Power cuts after Ukrainian infrastructure damaged by Russian strikes

Authorities in Kyiv say 33 missiles were fired across the country

A missile stuck in the ground after destroying an electricity line amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the Kharkiv region.  Reuters.
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Critical infrastructure across Ukraine was pounded by more than a dozen Russian missiles on Saturday, the Ukrainian air force said, with several regions reporting strikes on power stations and blackouts.

Ukraine's air force command reported that 33 missiles had been fired by Russian forces on Saturday morning, and that 18 of those had been shot down.

Since October 10, Russia has launched a series of devastating salvos at Ukraine's power infrastructure, which have hit at least half of its thermal power generation and up to 40 per cent of the entire system.

Shortly after daybreak on Saturday, local officials in regions across Ukraine began reporting strikes on energy plants ― and blackouts ― as engineers struggled to restore the damaged network. Governors advised residents to stock up on water in case of cut-offs.

Presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said that as of Saturday afternoon, more than a million people across Ukraine were without power, with 672,000 of those in the western region of Khmelnytskyi alone.

After the first wave of missiles hit early in the morning, air raid sirens rang out again nationwide at 11.15am local time (0815 GMT).

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Moscow wanted to send a new wave of refugees into Europe with the strikes, while foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said the actions constituted genocide.

"Deliberate strikes on Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure are part of Russia’s genocide of Ukrainians," Mr Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

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Moscow has acknowledged aiming at energy infrastructure but denies hitting civilians.

State grid operator Ukrenergo said the attacks were aimed at transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine, but that power supply restrictions were being put in place in ten regions across the entire country, including in the capital, Kyiv.

"The scale of damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attacks [between] October 10-12," Ukrenergo wrote on the Telegram app, referring to the first wave of strikes on Ukraine's power system last week.

Meanwhile, the deputy head of Kyiv's city administration, Petro Panteleev, gave a warning that Russian strikes could leave Ukraine's capital without power and heat for "several days or weeks".

"This possibility exists, we have to understand and remember this," he told Ukrainian outlet Ekonomichna Pravda.

Updated: October 22, 2022, 3:00 PM