Tue, 06 Dec 2022 07:21 AM (IST)
UKRAINE warned there would be emergency blackouts once again in several regions as it repaired damage from missile attacks it said destroyed homes and knocked out power, while Moscow accused Kyiv of attacking deep inside Russia with drones.
A new Russian missile barrage had been anticipated in Ukraine for days and it took place on Monday just as emergency blackouts were due to end, with previous damage repaired.
The strikes, which plunged parts of Ukraine back into freezing darkness with temperatures below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), were the latest in weeks of attacks hitting critical infrastructure and cutting off heat and water to many.
At least four people were killed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, adding that most of some 70 missiles were shot down.
"In many regions, there will have to be emergency blackouts," he said in a late Monday video address. "We will be doing everything to restore stability."
Moscow has been hitting Ukraine's energy infrastructure roughly weekly since early October as it has been forced to retreat on some battlefronts.
Zaporizhzhia Region Casualties
In the Zaporizhzhia region, at least two people were killed and several houses destroyed, the deputy head of the presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said.
Reuters video showed two bodies covered with blankets lying next to a damaged car in the village of Novosofiivka, some 25 km (16 miles) east of the southern city of Zaporizhzhia.
Missiles also hit energy plants in the regions of Kyiv and Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, Odesa in the south and Sumy in the north, officials said.
About half of the Kyiv region - which does not include the capital and which had a population of about 1.8 million before the war - will be without electricity in the coming days, the region's governor said.
Ukraine had only just returned to scheduled power outages from Monday rather than the emergency blackouts it has suffered since widespread Russian strikes on Nov. 23, the worst of the attacks on energy infrastructure.
But Ukraine’s largest private energy provider, DTEK, on Monday reported having to disconnect one of its facilities from the power grid, limiting power and heat supply, in what it said was the 17th Russian attack on its sites in the last two months.
The attacks caused damage to main transmission lines and it would take a day or two to restore normal generation in the system, the head of Ukrenergo, the company overseeing the Ukrainian power grid, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, said.
Ukraine's air force said it downed over 60 of more than 70 missiles fired by Russia on Monday. Russia says it is waging a "special military operation" in Ukraine to rid it of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to grab territory from its pro-Western neighbour.
Russia's defence ministry on Monday said Ukrainian drones attacked two air bases at Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia, killing three servicemen and wounding four, with two aircraft damaged by pieces of the drones when they were shot down.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the attacks. If it was behind them, they would be the deepest strikes inside the Russian heartland since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The New York Times, citing a senior Ukrainian official, said drones targetting two military bases were launched from Ukrainian territory, and at least one of the strikes was made with the help of special forces close to the base.