Ukrainians continue to face major power cuts due to bombings against the country’s infrastructure by Russian troops, which this Sunday announced the destruction of a fuel depot of the Kiev Air Force.
Ukraine’s national operator Ukrenergo carried out a series of power cuts in Kiev on Sunday to “stabilize” the supply, the private electricity company DTEK said.
The interruptions, which affect several neighborhoods of the Ukrainian capital in an alternative way, were not supposed to last more than four hours, according to DTEK, but the company did not rule out the possibility of prolonged cuts “according to the magnitude of the damage” caused by the Moscow attacks. The Ukrainian government announced on Saturday that more than a million homes were without electricity in the country.
Russia intensified bombings against Ukraine’s power grid more than a week ago and destroyed a third of the sector’s infrastructure just weeks before the start of winter. Kiev authorities urged citizens and businesses to reduce consumption.
Destroyed fuel depot
The bombings destroyed, on Sunday, a depot with almost 100,000 tons of fuel destined for the Ukrainian Air Force in the town of Smela, in the Cherkasy region (center), the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement. The Russians also attacked several ammunition depots and a diesel depot for military vehicles.
In the context of international dialogue, the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoimu spoke by phone with French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu, Turkish Minister Hulusi Akar and, unusually, with UK Minister Ben Wallace to talk about the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian army announced.
During the call with Lecornu, the Russian minister warned that the situation in Ukraine “tends to escalate further and out of control”, according to a statement. Shoigu expressed concern to colleagues at “the possible provocations by Ukraine with the use of a ‘dirty bomb'”.
Lecornu recalled that “France rejects any form of escalation, especially nuclear.” On Friday, Shoigu spoke by phone with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Border regions on alert
Russia is currently facing a major counteroffensive from Ukraine. Moscow denounced the “considerable increase” in Ukrainian attacks on several Russian border regions, including Belgorod, Kursk and Briansk.
Two defense lines have been built in Kursk to face a possible attack by Ukrainian forces, the region’s governor, Roman Starovoit, announced on Sunday. “We are prepared to face any attack on our territory,” he said. The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, also on the border with Ukraine, announced on Saturday the start of construction of a defense line.
On Saturday, two people were killed in Ukrainian attacks on civilian infrastructure in the Belgorod region and nearly 15,000 residents were left without power in their homes for several hours, local authorities said.
Pro-Russian officials in the Moscow-annexed Kherson region (southern Ukraine) on Saturday urged civilians to “immediately” abandon the regional capital in the face of advancing Kiev troops.
Since Wednesday, authorities designated by Moscow have been organizing withdrawal operations to the left bank of the Dniepr River, on the edge of Kherson. One person died on Sunday in this city in the explosion of a homemade bomb, the pro-Russian authorities announced. Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city taken by the Russians at the start of their offensive, which began on 24 February.