Ukraine faces power cuts after Russian strikes, others flee Kherson

KYIV, Oct 22 (Reuters) – More than a dozen Russian missiles pounded critical infrastructure across Ukraine on Saturday, the Ukrainian Air Force said, with several regions reporting strikes on energy facilities and power outages.

Meanwhile, Russian occupation authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson urged civilians to leave immediately, citing what they called a tense military situation.

The Ukrainian army said it was advancing as its forces moved south through the Kherson region, taking control of at least two villages it said Russian troops had abandoned.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram app regarding the Russian attacks on infrastructure that began overnight: “The enemy launched a massive attack: 36 rockets, most of which were shot down.”

The air force command had earlier said 33 missiles were fired at Ukraine on Saturday morning, adding that 18 of them were shot down.

Since October 10, Russia has launched devastating salvos on Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure, affecting at least half of its thermal power generation and up to 40% of the entire system.

Shortly after daybreak on Saturday, officials in regions across Ukraine began reporting strikes at energy facilities and power outages as engineers rushed to restore the grid. Governors advised residents to stock up on water.

Parts of Kyiv suffered power cuts in the early evening. In a central area of ​​the capital, shops were closed and traffic lights were extinguished.

Reuters witnesses in the southern city of Mykolaiv reported a power outage lasting several hours, disrupting cellphone signals.

In the southeastern town of Nikopol, which is regularly shelled from Russian positions across the Dnipro River, local authorities have warned that air raid sirens will be turned off due to power cuts and that instead, emergency vehicles circulating in the city would warn of incoming aerial threats.

Presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said Saturday afternoon more than a million people were without power, including 672,000 in the western Khmelnytskyi region.

After an initial wave of missiles in the morning, air raid sirens sounded again across the country at 11:15 a.m. (0815 GMT).

Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Moscow wanted to create a new wave of refugees in Europe with the strikes, while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that they constituted genocide.

Moscow has admitted targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians.


Public grid operator Ukrenergo said the attacks targeted transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine, but supply restrictions were imposed in 10 regions, including Kyiv.

“The scale of the damage is comparable or may exceed the consequences of the attacks (between) October 10 and 12,” Ukrenergo wrote on the Telegram app, referring to the first wave of strikes on the electrical system last week. .

Deputy head of Kyiv city administration Petro Panteleev has warned that the Russian strikes could leave the Ukrainian capital without electricity or heating for “several days or weeks”.

“This possibility exists…we have to understand and remember it,” he told the Ekonomichna Pravda newspaper.

In Kherson, which connects Ukraine to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, thousands of civilians have left in recent days across the Dnipro after warnings of an imminent Ukrainian offensive to retake the city.

But Saturday’s warning was delivered with renewed urgency.

“Due to the tense situation at the front, the increased danger of massive shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro!” Russian occupation authorities said in a statement posted on Telegram.

The Ukrainian General Staff, in its evening report on Facebook, said that Ukrainian forces were moving into areas of the region abandoned by Russian forces.

“Individual units of the Russian occupation forces continue to leave the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region,” the report said.

He said Russian forces had left the towns of Charivne on the west bank of the Dnipro and Chkalovo on the east bank and that officers and medical personnel had been evacuated from the large center of Beryslav, also on the west bank of the river. .

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Reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv, additional reporting by Felix Hoske in Kyiv and Valentyn Ogirenko in Mykolaiv; edited by Kirsten Donovan, Jason Neely, Ron Popeski and Diane Craft

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