Russia Attacks Ukraine’s Infrastructure, Blackouts

KYIV, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Critical infrastructure across Ukraine was hit by a dozen Russian missiles on Saturday, the Ukrainian air force said.

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

Since October 10, Russia has launched a series of devastating salvos on Ukraine’s power 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 authorities in regions across Ukraine began reporting strikes on energy facilities and power outages as engineers scrambled to restore the devastated network. Officials advised residents to store water in case of a disconnection.

As of Saturday afternoon, presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said more than a million people were without electricity across Ukraine, with 672,000 in the western region of Khmelnytskyi alone.

Air raid sirens sounded again across the country at 11.15am local time (0815 GMT) after the first wave of missiles struck early in the morning.

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

“Deliberate strikes on Ukraine’s critical civilian infrastructure are part of Russia’s genocide of Ukrainians,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

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

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

“The amount of damage may be comparable or even greater than the effects of the October 10-12 attacks,” Ukrainerko wrote on the Telegram app, referring to the first strikes on Ukraine’s power system last week.

Meanwhile, Petro Panteleev, deputy head of the Kyiv city administration, warned that Russian strikes could leave Ukraine’s capital without power and heat “for days or weeks”.

“This possibility exists… we need to understand and remember this,” he told Ukrainian outlet Economichna Pravda.

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reporting by Max Hunter in Kyiv and Valentin Okhrenko in Mykolayiv; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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