Ukraine battles to restore power as millions face blackouts | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine is struggling to restore water and electricity to millions of people after Russian missiles and drones hit power infrastructure on Wednesday, leaving nearly 80 percent of the country in darkness.

On Thursday evening, more than 24 hours after Russian airstrikes devastated parts of Kiev, the city’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said 60 percent of homes were still under fire. With temperatures dropping below zero, Kiev officials said they were able to restore water services but were still working to restore power and heat.

“The strong feeling is that the Russians are facing a war on civilian infrastructure,” Jan Egland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement on Thursday.

“The civilian population cannot survive an entire winter without electricity, heat and water. And now it’s the breaking point,” he said, referring to a series of attacks on Moscow’s power grid.

Ukraine’s energy system is on the brink of collapse, with millions facing emergency outages in recent weeks as Russia attacks power plants in an effort to force power after nine months of war. Defined regional objectives.

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Satellite images released by NASA show Ukraine as the darkest place in the world at night as seen from space.

The World Health Organization warns of “life-threatening” consequences and estimates that millions may be forced to flee their homes, while US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “clearly gearing up for winter”. to inflict severe suffering on the Ukrainian people”.

“They will try to block the country,” the Russian president said on Wednesday.

Russia has denied the attacks.

Wednesday’s attack disconnected three of Ukraine’s nuclear plants from the national grid and caused a blackout in neighboring Moldova’s power grid linked to Ukraine. Power was almost fully restored in former Soviet Moldova on Thursday.

All three nuclear facilities were reconnected by Thursday morning, Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said.

Ijor Terekkov, mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city near the border with Russia, said water was returning to homes.

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“We have restarted power supplies. Trust me, it was tough,” he said.

A Ukrainian worker at the Kyiv Department of Health walks after collecting rainwater from a sewer in Kyiv.
Kateryna Luchkina, 31, a Kyiv health department worker, walks after collecting rainwater from a sewer in Kyiv. [John Leicester/AP Photo]

But there were still disruptions across the country and the central bank warned that disruptions could disrupt banking operations.

At least four people have been killed in fresh attacks in the southern city of Kherson, recently recaptured by Ukraine, a senior official there said.

Ukraine accused it of launching about 70 cruise missiles and drones in Wednesday’s attack, which left 10 people dead and nearly 50 wounded.

But Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied any airstrikes in Kiev, saying Ukrainian and foreign air defense systems did the damage.

“Not a single strike was carried out against targets in the city of Kyiv,” he said.

‘Crime against humanity’

The Kremlin has said that Ukraine is ultimately responsible for the consequences of the attacks and that it can stop them by accepting Moscow’s demands.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Ukraine has every opportunity to resolve the situation, meet Russia’s demands and, as a result, stop the suffering of the civilian population.

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But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s strategy of destroying energy infrastructure would not weaken his country’s determination to recapture Moscow-held territories.

“We have to return all the lands … because I believe that in the absence of diplomacy, the battlefield is the road,” Zelensky told the Financial Times.

On Wednesday, Zelensky called the Russian attack a “crime against humanity” in a video address to the UN Security Council.

The Kiev resident, speaking to Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, echoed Zelensky’s sentiments.

“I don’t know anyone who is ready to negotiate with the Russians just because of these attacks,” said Alona Piskun.

Russian soldiers are defeated on the battlefield. This month they retreated from the city of Kherson, the only regional capital they held, destroying key infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors announced on Thursday that authorities had found nine torture sites used by the Russians in Kherson, as well as “the bodies of 432 civilians killed.”

People sit in a candlelit pub during a power outage in Lviv.
During a power outage in Lviv, people sit in a candlelit pub [Roman Baluk/Reuters]

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