Russian shelling kills 15 in Kherson as Ukraine battles to restore power

Ukrainian Prez Volodymyr Zelensky said more than six million households in the country were still affected by power cuts, two days after targeted Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Published: 26th November 2022 10:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2022 10:04 AM   |  A+A-

Ukrainian emergency service personnel work outside the damaged building following a shelling. (Photo | AP)

Ukrainian emergency service personnel work outside the damaged building following a shelling. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

KYIV: Russian shelling of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson killed 15 civilians Friday, officials said, as engineers across the country sought to restore heat, water and power to major cities.

Throughout the country, Russian air strikes in recent weeks have brought Ukraine's energy infrastructure to its knees as winter approaches and temperatures near freezing, spurring fears of a health crisis and a further exodus.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than six million households in the country were still affected by power cuts, two days after targeted Russian strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

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The country's national energy company, Ukrenergo, said late Friday that the grid was still facing a 30 percent deficit, with its technicians working "around the clock" to restore power. But it said it expected to increase coverage over the weekend, boosted by additional nuclear power.

The attack on Kherson, a key southeastern city recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces, marked the deadliest Russian bombardment in recent days.

A total of "15 residents were killed and 35 injured, including one child, as a result of enemy shelling", city official Galyna Lugova said. Several "private houses and high-rise buildings" had been damaged, she added.

"The Russian invaders opened fire on a residential area with multiple rocket launchers. A large building caught fire," said Yarovslav Yanushovich, head of the Kherson military administration.

Earlier Friday, the region's governor said patients in the city hospital and others from a psychiatric unit had been evacuated because of "constant Russian shelling".

The Kherson city council said it was offering to evacuate civilians to other regions.

The attacks on power stations and other infrastructure resources throughout Ukraine are Russia's latest attempt to force Ukrainian capitulation after Moscow's forces failed to topple the government and capture Kyiv in the war's early stages.

- Critical infrastructure -

In the capital, where about half of residents were still without power two days after Russian strikes hammered the country's energy grid, engineers worked to restore services.

"We have to endure this winter, a winter that everyone will remember," Zelensky said on social media, as UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited to announce a new aid package.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told a government meeting, "Almost all Ukraine's critical infrastructure has been reconnected."

Critical infrastructure includes water utilities, heat generation plants, hospitals and emergency services.

But Shmygal said ordinary consumers continued to face scheduled power cuts across every region of the country.

Ukraine's Western allies have denounced the Russian attacks on energy infrastructure as a "war crime". The strikes have come in the wake of a string of military setbacks for Russia on the frontlines.

Moscow insists it is targeting only military-linked infrastructure and has blamed Kyiv for the blackouts, saying Ukraine can end the suffering by agreeing to Russian demands.



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