Ukraine condemns Russia’s ‘energy terror’ as new attacks cut power to millions

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Russia launched a new missile attack on Ukraine’s battered energy grid on Wednesday, robbing cities of electricity and some water and public transport, adding to winter hardship for millions of people. The air raids on power supplies also took nuclear plants and internet links offline and caused blackouts in neighboring Moldova.

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Several areas reported attacks and cascading outages in quick succession. Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy said supplies had been cut to “the vast majority of electricity consumers”. Lviv’s tram and trolley buses stopped running as both electricity and water were cut off in the city in western Ukraine, the mayor said. The mayor of the capital said that all of Kyiv had run out of water. Power was also lost and public transport was halted in Kharkiv, said the mayor of Ukraine’s second-largest northeastern city.

President Volodymyr Zelensky instructed Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations to request an urgent Security Council meeting.

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Addressing it later on Wednesday, Zelensky said Ukraine would introduce a resolution condemning “energy terror of any kind”. “It is nonsense that the veto right is reserved for the party that is waging this war, this criminal war,” he said, referring to Russia’s potential veto.

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“We cannot be hostages of an international terrorist,” Zelensky said, adding that the Council must act.

He also invited the United Nations to send experts to investigate and assess Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

City officials said three people were killed and 11 wounded in an attack in Kyiv. Its governor said another four people were killed and 35 wounded in the wider Kyiv area.

“I was going up the escalator, I heard a bang. Then the power suddenly disappeared,” said Kyiv subway passenger Oleksiy Kolpachov. “When I got out of the subway, there was a plume of smoke.”

Russia has been pounding the power grid and other facilities with missiles and drone blasts for weeks, causing damage faster than it can repair. Zelensky said before the latest barrage that the attacks had already damaged nearly half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, and rolling power outages had become the terrifying new normal for millions of people.

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Ukrainian officials believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is hoping that the misery of unheated and unlit homes in the cold and darkness of winter will turn public opinion against the continuation of the war – but says It is strengthening Ukrainian resolve.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched about 70 cruise missiles and shot down 51, as did five exploding drones. The afternoon of the barrage _ as it had been the previous week – workers worked hard in the winter darkness to restore supplies.

In Kyiv, a city of 3 million, the administration said water and heating would only be back on in residential buildings on Thursday morning.

Late Wednesday night and after dark, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office said Kyiv and more than a dozen regions in the south, including Lviv and Odessa, had been reconnected to the power grid.

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Moldova, connected to Ukraine with Soviet-era power systems, also reported a massive power outage – for the second time this month. President Maia Sandu accused Moscow of plunging the country of 2.6 million into darkness and the foreign minister summoned Russia’s ambassador for an explanation.

Sandu said, “We cannot trust a regime that leaves us in the dark and cold, that deliberately kills people, out of the simple desire to keep other people in poverty and humiliation.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Russia’s waves of attacks in recent weeks “intolerable” and said: “This bombing terror against civilian populations must stop, and immediately.”

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told a Security Council meeting on Wednesday that the organization demanded that Russia immediately end the attacks, which violate international humanitarian law, adding that “there must be accountability for violations of the laws of war”. “

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Putin was “weaponizing winter to inflict intense pain on the people of Ukraine.”

“He has decided that if he cannot seize Ukraine by force, he will try to subjugate the country,” he said.

Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator, Energoatom, said the country’s last three fully functioning nuclear power stations had been disconnected from the power grid in an “emergency safety” measure. It said radiation levels were unchanged at the sites and “all indicators are normal.”

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The energy ministry said the attacks also caused a temporary blackout of most thermal and hydroelectric power plants, and affected transmission facilities. Repair crews were working “but given the extent of the damage, we will need time,” it said on Facebook.

Wednesday’s blackout “caused the biggest internet outage in months in Ukraine and was the first to affect neighboring Moldova, which has partially recovered,” said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at network-monitoring Kentic Inc.

The attacks followed an overnight Russian rocket attack on the city of Vilniansk, near the city of Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine, which destroyed a hospital’s maternity ward, killing a 2-day-old newborn boy and seriously injuring a doctor .

“The first S300 rocket hit the road. The second rocket hit this place, the Main General Hospital, in the maternity wing, ”said Mayor Natalia Usienko. “A woman gave birth two days back. She gave birth to a boy. Unfortunately this rocket took the life of this child who lived only two days.

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Source: globalnews.ca

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