© Reuters. A police officer stands next to part of a Russian cruise missile shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces, during Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Ukraine December 16, 2022. The head of the National Police. Kyiv region Andrii Nebytov via Te
By Tom Balmforth and Olena Harmash
KYIV (Reuters) – Russia hurled a barrage of rockets into Ukraine’s power grid on Friday, killing at least three people, damaging nine energy facilities and forcing Kyiv to issue a nationwide emergency blackout. country when winter comes.
Many people sought shelter during the morning rush hour to avoid the latest major attack on critical infrastructure since October, which a Kyiv official described as one of several major missile attacks. since the Russian invasion in February.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, announced “huge” damage, which threatens to leave many people without warmth in the frigid winter temperatures. The governor of the central region of Dnipropetrovsk reported “severe damage”.
The air defenses destroyed 60 of the 76 missiles that targeted critical infrastructure, Ukraine’s top general said. Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said Moscow had deliberately distracted its air defenses by flying fighter jets near Ukraine.
“They want to destroy us and make us slaves. But we will not surrender. We will endure,” said 53-year-old Lidiya Vasilieva, as she sought shelter at a train station in Moscow. Kiev. “I want the war to end soon. But I’m willing to wait as long as I like.”
Three people were killed in the central city of Kryvyi Rih, authorities said, and a fourth died in a fire in the southern Kherson area after an apartment complex was hit by bullets before the rocket attack. .
The attack in Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, also injured at least 13 people, including four children, a senior official said.
Grid operator Ukrenergo warned that repairs would take longer than in previous times and it would take longer to restore power.
German Energy Minister Galushchenko told national television: “What we see is damage to about nine (electrical) production facilities. Now we are still verifying the damage.”
The central city of Poltava and parts of Kiev were among the areas without power. Critical infrastructure was attacked in the northeastern Kharkiv region, the Black Sea region of Odesa and Vinnytsia in west-central Ukraine.
Three loud explosions were heard in Kiev and smoke rose overhead, Reuters witnesses said. Some railway lines lost power.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said: “Infrastructure has been severely damaged, mainly the energy system. “I ask you to be patient with what is happening. I know that in your house there is no light, no heating, no water supply.”
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff, said emergency power cuts were in place across the country to carry out repairs.
UKRAINE STILL CHALLENGES
The initial air warning in Kiev was lifted four hours after it was announced as children went to school and people went to work.
The Kyiv cave metro system, which has one of the deepest stations in the world, has been shut down and used as a bomb shelter.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Moscow says attacks on basic infrastructure are militarily legal. Ukraine says attacks aimed at causing suffering to civilians are war crimes.
Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko wrote on Facebook: “The goal of the Russian Federation is to make Ukrainians constantly under pressure, have to go underground to avoid bombs almost every day, feel uncomfortable because of power outage or interruption of drinking water. active”.
“But Ukraine’s position has not changed: let it be without light, but #without you. We will suffer. We will win. We will rebuild.”