Ukrainians brace for bleak winter as Russian strikes cripple power capacity

  • Ukrainians prepare for winter with little or no heating
  • Temperatures are already below freezing in several areas
  • Residents of Kherson can express interest in moving to another place
  • The Ukrainian security service raided the famous Kyiv monastery

KYIV, Nov 22 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to conserve energy amid relentless Russian attacks that have halved the country’s energy capacity, as the U.N. Health Organization warned of a Human disaster in Ukraine this winter has warned.

Officials said millions of Ukrainians, including in the capital Kyiv, could face power cuts until at least the end of March due to strikes. Citizens in the recently liberated southern city of Kherson may apply to relocate to areas where heating and security problems are more acute, they said.

Temperatures have been unseasonably mild this fall, but are starting to drop below freezing and are expected to drop to -20C (-4F) or even lower in some areas during the winter months.

After a series of battlefield setbacks that included the withdrawal of its forces from the city of Kherson to the east bank of the mighty Dnieper River, which bisects the country, Russia has targeted Ukraine’s power facilities with missile strikes.

“The systematic damage to our energy system caused by Russian terrorist attacks is so significant that all our people and businesses need to be aware and spread their consumption throughout the day,” Zelensky said in his video address.

Try to limit your personal electricity consumption.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that hundreds of hospitals and medical centers lack fuel, water and electricity to meet the basic needs of the people.

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“Ukraine’s health system is facing its darkest days in the war so far. Having endured more than 700 attacks, it is now also a victim of an energy crisis,” said Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, in a statement after visiting Ukraine. has been.” .

blanket

Sergei Kovalenko, head of Yasno, which supplies energy to Kyiv, said on Monday that workers were racing to repair damaged electricity infrastructure.

“Get warm clothes, blankets, think about options that will help you get through a long layoff,” Kovalenko said. Better do it now than you will be miserable.

In a telegram to Kherson residents — especially the elderly, women with children and those who are ill or disabled — Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vershchuk published ways residents can express their interest in leaving the country.

Referring to security and infrastructure problems, he wrote: “You can evacuate to safer areas of the country for the winter season.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s blackouts and attacks on energy infrastructure were consequences of Kyiv’s unwillingness to negotiate, the state-run Tass news agency reported late last week.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Ukraine’s president, said Russia was bombing Kherson from across the Dnipro River now that its forces had fled.

“There is no military logic: they just want revenge on local people,” he tweeted late Monday.

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Ukraine’s Suspilne news agency reported new explosions in the city of Kherson on Tuesday morning.

Moscow denies the deliberate targeting of civilians in what it calls “special military operations” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities.

Kyiv and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

The nine-month war has killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted millions and affected the global economy, driving up food and energy prices. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday that the world’s worst energy crisis since the 1970s will sharply reduce growth, with Europe the hardest hit.

Attack on the monastery

The SBU security service and Ukrainian police raided a 1,000-year-old Orthodox Christian monastery in Kyiv early Tuesday as part of an operation to counter “subversive activities of Russian special services,” the SBU said.

The sprawling Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – or Monastery of the Caves – is a Ukrainian cultural treasure and headquarters of the Russian-sponsored branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Russian Orthodox Church condemned the attack as an “act of intimidation”.

Fighting continued in the east, where Russia has sent some of the forces it moved from around Kherson in the south, pressing its offensive along the front line west of the city of Donetsk, which has been under the control of its proxies since 2014. Has set.

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The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced on Tuesday: “The enemy does not stop shelling the positions of our forces and settlements near the contact line (in the Donetsk region).

“The attacks continue to damage critical infrastructure and civilian homes.”

The governor of the region, Paolo Kirilino, announced on the Telegram messenger program that four people were killed and four were injured in the areas controlled by Ukraine in the Donetsk region during the last 24 hours.

Russian shelling on Tuesday also targeted a humanitarian aid distribution center in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Orihiv, killing one volunteer and wounding two women, the regional governor said.

Orihiv is about 110 kilometers east of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which has been shelled again in the past few days, with Russia and Ukraine blaming the blasts.

International Atomic Energy Agency experts visited this site on Monday. The agency, which has repeatedly called for an immediate end to fighting in the region to avoid a major disaster, said experts found extensive damage but nothing that would compromise the plant’s essential systems.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that no major progress had been made in establishing a security zone around the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest.

Reporting by Alexander Kozhukhar and Maria Starkova in Kyiv, Lydia Kelly in Melbourne and Ronald Popsky in Winnipeg. By Sherry Navaratnam and Gareth Jones. Edited by Lincoln Fest and Alex Richardson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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