Russia pound Ukraine infrastructure, power outages

Kyiv (Reuters) – The Ukrainian air force said vital infrastructure across Ukraine was hit by more than a dozen Russian missiles on Saturday, with several regions reporting strikes on power facilities and power outages.

The Ukrainian Air Force Command reported that 33 missiles were fired at Ukraine on Saturday morning, 18 of which were shot down.

Since October 10, Russia has launched a series of devastating missiles into Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, hitting at least half of its thermal power generation and up to 40% of the entire system.

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Shortly after dawn on Saturday, local officials in regions across Ukraine began reporting strikes on power facilities and blackouts as engineers scrambled to repair the devastated grid. Governors advised residents to stockpile water in the event of a water cut.

Presidential Adviser Kirilu Tymoshenko said that as of Saturday afternoon, more than 1 million people across Ukraine were without electricity, of whom 672,000 were in the western region of Khmelnytskyi alone.

After the first wave of missiles struck early in the morning, sirens sounded again across the country at 11.15 a.m. local time (0815 GMT).

Ukraine’s presidential aide Mikhailo Podolyak said Moscow wanted to create a new wave of refugees to Europe through the strikes, while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said they constituted genocide.

“Deliberate strikes on vital civilian infrastructure in Ukraine are part of the Russian genocide of Ukrainians,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Moscow has acknowledged targeting energy infrastructure, but denies targeting civilians.

State grid operator Ukrengo said the attacks targeted transport infrastructure in western Ukraine, but power supply restrictions were imposed in ten regions across the country, including the capital, Kyiv.

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

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

“This possibility exists … we have to understand and remember that,” he told Ukraine’s Economy Pravda outlets.

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Additional reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv and Valentin Ogirenko in Mykolaiv; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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