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Vladimir Putin's blitz plunges Ukraine into darkness

Vladimir Putin’s blitz plunges Ukraine into darkness: Missile attacks knock out one in three power stations as war-torn nation faces winter

  • A missile and drone blitz has knocked out a third of the country’s power stations 
  • 1,162 towns or villages across 16 Ukrainian regions were now without power 
  • Zelensky said targeting of power supplies was ‘causing massive blackouts’

Ukraine’s energy supplies are at critical lows after Russian strikes, Kyiv warned last night.

A missile and drone blitz has knocked out a third of the country’s power stations in just eight days as winter approaches, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Further drone attacks on energy supplies left parts of the capital without electricity for several hours yesterday. At least three residents were killed.

Officials said 1,162 towns or villages across 16 Ukrainian regions were now without power.

Mr Zelensky said Vladimir Putin’s targeting of power supplies, a crime under the laws of armed conflict, was ‘causing massive blackouts’ with hospitals forced on to back-up generators.

Further drone attacks on energy supplies left parts of the capital without electricity for several hours yesterday. At least three residents were killed. A storage facility is seen after it was hit by a Russian drone near Mykolaiv

‘No space left for negotiations with Putin’s regime,’ Mr Zelensky said, once again ruling out the prospect of peace talks with the Kremlin despot. ‘The terrorist state will not change anything for itself with such actions,’ he added.

‘It will only confirm its destructive and murderous essence, for which it will certainly be held to account.’

The main power station in the central city of Dnipro, the gateway to Ukraine’s partially occupied industrial heartland of the Donbas, was also hit. And Zhytomyr, home to military bases and key industries west of Kyiv, was left without energy.

Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn said 150,000 of its 250,000 residents were still without electricity last night.

Officials said 1,162 towns or villages across 16 Ukrainian regions were now without power. Mr Zelensky said Vladimir Putin’s targeting of power supplies, a crime under the laws of armed conflict, was ‘causing massive blackouts’ with hospitals forced on to back-up generators

Pavlo Raboschuk, a 33-year-old computer repairman in Zhytomyr, said he was ready ‘for a tough and dark winter’ with dehydrated foods, warm clothes and batteries stockpiled at home. ‘Only swear words come to mind,’ he added.

Iryna Kolodzynska, a school headmistress, managed to have students back at their desks within 30 minutes of the air raid all-clear. ‘We must not break down,’ she said. ‘There are regions that suffered much more from the war than we did.’

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said: ‘The situation is critical now across the country because our regions are dependent on one another. The whole country should prepare for electricity, water and heating outages.’

Oleksandr Khorunzhyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s emergency services, said more than 70 people have been killed and 240 injured since Russia’s assault began last Monday.

In the north east, Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, some 25 miles from the border with Russia, was hit with eight missiles. The UK Ministry of Defence wrote in its daily intelligence briefing that ‘a key objective of this strike campaign is to cause widespread damage to Ukraine’s energy distribution network’. 

‘As Russia has suffered battlefield setbacks since August, it has highly likely gained a greater willingness to strike civilian infrastructure,’ the MoD declared.

A senior Western official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said kamikaze drones supplied to Moscow by Iran were being used because Russian missiles were running out.

‘Our assessment is that the ability for the Russians to continue with these saturating barrages of precision weapons is getting to the point now where this will be unsustainable,’ the source said.

But pro-Kremlin Telegram channels lavished praise on Putin for attacking energy infrastructure in civilian areas. Moscow denied it was using Iranian drones. ‘Russian tech is being used,’ Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitry Peskov said.

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