fire positions were set up,” she said.
Russian forces are also digging into the hotly contested region in the east, exacerbating already dire conditions for residents and the Ukrainian army defending itself after Moscow’s illegal annexation and declaration of a state of emergency in Donetsk province.
The attacks almost completely destroyed the power plants serving the city of Bakhmut and the nearby city of Soledar, said Pavlo Kirilenko, Ukraine’s governor. The shelling killed one civilian and wounded three, he reported late Saturday.
“Destruction is daily, if not hourly,” Kirilenko told state television.
Moscow-backed separatists controlled parts of Donetsk for nearly eight years before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Protecting the self-proclaimed separatist republic was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the invasion, and his troops have been trying to seize the entire province for months.
While Russia’s “greatest brutality” was focused on the Donetsk region, “constant fighting” continued elsewhere along the front line that stretches more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address overnight.
Between Saturday and Sunday, Russia launched four missiles and 19 air strikes hit more than 35 villages in nine regions, from Chernihiv and Kharkiv in the northeast to Kherson and Nikolaev in the south, the president’s office said. Two people were killed and six were wounded in the strikes, the office announced.
In the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, the 15,000 remaining residents lived under daily shelling and without water and electricity, local media reported. The city had been under attack for months, but the bombardment intensified after Russian forces suffered setbacks during a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.
The front line is now on the outskirts of Bakhmut, where mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian military company, are said to be leading the attack.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the group who usually stayed under the radar, takes a more visible role in the war. In a statement on Sunday, he announced funding and the creation of a “militia training center” in Russia’s southwestern Belgorod and Kursk regions, saying the local population was best placed to “fight sabotage” on Russian soil. The training centers are next to a military technology center the group said is opening in St. Petersburg.
In Kharkiv, officials were working to identify bodies found in mass graves after the Russians withdrew, Dmytro Chubenko, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office, told local media.
DNA samples have been collected from 450 bodies discovered in a mass grave in the town of Izium, but the samples must be matched to relatives and so far only 80 people have participated, he said.
One piece of good news is that the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant has been reconnected to Ukraine’s electricity grid, local media reported on Sunday. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant needs electricity to maintain vital cooling systems, but has been running on emergency diesel generators since Russian shelling severed its external links.
Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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