Ukraine: Zelensky accuses Russia of energy ‘terrorism’ as Russian strikes knock out power for millions



CNN

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Moscow of “energy terrorism” as repeated attacks on infrastructure have knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

About 450,000 homes across Kyiv were without power on Friday as blackouts continue across the country, according to the city’s mayor, Vitalii Klitschko. “It’s two and a half times more than the last few days,” Klitschko said on Telegram.

It follows dire warnings of a cold and difficult winter for those remaining in the country after Russian airstrikes and rocket attacks on Ukraine’s power grid.

This week alone, attacks on critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions have intermittently left millions without electricity and water. As of Thursday evening, about 4.5 million consumers were temporarily disconnected from the power supply under emergency and stabilization programs, according to Zelensky.

“The fact that Russia has attacked the energy sector shows the weakness of the enemy. They cannot defeat Ukraine on the battlefield, so they are trying to break our country in this way,” Zelensky said in the evening speech.

Repeated Russian airstrikes have pushed central and western Ukrainian cities to the front lines of the war, leaving residents of the capital struggling to keep businesses running, along with water and other resources.

Ukraine’s national electricity company, Ukrenergo, said earlier this week that several regions will experience prolonged power cuts as they try to repair damage caused by the latest strike.

The G7 group of wealthy nations will coordinate aid to 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 many elderly, children, teenagers and families to starve or freeze to death in the coming winter months due to the brutal tactics of the Russian president,” Baerbock said. the journalists

Ukraine’s military says Russian forces have meanwhile stepped up airstrikes near their eastern fronts, using multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), particularly in the Donetsk region.

The General Staff of the Military said that 80 such attacks were recorded on Wednesday, while on Thursday “the enemy launched four missiles and 28 air strikes, and fired more than 45 times from the MLRS”.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, said that in a conversation on Thursday with General Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, he noted that “the enemy tripled the intensity of the enemy in some areas of the front, up to 80 attacks per day.”

Russian forces and “collaborators” also began a census in the town of Enerhodar, near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Dmytro Orlov, the displaced mayor of Enerhodar, said “they are doing it normally, by force, because participation in the ‘census’ cannot be ruled out.”

“For the second day now, they are making door-to-door visits with collaborators with the so-called police and arresting people in their yards. This was reported by local residents who had to take part in the “census”, said Orlov.

“In many cases the census ends up browsing and browsing on mobile apps. Please be careful!” he said Before the war, the city had around 50,000 inhabitants. It has been under Russian occupation since the beginning of March.

Energoatom, the state-run company that runs the nuclear power plant, said on Thursday that further Russian bombing had disabled two high-voltage transmission lines about 50 kilometers from the plant, and that the plant had gone “totally out of control”. All 20 diesel generators were put into operation.’ The plant is run by Ukrainian technicians but is under the control of Russian state operator Rusatom.