Ukraine: Zelensky accuses Russia of energy ‘terrorism’ as Russian strikes knock out electricity for millions
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “energy terrorism” after Moscow’s repeated attacks on key infrastructure knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people.
About 450,000 households across Kyiv were left without power on Friday as blackouts continued across the country, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said. “It’s one and a half times more than the past few days,” Klitschko said on Telegram.
Following are the dire warnings of Fr cold and hard winter ahead for those who remain in the country, following weeks of Russian airstrikes and rocket attacks on Ukraine’s electricity grid.
This week alone, attacks on critical infrastructure in the Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Zaporozhye regions have left millions without power and water at times. As of Thursday evening, about 4.5 million consumers were temporarily disconnected from the power supply according to emergency and stabilization plans, according to Zelenski.
“The very fact that Russia resorted to terror against the energy sector indicates the weakness of the enemy. They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, and that is why they are trying to break our people in this way,” Zelensky said during his nightly address.
Repeated Russian airstrikes have dragged cities in central and western Ukraine back to the forefront of the war, leaving residents of the capital scrambling to keep businesses afloat, along with water and other resources.
Ukraine’s national electricity utility Ukrenergo said earlier this week that several regions would face extended power outages as they try to repair damage caused by recent strikes.
The G7 group of wealthy nations will coordinate their support for Ukraine as winter approaches the conflict-torn country, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Thursday, ahead of a meeting of the group’s foreign ministers in the western German city of Muenster.
“We will not allow the brutality of war to cause large numbers of elderly people, children, teenagers and families to die of hunger or cold during the coming winter months because of the Russian president’s brutal tactics,” Baerbock told reporters.
The Ukrainian military says Russian forces have meanwhile stepped up airstrikes near the eastern front lines, using multiple rocket systems (MLRS), particularly in the Donetsk region.
The General Staff of the Army announced that 80 such attacks were recorded on Wednesday, while on Thursday “the enemy carried out four rocket and 28 air attacks and fired more than 45 times from MLRS”.
Valery Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief 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 on certain parts of the front – up to 80 daily attacks. ”
Russian forces and “collaborators” have also begun a census in the town of Enerhodar, which is next to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, according to Ukrainian officials.
Dmytro Orlov, the displaced mayor of Enerhodar, said that “they are doing it in their typical way, by force, because participation in the ‘list’ cannot be refused.”
“On the second day, the Russians together with the so-called police associates go from door to door and intercept people in their yards. This was reported by local residents who had to take part in the ‘census,'” claims Orlov.
“In many cases, the list ends with rummaging through apps on mobile phones. Be aware!” he said. The pre-war population of the city was around 50,000. It has been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March.
The state-owned company that operates the nuclear power plant, Energoat, reported on Thursday that further Russian shelling about 50 kilometers from the plant disabled two high-voltage transmission lines, and that the plant had gone into “full shutdown mode.” All 20 diesel units have started working.” The factory is run by Ukrainian technicians, but is controlled by the Russian state operator Rusatom.
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