- The President warns the Ukrainians to prepare for new Russian attacks
- Winter sets in with an energy deficit of 20%.
- Heavy fighting in eastern Donetsk
Lviv/Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia will certainly launch new missile attacks on his country and warned defense forces and citizens to prepare for another week of stress on the power grid as snow falls in Kyiv.
City authorities said workers were close to completing restoring electricity, water and heating days after the Russian attacks, but high demand forced some blackouts.
“We understand that terrorists are planning new strikes. We know that for sure,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address late Sunday. As long as they have missiles, unfortunately, they will not calm down.
Zelensky said the coming week could be as difficult as the previous one, when attacks on electricity infrastructure left Ukrainians experiencing some of the most severe blackouts since Russian forces invaded in February.
There was no response from Moscow to Zelensky’s allegations.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has said it does not target the civilian population. The Kremlin said on Thursday that Kyiv could “end the suffering” of its population by meeting Russia’s demands.
Russia annexed parts of eastern and southern Ukraine in September, and President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow’s territorial claims are non-negotiable. After the annexation, Zelensky said he would not negotiate with Moscow and that Ukraine’s territorial integrity could not be negotiated.
Sunday was relatively quiet with no devastating attacks on Kyiv or other major cities. The Ukrainian Central Army Command said that Russian forces launched four missile attacks and fired several times at civilian targets in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
Zelensky said heavy fighting has broken out along the front lines in various parts of Ukraine, particularly in the eastern Donetsk region.
On Sunday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that Russian forces had bombed dozens of villages in the eastern Donetsk region, including the main targets in Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said that Russian forces launched several failed attacks on the town of Solidar, near Bakhmut, and suffered heavy losses in a separate attack towards Avdiivka.
He said on YouTube that fierce battles were taking place in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, near the areas that the Ukrainian army recaptured in September and October.
Moscow has targeted critical infrastructure in recent weeks with waves of air strikes that have caused widespread power outages and killed civilians.
Attacks increased as the cold weather set in, driving up demand for energy as repairmen raced to fix wrecked power facilities.
New strikes last Wednesday caused the worst damage yet in the nine-month-old conflict, leaving millions of people without light, water or heat, as temperatures plunged below 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).
Zelensky said utility and emergency teams were working around the clock to save power, with the situation “under control” even though most areas were subject to scheduled blackouts to help restore the grid.
In Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine that Russian forces ceded this month, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said 17% of the agents now had power. Other regions will be connected in the coming days.
Sergei Kovalenko, chief operating officer of YASNO, which supplies Kyiv with energy, said on Saturday night that the situation in the city had improved but remained “very difficult”.
Zelensky criticized Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, saying he was not doing enough to help the beleaguered population. Klitschko, a former professional boxer, responded that the political infighting “makes no sense” amid Russia’s military crackdown.
The head of Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power company said on Sunday there were indications that Russian forces may be preparing to leave the massive Zaporizhia nuclear power plant they seized in March. Frequent bombing around the station raised fears of a nuclear disaster.
“One gets the impression that they are packing their bags and stealing everything they can,” Pietro Cottin, head of Energoatom, told national television.
Besides energy, food supplies have also been disrupted by the war. Ukraine’s grain exports are unlikely to reach 3 million tons in November compared to 4.2 million tons in October as Russia tries to reduce inspections on ships, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr said. Kubrakov late on Sunday. .
Additional reporting by Oleksandr Kozuchar and Tom Palmforth and Paveltyuk in Kyiv, Ronald Popisky in Winnipeg and Lydia Kelly in Melbourne; Written by Stephen Coates. Editing by Himani Sarker
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