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Ukraine battles to restore power as millions face blackouts | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Ukraine is fighting to reconnect water and electricity services to millions of people after a barrage of Russian missiles and drones hit its energy infrastructure on Wednesday.

By Thursday night, more than 24 hours after Russian strikes ravaged parts of Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 60 percent of homes were still suffering from an emergency power outage. With temperatures dropping below freezing, Kyiv officials said they were able to restore water service, but are still working to restore lighting and heating.

“There is a very strong impression that the Russians are waging war on civilian infrastructure,” Jan Egeland, executive director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement on Thursday.

“Ordinary citizens cannot survive the entire winter without electricity, heating and running water.

Ukraine’s energy system is on the brink of collapse and millions of people have been subjected to emergency blackouts in recent weeks as Russia attacks power facilities in an apparent effort to force surrender after nine months of war. I was. announced territorial targets.

Seen from space, Ukraine becomes a dark patch on Earth at night, according to satellite images released by NASA.

While the World Health Organization has warned of “life-threatening” consequences and estimates millions of people could leave their homes as a result, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield said: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is “clearly weaponizing winter”. To inflict immeasurable suffering on the Ukrainian people. ”

The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she said Wednesday.

Russia denies attack

Wednesday’s attacks cut three Ukrainian nuclear power plants from the country’s power grid and caused blackouts in neighboring Moldova, whose energy networks are connected to Ukraine.power is almost completely back in former Soviet Moldova on Thursday.

Ukraine’s energy ministry said all three nuclear facilities had been reconnected by Thursday morning.

Ihor Terekhov, mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, near the border with Russia, said water had been restored to houses.

“We turned the power back on. Trust me, it was very difficult,” he said.

Katerina Lucikina, a 31-year-old worker at Kyiv’s health department, leaves after collecting rainwater from Kyiv’s drains. [John Leicester/AP Photo]

But chaos continued across the country, and the central bank warned that the suspension could hamper banks’ operations.

A new series of attacks on Thursday killed at least four people in the southern city of Kherson, recently recaptured by Ukraine, a senior official there said.

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of sending about 70 cruise missiles and drones into the attack, killing 10 people and wounding about 50 on Wednesday.

However, the Russian Defense Ministry has denied an attack inside Kyiv, claiming that Ukrainian and foreign air defense systems caused the damage.

“Not a single attack was carried out against targets within the city of Kyiv,” the report said.

“Crime against humanity”

The Kremlin said Ukraine would be ultimately responsible for the outcome of the attack, and acquiescence to Russia’s demands could end the attack.

Ukraine “has every opportunity to resolve the situation, meet Russia’s demands and, as a result, end all possible suffering of civilians,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s strategy of destroying its power infrastructure would not weaken Ukraine’s resolve to retake territories occupied by Moscow.

“We have to give back all our land … because I believe the battlefield is the way when there is no diplomacy,” Zelensky told the Financial Times.

On Wednesday, Zelensky called the Russian attack a “crime against humanity” in a video address to the UN Security Council.

Kyiv residents who spoke to Al Jazeera’s Rory Charans echoed Zelensky’s sentiments.

“I don’t know anyone who is ready to go to negotiations with the Russians for these strikes,” said Alena Piskun.

The Russian army has suffered a series of defeats on the battlefield. This month they withdrew from the only provincial capital they occupied, the city of Kherson, destroying critical infrastructure as they retreated.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors said on Thursday that authorities had found nine torture sites used by the Russians in Kherson, as well as “the bodies of 432 murdered civilians.”

People sit in a candlelit pub during a blackout in Lviv.
People sit in a candlelit pub during a blackout in Lviv [Roman Baluk/Reuters]

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