Bleak winter looms as Russian strikes cripple Ukraine’s power capacity

  • Ukrainians with little or no heating after the bombing
  • The temperature in different areas is below freezing
  • Residents of Kherson received a discount to leave for safe regions
  • The security service of Ukraine raided the famous Kiev monastery

KYIV, Nov 22 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Ukrainians to conserve energy as relentless Russian attacks cut the country’s energy capacity in half, as the United Nations health body warned of a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine this winter.

Ukraine’s national grid operator Ukrainergo has suffered “significant” damage as a result of the missile attack, which has affected millions of Ukrainians, including the capital, Kiev, until at least the end of March, officials said.

Temperatures have been unseasonably mild in Ukraine this autumn, but are starting to dip below zero and are expected to drop to -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) or lower in some areas during the winter months.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s energy facilities follows a series of battlefield setbacks, including the withdrawal of Russian military forces from the southern city of Kherson to the eastern Dnipro River that divides the country.

“Saving electricity is very important,” Prime Minister Dennis Schmihl said in a telegram on Tuesday.

He said planned power outages are happening in all regions and in some cases, emergency shutdowns are possible due to the onset of frost and increased electricity consumption.

“All of our people and businesses should take note and redistribute their consumption throughout the day, as the systemic damage caused by Russian terrorist attacks to our power system is significant,” Zelensky said in an evening video address.

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Ukrainergo chief Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said on Tuesday that despite Although, although, although, although, although, although, although Although, although, although, although, although, although, although Although, although, although, although, although, although, although Even though the temperature or Hydroelectric stations were not affected.

“We cannot generate as much power as consumers can use,” Kudritsky said in a statement as temperatures are expected to rise again on Wednesday after a brief freeze, giving the power system a chance to stabilize.

‘Darkest Days’

The World Health Organization (WHO) says hundreds of Ukrainian hospitals and health care facilities lack fuel, water and electricity.

“Ukraine’s health system is facing the darkest of the war so far. It has withstood more than 700 attacks and is now a victim of a power crisis,” WHO European Director Hans Kluge said in a statement after visiting Ukraine. .

Sergey Kovalenko, head of YASNO, which supplies power to Kyiv, said workers are racing to repair damaged power infrastructure.

“Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about options that will help you get through a long layoff,” Kovalenko said.

Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk, in a telegram message to the residents of Kherson, outlined a number of ways in which residents expressed their desire to evacuate, especially the elderly, women with children, and those who are sick or disabled.

“They may withdraw to safer regions of the country for the winter,” she wrote.

Russia’s attacks on energy infrastructure are the result of Kyiv’s refusal to negotiate, the country’s news agency TASS reported last week, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said Russia was now pounding Kherson across the Dnipro River as its troops fled. “There is no military logic: they only want revenge on the locals,” he tweeted late Monday.

Ukraine’s Suspilne news agency reported a new explosion in the city of Kherson on Tuesday.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians as 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, imperialist land grab in a neighboring state it once dominated in the former Soviet Union.

The nine-month war killed tens of thousands, displaced millions and crippled the world economy. In the year Europe was hit hardest by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which said the world’s worst energy crisis since the 1970s would trigger a deep recession.

Meanwhile, Ukraine received a new 2.5 billion euro ($2.57 billion) financial aid from the European Union on Tuesday, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.

Invasion of the monastery

In Washington, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said $4.5 billion in U.S. economic aid to Ukraine will begin in the coming weeks to bolster economic stability and support core government services.

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Ukraine’s SBU security service and police raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in Kiev on Tuesday in a move to prevent “suspected acts of vandalism by Russian special services,” the SBU said.

The sprawling Kiev Pechersk Lavra complex – or Monastery of the Caves – is a cultural treasure of Ukraine and the headquarters of the Russian-backed wing of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Russian Orthodox Church condemned the raid as an “act of intimidation”.

The war continued to escalate in the east. Since 2014, Russia has been attacking the front line west of the city of Donetsk.

“The attacks continue to destroy critical infrastructure and civilian homes,” Ukraine’s General Staff said.

Four people were killed and four wounded in Ukrainian-held areas of the Donetsk region in the past 24 hours, regional governor Pavlo Kirileno said on the Telegram messaging app.

Also, Russian bullets hit a humanitarian aid distribution center in Orihiv in southeastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing volunteers and wounding two women, the regional head of state said.

Orihiv is 110 kilometers east of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has been hit again in the past few days, with Russia and Ukraine blaming the explosion.

by Oleksandr Kozukuhar and Maria Starkova in Kiev, Lydia Kelly in Melbourne and Ronald Popsky in Winnipeg; Writing by Shri Navaratnam and Gareth Jones; Editing by Lincoln Festal, Alex Richardson and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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