Russia destroys 30% of Ukraine’s power stations in just over a week, claims Zelensky

Ukraine says situation is ‘critical’

David Harding
Tuesday 18 October 2022 17:07 BST
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv (via REUTERS)

A third of all Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed over the past week by Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed.

The widespread destruction comes as Moscow steps up a pre-winter campaign to target infrastructure.

In recent days, missiles have struck power generating facilities across a number of Ukrainian cities. Moscow has acknowledged targeting energy plants, while Ukraine said water infrastructure facilities had also been hit.

“Since 10 October, 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country,” the president said on Twitter.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, told Ukrainian television that the “situation is critical now across the country”.

Three people were killed in the capital on Tuesday as Moscow pounded Ukrainian energy facilities, causing explosions, fires and blackouts, said Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Power cuts were not only reported in parts of Kyiv, but also many parts of the Zhytomyr region, west of the capital, and Dnipro and Mykolaiv in the south.

Further strikes took place on Tuesday, which came a day after Russia sent swarms of ‘kamikaze’ drones to attack infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities, killing at least five people.

The mayor of Zhytomyr, a city of 263,000 people, said Tuesday’s attacks had knocked out the power and water supply, while two explosions rocked an energy facility in the city of Dnipro, a city of nearly one million, causing serious damage.

There were reports too of power facilities being targeted in Kharkiv, close to the Russian border, as well as in Zelenskiy’s home town of Kryvyi Rih.

Emergency services responding to a fire after shelling in Kyiv
Emergency services responding to a fire after shelling in Kyiv (EPA)

Ukraine’s defence ministry said the bodies of five children were exhumed in the city of Lyman which had been until recently occupied by Russian forces.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence said the three girls and two boys – all whom had died from shrapnel wounds – were between the aged of one and 14.

At least 425 children had been killed by Russia since the start of the war, it added.

Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilians, though it has pummelled villages, towns and cities.

Russia earlier this month named General Sergei Surovikin as overall commander of Moscow’s forces in Ukraine. Surovikin served in Syria and Chechnya where Russian forces pounded cities to rubble in a brutal but effective scorched earth policy against its foes.

Nicknamed “General Armageddon” by the Russian media because of his alleged toughness, his appointment was followed by the biggest wave of missile strikes against Ukraine since Moscow invaded last February.

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