(Kyiv) The capital and other Ukrainian cities were hit on Tuesday by new Russian strikes, the first since mid-October, a few days after a humiliating retreat of Russian forces in the south of the country and in the middle of the G20 summit in Indonesia .
Air defense warning sirens sounded across Ukraine shortly before 3:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m.). A few minutes later, explosions were heard in Kyiv, Lviv (west) and Kharkiv (northeast).
“Attack on the capital: according to preliminary information, two residential buildings were hit in the Pechersk district. Several missiles were shot down by air defense over Kyiv,” mayor Vitali Klitschko said shortly after on Telegram.
A Ukrainian presidential administration official released a video showing a five-story building in flames.
“At least” half of the inhabitants of Kyiv are currently without electricity following “a massive missile attack” from Russia, announced the mayor of the Ukrainian capital, Vitaly Klitschko. One death was also recorded.
“In the capital, at least half of the [habitants] are without electricity,” he said on Telegram. ” [L’opérateur national] triggered emergency power cuts across Ukraine,” including Kyiv, “to balance the grid,” he added.
In the northeast, “missile attack against the Industrialniï district in Kharkiv”, indicated on Telegram Igor Terekhov, mayor of the second city of Ukraine. And in the west, “explosions are heard in Lviv. Everyone stay safe! “, urged on Telegram his counterpart from Lviv, Andriï Sadovy.
In Lviv (west), the metro is notably “at a standstill”, Mayor Andriï Sadovy indicated on Telegram and part of the city of Kharkiv (north-east) is also suffering a power cut, according to the town hall. Voluntary power cuts have been put in place in the Sumy region, bordering Russia, according to regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky, to preserve the network.
The previous strikes that targeted the Ukrainian capital date back to October 10 and 17, and had above all targeted, as elsewhere in the country, Ukrainian energy infrastructure, in order to deprive the population of electricity at the approach of winter.
At the time, Moscow justified these “massive” strikes by the partial destruction of the bridge linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.
This time around, the strikes targeted Kyiv four days after the humiliating withdrawal of Russian forces from the northern Kherson region, including its eponymous capital, after nearly nine months of occupation.
New Russian retreat
The Kremlin had to resolve to do so because of a Ukrainian counter-offensive galvanized by the weapons delivered by the West. He had already had to withdraw from the north of the country in the spring, then from the northeast in September.
Sign of its difficulties on the ground, the occupation authorities in the region of Kherson, which Moscow claims the annexation, had to abandon a new city, Nova Kakhovka, accusing the Kyiv forces of bombarding it.
This city is located on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper, where the Russian forces had withdrawn last week because they could not hold the right (western) bank.
The Russian occupation does not indicate however if the Russian army remains deployed in the city or if it also withdraws.
After the November 11 Russian withdrawal from the right bank of the Dnieper, “Nova Kakhovka came under direct fire from heavy artillery and mortars of the Ukrainian Armed Forces”, the occupation administration said.
“Life in the city has become dangerous,” she added, saying “thousands” of residents had left.
This city is located near the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, captured by the Russians at the start of their offensive against Ukraine in late February and of great importance for supplying water to the Crimean peninsula, located further south.
Built in 1956, during the Soviet period, this hydroelectric dam sends water into the North Crimean Canal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has in the past accused Moscow forces of having “undermined” the dam and power plant units, adding that if the structure exploded, “more than 80 localities” would be flooded.
According to Kyiv, a destruction of this infrastructure would also have an impact on the water supply of the whole of southern Ukraine and could affect the cooling of the reactors of the nuclear power plant of Zaporijjia, the largest in Europe, which draws its water in the dam’s 18 million cubic meter artificial lake.
Moscow’s intransigence at the G20
According to the head of the Russian occupation in Kherson, Vladimir Saldo, the hydroelectric dam “no longer produces electricity today, because there is no need for it”.
On the diplomatic front, the leaders of many G20 countries, which brings together the biggest economic powers on the planet, have tried to increase pressure on Russia to end its war.
But Moscow, which had sent its head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov there to Indonesia, Russian President Vladimir Putin not having wanted to make the trip, gave no sign of wanting to stop its attacks.
The Russian minister accused Ukraine of preventing the holding of peace negotiations by demanding that Russian troops leave its territory.
“All the problems come from the Ukrainian side which categorically refuses negotiations and puts forward manifestly unrealistic demands,” he lamented.
Many Ukrainian and Russian prisoners subjected to torture, warns the UN
Many prisoners of war captured by the two warring parties in Ukraine since the Russian invasion are being subjected to torture and ill-treatment, the UN warned on Tuesday.
Matilda Bogner, who heads the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, described at length the abuse suffered by prisoners of war on both sides, some of whom are piled into trucks, others beaten or stripped or tortured. to electricity.
Over the past few months, the mission has interviewed 159 POWs (139 men and 20 women) held by Russia and its affiliated armed groups and 175 POWs (all men) captured by Ukraine.
The mission was granted unimpeded access to the places of internment of prisoners of war controlled by the Ukrainian government, but the United Nations, despite its requests, has still not been granted confidential access to prisoners of war interned by Russia and its affiliated armed groups.
However, the mission met with Ukrainian prisoners of war who had been released. Mme Bogner said those held by Russian forces were tortured “quite systematically”. Privates were tortured less severely than others, especially snipers and artillerymen.
“The vast majority” of those interviewed captured by Russian forces and its allied armed groups “told us that they had been tortured and ill-treated during their internment,” Ms.me Bogner. Not only to extort information from them, but also to “intimidate and humiliate” them on a daily basis.