Zelensky: Russia targeted Ukraine energy grid in ‘new massive strike’

Ukrainian emergency service member stands next to a truck that carries the remains of a missile after a Russian attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Russia launched a new onslaught of missiles against Ukrainian energy facilities on Saturday, knocking out power for many people in western Ukraine, Kyiv said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that the strikes spanned Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytsky, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Odessa, Rivne, Volyn and  Zaporizhia regions, while other officials noted impacts in the Cherkasy and Lutsk regions.

“We continue eliminating the aftermath of today’s terrorist attacks on our infrastructure,” Zelensky said. “The geography of this new massive strike is very wide.” 

Kyiv has indicated that Russia is increasingly targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in its latest waves of strikes and as of last week had knocked out more than 30 percent of the country’s power facilities.

The strikes have led officials to implement electricity-saving measures, including halting electricity exports and asking residents to avoid using major appliances.

“The main target of terrorists is energy,” Zelensky said. “Therefore, please be even more careful than before about the need to consciously consume electricity. The stability of the power industry of our entire state depends on each city and district of Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s state emergency service noted on its Telegram channel that missiles on Saturday landed at energy facilities in the cities of Khmelnytskyi and Shepetivka, which are located southwest of Kyiv. 

No Ukrainians were injured or died in the strikes, but the agency said the strikes caused “large-scale fires and significant destruction.”

Ukrenergo, the country’s electricity service, similarly described the Khmelnytskyi attack as “massive” on Telegram, adding that 70 crews were out still completing work to restore energy supplies to customers in the Rivne, Cherkasy and Volyn regions.

The company said it also had to “restrict” customers in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr to avoid network congestion in those areas.

Ukrenergo said the scale of the damage on Saturday may exceed the consequences of a barrage of missile strikes Russia launched earlier this month in Kyiv and other areas of the country.

The dozens of strikes come as part of Russia’s escalation in the conflict in recent weeks, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to call up to 300,000 reservists, annex four Ukrainian regions and declare martial law in the areas.

Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, are continuing to press ahead in regions Putin annexed. Ukrainians have made advances in the southern Kherson Oblast in recent days, with observers expecting a Ukrainian offensive to reach the key city of Kherson in the coming days.

Tags russia Russia-Ukraine war ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky

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