Ukraine faces blackout after Russia strike, Kherson flees more

Kyiv, Oct. 22 (Reuters) – More than a dozen Russian missiles hit energy facilities and other infrastructure across Ukraine on Saturday, causing blackouts in parts of different regions, the Ukrainian air force said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the scale of the Russian attack was “very extensive”. He promised that his military, with the help of its partners, would improve its already good record of shooting down missiles.

Meanwhile, Russian occupation authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson have urged the immediate evacuation of civilians, citing what they call a tense military situation.

Sign up now for free and unlimited access to

The Ukrainian military said it was making progress as its forces moved south through the Kherson region, seizing at least two villages it said Russian forces had abandoned.

Since October 10, Russia has launched a devastating salvo on Ukraine’s power infrastructure, hitting at least half of its thermal power generation and up to 40 percent of the entire system.

Shortly after dawn, officials in many areas reported strikes and blackouts at energy facilities as engineers scrambled to restore the network. The governor advised residents to reserve water.

Parts of Kyiv were without power until evening. In one central area, shops closed and traffic lights went out.

“The geographic scope of this latest mass strike is very broad,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address, citing regions in western, central and southern Ukraine.

“Of course, we don’t have the technical capability to shoot down 100% of Russian missiles and strike drones. I’m sure, with the help of our partners, we will gradually achieve this. Now, we have shot down most or cruise missiles , most drones.”

Ukrainian forces shot down 20 missiles and more than 10 Iranian-made Shahed drones on Saturday, he said.

The Air Force Command had earlier said 33 missiles had been fired at Ukraine. Eighteen were shot down.

Power outage hits south-central Ukraine

Witnesses to Reuters in the southern city of Mykolaiv reported that cell phone signals were cut off for hours after the power went out.

In the southeastern city of Nikopol, which is regularly shelled from Russian positions across the Dnieper, local authorities have warned that air raid sirens will be turned off due to a power outage. Instead, emergency vehicles driving around the city warn of an approaching aerial threat, officials said.

Zelensky said the team is working to restore power to the affected areas. Presidential adviser Tymoshenko said earlier that more than a million people were without power after two morning air raid sirens.

Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhailo Podoljak said Moscow wanted to use the strike to create a new wave of refugees into Europe, while Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said on Twitter that the attack constituted genocide.

Moscow admits to targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians.

State grid operator Ukrenergo said the attack targeted transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine, but supply restrictions were imposed in 10 regions, including Kyiv.

“The magnitude of the damage is comparable to or likely to exceed the consequences of the attack on (between) October 10th and 12th,” Ukrenergo wrote on the Telegram app, referring to the first wave of strikes on the power system last week. .

Petro Panteleev, deputy head of the Kyiv city government, warned that the strike in Russia could cut power and heating in the Ukrainian capital for “days or weeks”.

In Kherson, which links Ukraine to the Crimean peninsula and was annexed by Russia in 2014, thousands of civilians have left across the Dnieper River in recent days after warnings of an imminent Ukrainian offensive to retake the city.

But Saturday’s warning came with new urgency.

“Due to the tension on the front lines, the increased danger of mass shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must leave the city immediately and cross the left (east) bank of the Dnieper!” Russian occupation authorities said in a statement posted on Telegram.

The Ukrainian General Staff said Ukrainian troops were entering areas abandoned by Russian troops.

“Individual units of the Russian occupying forces continue to leave temporarily occupied territories in the Kherson region,” it said in an evening Facebook report.

It said Russian troops had left the towns of Charivny on the west bank of the Dnieper and Chkalovo on the east bank, and officers and medical staff had been evacuated from the main centre in Berislav, also on the west bank.

Sign up now for free and unlimited access to

Reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv, additional reporting by Felix Hoske in Kyiv and Valentin Ogirenko in Mykolaiv Editing by Ron Popeski, Diane Craft and Matthew Lewis

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link