The Ukrainian prime minister warns that Kiev could face a ‘complete shutdown’ of the electricity grid due to Russian strikes.
Russian missile strikes have paralyzed nearly half of Ukraine’s energy system, the government said on Friday, and authorities in the capital Kyiv warned the city could face a “complete shutdown” of its power grid if winter sets in.
“Unfortunately Russia continues to launch missile strikes on the civil and critical infrastructure of Ukraine. Almost half of our energy system is turned off,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a joint press conference with European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 10 million people were without power in a country with a pre-war population of about 44 million. He said authorities have ordered forced emergency power cuts in some areas.
Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national grid operator, said Russia carried out six large-scale missile strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure between Oct. 10 and Nov. 15.
Russia has launched significant strikes across Ukraine after a major bridge connecting the Crimea peninsula was partially damaged by a blast in October. Moscow blamed Kiev for the attack, a charge Ukraine denies.
With temperatures dropping to zero degrees and Kiev seeing its first snow, officials worked to restore power across the country after one of the heaviest bombings of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in nine months of war.
The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian disaster in the country this winter due to power and water shortages.
“We are preparing for different scenarios, including a complete shutdown,” Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of the Kyiv city administration, said in televised comments.
Russia’s defense ministry said its armed forces had used long-range weapons on Thursday to attack defense and industrial facilities, including “missile factories”.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian army said in an evening report that Russian troops, now redeployed to the east bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, had shelled towns such as Antonivka and Bilozerka on the west bank, as well as Chornobaivka, that they had been used as a depot for equipment.
Moscow was forced to withdraw from the region’s capital, also known as Kherson, on November 9.
Investigators in liberated areas of the Kherson region uncovered 63 bodies with signs of torture after Russian forces left, Ukraine’s interior minister said.
Ukrainian Parliament Human Rights Commissioner Dmytro Lubinets released a video of what he said was a torture chamber used by Russian forces in the Kherson region.
Reuters was unable to verify the claims made by Lubinets and others in the video. Russia denies that its troops deliberately attacked civilians or committed atrocities.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow said was a special military operation to eliminate dangerous nationalists. Kiev calls Russia’s action an unprovoked imperialist land grab.
Thousands of Russian men have fled abroad to escape conscription for a conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions, reduced cities to rubble and reopened Cold War-era divisions.