Ukraine braces for harsh winter as Russian strikes cripple power installations


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KYIV – Ukrainians have braced for a winter with little to no power in several regions, including the capital, where temperatures have already fallen below zero as relentless Russian strikes have crippled the country’s energy capacity.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged people to save electricity, especially in hard-hit regions such as Kyiv, Vinnytsia in the southwest, Sumy in the north and Odessa on the Black Sea.

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Moscow’s response to military setbacks in recent weeks has included a barrage of missile strikes against electrical installations, and Zelenskiy said half of the country’s electrical capacity had been destroyed by Russian rockets.

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“The systematic damage done to our energy system by Russian terrorist strikes is so extensive that all of our citizens and businesses should be aware and redistribute their consumption throughout the day,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “Try to limit your personal electricity consumption.”

Millions of Ukrainians are most likely to live with power outages – a daily phenomenon across the country – at least until the end of March, Sergey Kovalenko, the head of YASNO, which provides electricity, said on Monday. energy in Kyiv.

He said workers were rushing to complete repairs before the winter cold set in.

“Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about options that will help you weather a long breakdown,” Kovalenko said. “It’s better to do it now than to be miserable.”

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Citizens of the recently liberated southern city of Kherson, where Kyiv says Russian troops destroyed critical infrastructure before leaving earlier this month, can apply to be relocated to areas with less acute security and heating problems .

In a Telegram message aimed at residents of Kherson – especially the elderly, women with children and those who are sick or disabled – Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk posted a number of ways residents can express their interest from . “You may be evacuated during the winter period to safer parts of the country,” she wrote, citing both security and infrastructure issues.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said power cuts and Russian strikes on energy infrastructure are consequences of Kyiv’s refusal to negotiate, state news agency TASS reported at the end of the week. last. On Monday evening, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia was shelling Kherson across the Dnipro River now that its troops had fled.

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“There is no military logic: they just want revenge on the locals,” he tweeted.

Moscow denies intentionally targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities.

Kyiv and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.


Battles continued to rage in the east following Russian troop movements into the industrial Donbass region from around Kherson in the south.

Moscow has reinforced the areas it still holds and launched its own offensive along a stretch of the front line west of the city of Donetsk held by its proxies since 2014.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Tuesday that its forces had repelled numerous Russian attacks in several areas of the Donetsk region.

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“The enemy keeps shelling our troop positions and settlements near the line of contact,” he said.

“Attacks continue to damage critical infrastructure and civilian homes.”

Russia and Ukraine on Monday traded blame for at least a dozen explosions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which came under Russian control shortly after it invaded the country on February 24, but is still across the Dnipro River from areas controlled by Kyiv.

Ukraine narrowly escaped disaster as fighting over the weekend rocked the factory, Europe’s largest, with a deluge of shells.

Zelenskiy urged NATO members to ensure protection against “Russian sabotage” at nuclear facilities.

IAEA experts visited the site on Monday, and the agency said they found extensive damage but nothing that compromised critical plant systems.

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The reactors are shut down but there is a risk of the nuclear fuel overheating if the power to the cooling systems is cut off. The bombings repeatedly cut the power lines.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine fired at the power lines supplying the plant.

Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom said the Russian military bombed the site, accusing it of nuclear blackmail and actions that “endangered the whole world”.

Reuters could not immediately verify which party was responsible.

Repeated bombings of the plant during the war raised concerns of a serious disaster in the country which suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident, the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. (Reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar and Maria Starkova in Kyiv, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg; Writing by Costas Pitas and Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast.)



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