Ukrainian cities go dark as new air strikes hit power stations

Moscow accused of terrorising and killing civilians as it renews attacks on Ukrainian cities

Rescuers stand next to a building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine October 18, 2022.  REUTERS / Valentyn Ogirenko
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More air strikes pummelled Ukraine on Tuesday morning, leaving cities in darkness, as Russia continues to attack the country's power stations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of terrorising and killing civilians in its latest attacks.

Ukraine said it shot down 38 of the 43 drones Russia used to launch strikes on Monday.

But there were power cuts across the country on Tuesday following attacks, which Mr Zelenskyy said have destroyed one third of the country’s stations in the past 10 days.

Several regions, including the capital Kyiv, were experiencing power cuts after several strikes hit energy facilities, local officials and agencies said.

“Ukraine is under fire by the occupiers. They continue to do what they do best — terrorise and kill civilians,” Mr Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“The terrorist state will not change anything for itself with such actions. It will only confirm its destructive and murderous essence, for which it will certainly be held to account.

“Russia doesn’t have any chance on the battlefield, and it tries to compensate for its military defeats with terror.

“Why this terror? To put pressure on us, on Europe, on the entire world.”

One person was killed in a strike on a residential building on the southern city of Mykolaiv, he said, without giving other details of casualties.

Russia also attacked energy infrastructure in northern Kyiv, causing several explosions and sending smoke rising over the city, Ukrainian officials and witnesses said.

Many settlements in Zhytomyr region, west of Kyiv, and parts of Dnipro city in central Ukraine were without electricity, while power was restored to Mykolaiv after strikes overnight.

“There is currently no light or water in the city. Hospitals are on reserve [power] supplies,” Zhytomyr mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn wrote on Facebook.

The governor of southern Zaporizhzhia region, which is partly occupied by Russia, reported a fire caused by drone strikes at an infrastructure facility.

Russia said on Tuesday that a technical malfunction caused a military Sukhoi Su-34 plane to crash into a residential building in Yeysk, near Ukraine, killing 15 people.

Investigators are questioning the pilots, who managed to eject before the plane crashed into the nine-storey building on Monday.

Smoke rises on the outskirts of Kyiv following a Russian air strike. Reuters

Meanwhile, Ukraine's state nuclear energy agency accused Moscow on Tuesday of detaining two senior employees at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

In a statement on social media, Energoatom said Russian forces had “kidnapped” Oleg Kostyukov, head of information technology, and Oleg Osheka, the plant's assistant general director, on Monday, taking them “to an unknown destination”.

Russia stepped up its offensive across Ukraine on Monday, cutting electricity supplies and killing eight people in attacks that included the use of kamikaze drone strikes in the capital.

President Vladimir Putin is thought to be trying to counter battlefield losses in its eight-month war in Ukraine by waging a punitive policy of striking energy infrastructure before winter, in a move that he hopes will weaken resistance.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Russia launched five strikes against Kyiv and against energy infrastructure in Sumy and the central Dnipropetrovsk regions, knocking out electricity to hundreds of towns and villages.

Four people were killed in Kyiv, including a married couple expecting a baby, and another four in the north-east region of Sumy, officials said.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded that the EU impose sanctions against Iran, which Kyiv accuses of providing Russia with drones.

Ukraine's military said it shot down eight Iranian-made drones and two Russian cruise missiles on Monday.

While Iran denies exporting any weapons to either side, the US has warned it would take action against companies and nations working with Tehran's drone programme, following the strikes in Kyiv.

The strikes come a week after Russian missiles rained down on Kyiv and other cities on October 10, in the biggest wave of attacks in months. These strikes killed at least 19 people and wounded 105, sparking international outcry.

Those strikes followed an attack on the Kerch bridge linking Russia with the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

Senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak called for Russia to be excluded from the G20 following the strikes.

“Those who give orders to attack critical infrastructure, to freeze civilians and organise total mobilisation to cover the front line with corpses cannot sit at the same table with leaders of [the] G20,” he said on social media as he called for Russia to be “expelled from all platforms”.

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Updated: October 18, 2022, 8:08 PM