KYIV, Ukraine — Russia launched dozens of missiles at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure on Friday morning, knocking out heating systems in towns and cities across the country as temperatures dipped well below freezing and caused a the national utility company imposed emergency blackouts.
General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said that Russia had launched 76 missiles against critical infrastructure targets across Ukraine. Air defenses managed to shoot down 60 of the missiles, he said in a statement.
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said emergency power cuts were being introduced “throughout the country” to ration power as crews scrambled to repair the damage. “We ask for your understanding regarding power outages and temporary interruptions to water and heating supplies,” he said in a statement.
Ukrenergo, the national electricity company, said that after the strikes, more than 50 percent of electricity consumption needs could not be met.
It was unclear how many of the missiles had hit their intended target, as large explosions were reported in cities across the country, including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa. Early reports indicated that at least two people had been killed.
Mr Ihnat said that Russia had fired a variety of missiles across the country in an attempt to evade air defences, using less accurate munitions and drones to deplete Ukrainian air defenses so that Moscow’s more powerful precision missiles would hit their targets. objectives.
Russia has bombarded Ukraine’s electrical grid, heating, water and natural gas infrastructure with missile and drone strikes since October in what military analysts say is a ploy to demoralize Ukrainians by submerging the country. in the dark and cold when winter comes.
“Energy facilities have already been damaged both in the east and in the south of the country,” Herman Galushchenko, the energy minister, said in a statement on Friday.
Vitali Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, said there were explosions and continued attacks in at least three districts of the capital and urged residents to stay in shelters. Metro service has been temporarily halted on all lines and water supply has been cut across the city due to infrastructure damage, the mayor wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
Several explosions were heard in the center of the city, suggesting that the capital’s air defense missiles were firing at targets in the sky.
In the central city of Kremenchuk, which is south of Kyiv and sits on the banks of the Dnipro River, the mayor said heating was not affecting more than 200,000 customers as temperatures hovered around 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Make sure to close all windows and take all possible measures to preserve heat in the premises,” Vitalii Maletsky, the mayor, said in a statement.
About a million people in the Kirovohrad region, which is west of the Dnipro, were left “completely without electricity,” said Andriy Raikovych, head of the regional military administration.
In Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, the head of the regional military administration said 10 missiles had hit the city, damaging critical infrastructure. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but local officials said there was no power in the city of Kharkiv.
In the central city of Kryvyi Rih, the missiles damaged infrastructure and hit a residential building, local officials said. Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the local regional military administration, said in a statement that two people had been killed and at least five injured, including two children.
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