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Russian Strikes on Ukraine Knock Out Power in Kyiv

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KYIV, Ukraine—Power was knocked out again in parts of Kyiv on Saturday morning, stirring fresh concerns about the impact of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s electricity supply as winter approaches, while Ukrainian forces continued to push to retake occupied parts of the southern Kherson region.

“Today, the enemy launched another barbaric attack on critical infrastructure. As a result, an energy-infrastructure facility in the Kyiv region suffered severe destruction,” Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s electricity-transmission-system operator, wrote on social media Saturday morning.

The governor of the Kyiv region also posted on the Telegram messaging app that Russian airstrikes had hit the region overnight, but officials didn’t specify what had been struck. Parts of central Kyiv, which hadn’t been struck at all during the war until this week, were without power; Ukrenergo said it was working to restore service.

Damage caused by a Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Friday.



Photo:

REUTERS

In addition to the attack in Kyiv, Moscow also peppered the southern Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions overnight. Five Iranian-made kamikaze drones were shot down by Ukrainian air-defense systems over the Dnipropetrovsk region, according to the governor, Valentyn Reznichenko. The Nikopol district, across the river from the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear-power plant, was hit with Grad rockets and heavy artillery, Mr. Reznichenko said, destroying 10 buildings and injuring at least two people.

The city of Zaporizhzhia, which is about 30 miles from the front line and has become a daily target of Russian air attacks, was also struck by kamikaze drones and rockets overnight, according to Mayor Anatoly Kurtev.

“The enemy attacked industrial and energy-infrastructure facilities. There is destruction. The blast wave damaged 21 apartment buildings, 15 private sector buildings, an educational institution and a parking lot,” Mr. Kurtev wrote on Telegram on Saturday morning. He said there were no casualties.

The Kremlin has focused on disabling Ukrainian civilian infrastructure over the past month, since Ukraine began retaking swaths of terrain in the northeastern Kharkiv region and southern Kherson region.

Ukrainian forces reclaim territory from Russia in the eastern part of the country.



Photo:

Carl Court/Getty Images

Russian President

Vladimir Putin

said on Friday night that there was “no need for massive strikes” because most designated targets had already been hit. The barrage of missiles launched at Ukraine on Monday aimed in part at taking out power facilities in Kyiv and in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where infrastructure is critical for importing or exporting electricity from Europe. Western military analysts have questioned whether Moscow has enough missiles left in its arsenal to keep up the kind of attacks it launched on Monday.

Still, the attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure have continued, prompting Ukrainian officials to plead with their citizens to reduce power while repairs were under way.

“Dear Ukrainians: Please, it is still necessary to advisedly limit the consumption of electricity during peak hours so that the entire power system works stably,” Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelensky

said in his nightly video address on Friday. “It is also an element of the protection of our state.”

The damage to infrastructure has magnified concerns about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. On Friday,

Hans Kluge,

director of the World Health Organization in Europe, warned about the potential for a brutal winter if electricity and fuel were difficult to access across Ukraine.

“Too many people in Ukraine are living precariously, moving from location to location, living in substandard structures or without access to heating,” he said. “The destruction of houses and lack of access to fuel or electricity due to damaged infrastructure could become a matter of life or death if people are unable to heat their homes.”

People in Kyiv gathered for a memorial event dedicated to fallen soldiers on Friday.



Photo:

Kyodonews/Zuma Press

The airstrikes this week have prompted Western countries to pledge to send new air-defense systems, which are expected to begin arriving in Kyiv in the coming weeks.

In addition, President Biden on Friday authorized a new $725 military-aid package for Ukraine, which will include more weapons and military vehicles.

U.S. weapons have been crucial in helping turn the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor. Using U.S.-made mobile rocket launchers, known as Himars, Ukrainian forces in the country’s south have taken out bridges across the Dnipro River, as well as Russian ammunition depots and logistics centers. As a result, Russian troops west of the river are now cut off and undersupplied, as Ukrainian forces push south toward the regional capital of Kherson. Ukrainian forces have retaken dozens of villages in the Kherson region over the past month.

Russian-installed officials in Kherson have advised civilians to evacuate the region as a result of the Ukrainian offensive. On Saturday, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian government in the region, said that Ukrainian forces were pushing toward the town of Beryslav, across the river from the key city of Nova Kakhovka.

“We suggest that residents of all of right-bank Ukraine take advantage of the moment, call the hotline, pick up their children and send them on vacation,” he said. “The defense line is working, everything is under control.”

Mr. Putin said Friday that the mobilization effort he had launched last month would be completed in two weeks. He said that some 222,000 out of a planned 300,000 people have been mobilized already, with 16,000 already performing combat missions.

Russian military bloggers supportive of the invasion of Ukraine have lambasted the country’s military leadership after reports of numerous front-line deaths this week among the newly mobilized men.

Two recruits opened fire at a Russian military training ground in the Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine on Saturday, leaving 11 people dead and 15 injured, the state news agency TASS reported, citing the Ministry of Defense. It said the recruits were fatally shot and that the attack is under investigation. It described the men as volunteers from an unspecified country in the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping of former Soviet Republics.

Many new recruits are arriving in Ukraine with minimal training and often with outdated equipment, according to analysts and Ukrainian officials.

The British Ministry of Defense said Saturday on Twitter that the new recruits were likely buying their own body armor, which was supposed to be standard issue in the Russian military. The price for 6B45 vests on Russian online shopping sites has jumped to 40,000 rubles, equivalent to about $640, from 12,000 rubles since April.

“Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine,” the ministry wrote.

Parts of Kamianske in Ukraine had no electricity earlier this week following Russian missile attacks.



Photo:

REUTERS

Write to Ian Lovett at [email protected]

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