Ukraine energy operator lifts emergency after Russian attacks

Ukrainian energy use dropped more than 50 percent after the Russian attacks, power grid operator Ukrenergo said.

Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo has lifted the state of emergency it declared earlier in the day after Russian attacks cut nationwide energy consumption by more than 50 percent, it said in a statement.

A senior Ukrainian official said earlier that emergency power shutdowns were being brought in across the country after Russian missiles hit energy facilities in several regions.

Ukrenergo warned Ukrainians it could take longer to restore electricity after dozens of Russian missiles were fired at key infrastructure sites in the north, south and centre of the country.

“Priority will be given to critical infrastructure: hospitals, water supply facilities, heat supply facilities, sewage treatment plants,” the national energy provider said in a statement Friday.

In one of its biggest attacks since the start of the war, Russia sent more than 70 missiles at Ukraine, knocking out power in the second-biggest city and forcing Kyiv to implement emergency blackouts nationwide, Ukrainian officials said.

Three people were killed when an apartment block was hit in the central city of Kryvyi Rih and another died in shelling in the southern Kherson region, they said.

Russian-installed officials in occupied eastern Ukraine said 12 people had died by Ukrainian shelling.

In an evening video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia still had enough missiles for several more significant attacks and he again urged Western allies to supply Kyiv with more and better air defence systems.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine was strong enough to bounce back. “Whatever the rocket worshippers from Moscow are counting on, it still won’t change the balance of power in this war,” he said.

Kyiv had warned on Thursday that Moscow planned a new all-out offensive early next year, approximately a year after its February 24 invasion, in which wide areas of Ukraine have been shattered by missiles and artillery but little of it taken by Russian forces.

Russia has rained missiles on Ukrainian energy infrastructure almost weekly since early October after several battlefield defeats but Friday’s attack seemed to inflict more damage than many others, with snow and ice now widespread.

Moscow says the attacks are aimed at disabling Ukraine’s military. Ukrainians call them a war crime.

“They want to destroy us and make us slaves. But we will not surrender. We will endure,” said Lidiya Vasilieva, 53, as she headed for shelter at a railway station in the capital Kyiv.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said late on Friday that just a third of the city’s residents had both heat and water and 40 percent electricity. The metro system, a crucial transport artery, remained shut down, he added.

Zelenskyy urged Ukrainians to be patient and called on regional authorities to be more creative in arranging emergency energy supplies.

The northeastern city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest, was also badly hit, with the attacks knocking out electricity, heating and running water. The Interfax Ukraine news agency cited regional governor Oleh Syniehubov as saying later on Friday that 55 percent of the city’s, and 85 percent of the surrounding region’s, power was back up.

Liudmyla Kovylko, cooking at an emergency food distribution point, said life must go on. “We heard explosions, the power went out. People need to be fed. We’re cooking on a wood stove.”

Source: News Agencies