Residents of Kyiv told to prepare for the worst this winter if Russia keeps up attacks

Russia has pummelled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure over past month, causing power shortages and cuts across country

In Kyiv, an electrical generator is used to provide power to a cafe after electricity was cut on Saturday. Getty
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Residents of Kyiv have been told to prepare for the worst this winter if Russia keeps up strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The city’s mayor, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, told state media officials were doing “everything” to avoid periods without electricity, water or heat during freezing weather.

Ukraine announced on Monday it had received more air defence systems from Western military allies.

The weapons will help defend against Russian attacks that have recently targeted energy infrastructure.

"Nasams and Aspide air defence systems arrived in Ukraine. These weapons will significantly strengthen the Ukrainian army and will make our skies safer," Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on social media.

"We will continue to shoot down the enemy targets attacking us. Thank you to our partners — Norway, Spain and the US," the minister added.

Officials have begun planning for a total evacuation of Kyiv if electrical supplies are cut, media reports suggested.

“Let’s be frank, our enemies are doing everything for the city to be without heat, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all die," Mr Klitschko said.

“And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how prepared we are for different situations.”

But for now, Ukraine’s grid operator said it was limiting power supplies to the capital and seven northern and central regions because of damage from the Russian bombardment of electrical infrastructure.

Russia has pummelled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure over the past month, causing power shortages and rolling cuts across the country.

Kyiv was scheduled to have hourly rotating blackouts in the city and the surrounding region.

Rolling blackouts also were planned in the nearby Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava regions, Ukraine’s state-owned energy operator, Ukrenergo, said.

Kyiv plans to have about 1,000 heating points, but said that this may not be enough for a city of three million people.

Leaders of the Group of Seven, the world’s seven wealthiest nations, last week agreed to co-ordinate their support for repairing, restoring and defending Ukraine's critical energy and water infrastructure.

“They discussed what needs Ukraine was facing as it heads into the winter and agreed that there needed to be a G7 co-ordinating mechanism to help Ukraine repair, restore and defend its critical energy and water infrastructure,” a G7 official told reporters.

“That's something that will be a core focus of this group in the days and weeks ahead.”

The countries also discussed the state of the battlefield to figure out which weapons to provide to Kyiv.

As Russia intensifies its attacks on the capital, Ukrainian forces are pushing in the south.

The Ukrainian national flag is raised over the destroyed vocational school building in Arkhanhelske, in the northern Kherson region. EPA

Residents of Ukraine’s Russian-occupied city of Kherson received messages on their phones urging them to evacuate as soon as possible, Ukraine’s military said.

Russian soldiers told civilians Ukraine’s army was preparing for an attack and told people to leave immediately.

Russian forces are preparing for a Ukrainian counteroffensive to seize back the southern city of Kherson, which was captured during the early days of the invasion.

In September, Russia annexed Kherson and three other regions of Ukraine and subsequently declared martial law in the four provinces.

The Kremlin-installed administration in Kherson has already moved tens of thousands of civilians out of the city.

Russia has been “occupying and evacuating” Kherson simultaneously, trying to convince Ukrainians that they are leaving when they are digging in, Nataliya Humenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Forces, told state television.

“There are defence units that have dug in there quite powerfully, a certain amount of equipment has been left, firing positions have been set up,” she said.

Russian forces are also digging in in a fiercely contested region in the east, worsening the tough conditions for residents and the defending Ukrainian army following Moscow’s annexation and declaration of martial law in Donetsk province.

The attacks have almost completely destroyed the power plants that serve the city of Bakhmut and the nearby town of Soledar, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the region’s Ukrainian governor, said. Shelling killed one civilian and wounded three, he reported on Saturday.

“The destruction is daily, if not hourly,” Mr Kyrylenko told state television.

Moscow-backed separatists have controlled part of Donetsk for nearly eight years before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Protecting the separatists’ self-proclaimed republic was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the invasion, and his troops have spent months trying to capture the entire province.

It comes as reports suggested the US is privately encouraging Ukraine to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia.

The Kremlin declined to comment on Monday on reports that Washington had held undisclosed talks with senior Russian officials about avoiding further escalation in the war.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 1:04 PM