New Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure

New Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure


KYIV | As winter approaches, the Russian army carried out new major strikes on Tuesday on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, nearly a third of whose power plants were destroyed in a week.  

“The Russian Armed Forces continued to strike with high-precision, long-range air and sea weapons against the military command and energy systems of Ukraine,” said the Russian Ministry of Defense in its daily report, assuring that “all targets were hit”.

“Since October 10, 30% of Ukrainian power plants have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced on Twitter, reiterating his refusal to negotiate with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“The situation is critical now throughout the country, because our regions are dependent on each other,” declared an adviser to the presidency, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, asking “that the whole country prepare for the fact that there may be blackouts of electricity, water and heating”.

Around 12:00 GMT, these attacks had killed at least one person in Mykolaiv (south) and two, even three in Kyiv, according to the authorities, and affected cities and towns across the country. Power outages were reported in the capital and other regions.

Already on Monday, Russian strikes, including with the help of suicide drones, had killed at least nine people, including five in kyiv , and caused power cuts in three regions.

And a week earlier, on October 10, Russian bombardments on an unprecedented scale for months, also on energy infrastructure, had left at least 19 dead and 105 injured. Kyiv's Western allies then promised more air defense systems, some of which have already been delivered.

Iranian drones

Still in the energy sector, the Ukrainian operator Energoatom accused the Russian army on Tuesday of having “kidnapped” two executives from the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant (south), the largest in Europe, occupied since March by the forces of Moscow. The plant has been the victim of regular bombardments and power cuts since the Russian invasion on February 24, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

“Over the past 24 hours, the enemy has launched 10 missile attacks and 58 air attacks, and carried out up to 60 multiple rocket launchers”, summed up the Ukrainian general staff on Tuesday morning.

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The latter also reported on the dispatch by the Russian army of 43 Iranian-made “Shahed-136” drones, of which “38 were shot down by Ukrainian soldiers”, and claimed “22 strikes” carried out on Monday by the Ukrainian air force, once again showing that Russia has failed to establish air supremacy.

“We have no such information,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, to a reporter's question about Moscow's use of Iranian drones in Ukraine. “Russian technology is used, with Russian names”.

Kyiv on Monday called on the EU to impose more sanctions on Iran, saying “Iran is responsible for killing Ukrainians.” Tehran reiterated its denials: “Iran has not exported arms to any of the warring parties,” said Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for its diplomacy.

Washington threatened to sanction companies or states collaborating in Iran's drone program after Monday's attacks.

“Terrorize and kill”

The Russians “continue to do what they do best – terrorizing and killing civilians. In Mykolaiv, the enemy destroyed an apartment building with S-300 missiles. One person was killed,” denounced Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to local authorities, the victim was a 55-year-old man found in the rubble of the building after a night strike.

< p>In Kyiv, the prosecution reported two dead and one injured after “a missile attack against an energy supply facility on the left bank of the capital”.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko mentioned three deaths, employees of the targeted site. The operator DTEK reported “disruptions” in the supply of electricity and water for the inhabitants of the left bank. 

In Dnipro, “the Russians struck an energy infrastructure (.. .) with two missiles. There is a fire and serious damage,” said the head of the regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko, referring to power and water cuts across the region.

In Kharkiv, “the enemy launched eight missiles at the city from the Russian city of Belgorod,” according to Kharkiv region governor Oleg Synegoubov, who did not report any casualties.

The Russian army claimed on Tuesday to have taken over a village, Gorobivka, in the Kharkiv region – a first since it was driven out of this area in September

Further bombardments hit the town of Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv, cutting off water and electricity.

On Monday, the Russian bombardments had already hit Kyiv, the surroundings of Kharkiv, Sumy (north-east), Donetsk (east), Dnipropetrovsk (center-east), Kherson (south) and Mykolaiv.

“Sign of desperation”

The Russians are “attacking critical infrastructure (…) Things that people need in their daily lives and which are not military targets”, said the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken. “This is a sign of desperation on the part of Russia.”

The Russian army is on the defensive on most of the front in Ukraine, retreating since September in the north as well as in the east and south. The only section where it is still advancing is the area of ​​the city of Bakhmout (east), which it has been trying to take from the Ukrainians since the summer.

New Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure

New Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure

The partial mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists, decided by Vladimir Putin after his heavy losses in Ukraine, is not completed “for the moment”, indicated the Kremlin.

Despite this context, 108 women, mostly soldiers, were freed thanks to a new prisoner exchange with Russia, according to the Ukrainian presidency.

In Russia itself, the he Ukrainian army shelled two villages in the Kursk border region, Tiotkino and Popovo-Lejatchi, causing power cuts, Russian authorities said on Tuesday. In the Belgorod region, also bordering Ukraine, Ukrainian gunfire hit a railway station, causing damage and injuring one, according to Governor Vyacheslav Beglov.

The day before, not far from there , 13 people were killed and 19 injured following the fall of a Russian military plane which caused a gigantic fire in Yeisk (south-west). The plane crashed into a residential building where 600 people lived in this town of 90,000 people located opposite the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, devastated by a siege by Russian forces at the start of the conflict.

Russian investigators said on Tuesday that they favored the track of a “technical fault” on the plane.