Ukraine has restored power to almost six million people in the last 24 hours after a barrage of Russian missiles on Friday damaged critical energy infrastructure across the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
“Repair work continues without a break after yesterday’s terrorist attack,” he said in his nightly video address on Saturday. “Of course, there is still a lot of work to do to stabilise the system.”
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“There are problems with the heat supplies. There are big problems with water supplies,” Zelenskyy added, saying the capital Kyiv, as well as the cities Vinnytsia and Lviv further to the west, were experiencing the most difficulty.
Ukrainian officials said Russia fired more than 70 missiles on Friday in one of its heaviest barrages since the Kremlin’s February 24 invasion, forcing emergency blackouts nationwide.
Russia has rained missiles on the country’s 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.
Ukrainian authorities scrambled to repair and restore vital services a day after the attacks, as residents navigated Kyiv gripped by fog and girded for a holiday season marked by uncertainty.
In Kyiv, heating was restored to three-quarters of the city and electricity returned to two-thirds, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
“But schedules of emergency outages are being implemented,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Because the deficit of electricity is significant.”
Klitschko also said the city’s metro system was back in service and that all residents had been reconnected to the water supply.
Russia’s defence ministry claimed its “high-precision” weapons hit parts of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex as well as energy and military administrative facilities.
“As a result of the strike, the transportation of weapons and ammunition of foreign production has been thwarted,” it said on Saturday, adding that Ukraine’s plants producing weapons, military equipment and ammunition had been disabled.
Five people killed
Across Ukraine on Saturday, air raid sirens wailed. A 36-year-old man was killed inside his car after Russian forces shelled the southern city of Kherson, the regional governor said.
Yaroslav Yanushevych wrote on his Telegram channel that Russian troops had struck the city’s western district with artillery and multiple rocket launchers, also injuring a 70-year-old woman.
Ukrainian forces liberated the city from Russian occupation on November 11 but officials say Kremlin forces have continued shelling it from positions on the other side of the Dnieper River.
The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region said earlier on Saturday that rescue workers had recovered the body of a one-year-old boy from the rubble of a residential building in the city of Kryvyi Rih on Friday morning.
“It is difficult to write about something like this,” Valentyn Reznichenko said on Telegram.
The death toll from Friday’s Russian attack on Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine rose to four after the boy’s body was found.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday visited the operational headquarters of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Putin has sought proposals from the commanders of his armed forces on how they think Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine should proceed, the Kremlin said.
In video footage released by the Kremlin on Saturday, Putin presided over a meeting of about a dozen people at a circular table, flanked by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov. Both men have been heavily criticised by hawkish commentators in Russia.