A new wave of Russian missile strikes is pushing Ukraine into a mid-winter disaster.
Ukraine’s power grid, which has been partially restored in recent days, is on the verge of collapse due to the latest Russian missile attack.
The Ukrainian government has warned of another emergency power outage in some areas where Kiev has repaired damage from previous large-scale missile attacks, while Moscow accused Kiev of attacking deep inside Russia with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The latest Russian raids have plunged parts of Ukraine into freezing darkness with temperatures below zero, marking the latest in weeks of attacks on vital Kiev infrastructure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at least four people were killed, adding that most of the 70 rockets were shot down on December 5.
“In many areas, there will be an emergency power outage,” he said in a video address later in the day. “We will do everything to restore stability.”
The United States said it would convene an online meeting on December 8 with oil and gas executives to discuss how it can support Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Reuters reported. said.
Moscow has been attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure almost weekly since the beginning of October.
In the Zaporizhzhia area, at least two people were killed and several houses destroyed, said Deputy Chief of Staff to the President of Ukraine, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
The missiles also hit power plants in the Kiev and Vinnytsia regions in central Ukraine, Odesa in the south, and Sumy in the north. According to President Zelenskiy, the capital Kiev, with more than 3 million people, is one of the areas with the most severe power outages.
Kiev Governor Oleksiy Kuleba announced that 40% of households in the area lost power after the attack. He also praised Ukraine’s air defense, saying there had been no “serious consequences” after the strike.
Authorities in the southern provinces of Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Odesa, the central cities of Vinnytsia and Kryvyi Rih, and Sumy in the north also reported that power plants had been hit by rockets. Clean water and heating in these localities were also interrupted.
Russia’s latest attack comes as Ukraine has just begun a period of rotating power cuts, rather than an emergency power cut after November 23, the worst attack on its energy infrastructure Kiev.
Ukraine’s largest private electricity company DTEK announced it had to disconnect a plant from the grid, restricting energy and heating supplies, adding that its facility had been raided 17 times in the past two months.
Ukraine says attacks on infrastructure are “war crimes”, accusing Russia of intentionally harming civilians and breaking its will. Ukraine’s air force said it shot down more than 60 of more than 70 missiles fired by Russia on December 5.
However, Moscow denied it and explained that it targeted Ukrainian infrastructure to disrupt the flow of US and allied weapons to Kiev.