(Kyiv) Ukraine was working on Saturday to restore electricity after new Russian missile strikes that caused power cuts across the country, denounced as war crimes by the European Union.
Throughout the country, plunged into freezing cold, interventions are underway to restore electricity.
In Kyiv, where a third of the inhabitants are still without electricity, Mayor Vitali Klitchko announced that the circulation of the metro, interrupted on Friday to allow residents to take refuge there, had resumed early Saturday morning and that the supply of water had been restored.
Electricity was also restored on Saturday in Kharkiv (east), Ukraine’s second largest city, regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov said.
National electricity operator Ukrenergo, which had imposed emergency cuts following the attacks, confirmed on Saturday that the energy system “continues to recover” while stressing that the energy deficit remains “significant”.
A total of 74 missiles – mostly cruise missiles – were fired by Russia on Friday, 60 of which were shot down by air defense, according to Ukraine’s military.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv and fourteen regions had been affected by power or water cuts.
“All their targets today are civilians. The Russian strikes mainly affect energy and heating supply facilities,” said the Ukrainian President.
In the city of Kryvyi Rig (south), a Russian strike hit a residential building. According to a new report communicated by the regional governor, Valentin Reznitchenko, a 64-year-old woman and a young couple with a little boy died, and 13 people injured.
In Kherson, a southern city recently recaptured by Ukraine, renewed Russian shelling killed a 36-year-old man and injured a 70-year-old woman, Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Saturday.
On Friday, pro-Russian authorities in the eastern Luhansk region, for their part, accused Ukrainian forces of artillery fire on two localities, killing 11 and wounding 17 on Friday.
Faced with a series of military setbacks this fall, Russia has opted since October for a tactic of massive strikes aimed at destroying Ukraine’s electrical networks and transformers, plunging millions of civilians into cold and darkness in the dead of winter. .
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with those responsible for the military operation in Ukraine, according to a Kremlin statement released on Saturday.
During a visit to the headquarters of the forces involved in Ukraine, notably in the presence of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, President Putin asked the military commanders for their “proposals” on the continuation of the offensive.
“Cruel and inhumane attacks”
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell condemned this new “example of the blind terror of the Kremlin”, “cruel and inhuman attacks” against the population which “constitute war crimes”.
The EU has also approved new sanctions targeting Moscow which notably prohibit the export of drone engines to Russia or third countries able to supply them.
For its part, France condemned the Russian bombardments on Friday. “These acts constitute war crimes and in no way weaken France’s determination to support Ukraine and fight against impunity,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russian and Belarusian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko are due to meet in Minsk on Monday for a summit intended to further strengthen their alliance.
Belarus, Russia’s only ally in this war, loaned its territory to enable the Russian assault on Kyiv at the start of the invasion on February 24.
According to Mr. Lukashenko, the summit will be “above all [consacré] to the economic sphere”, but the two leaders will also speak of “the politico-military situation around [leurs] country “.
In an interview published on Thursday, Ukrainian army commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny said he was convinced that Russia would attempt a new attack on Kyiv in the first months of 2023.
For his part, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Moscow was preparing for a long war against Ukraine in which the Alliance’s allies must continue to supply weapons until Mr Putin realizes that he “cannot win on the battlefield”.
“We should not underestimate Russia. She is preparing for a long war,” Stoltenberg told AFP.