While heavy fighting in Ukraine is concentrated in the east and south, the capital, Kyiv, in the north-central region and its surroundings is under a different kind of assault – one that relies on suffering and turmoil as weapons.
Under duress due to Russian attacks that destroyed 40% of the country’s energy infrastructure, the Ukraine Electric Corporation announced a blackout in Kyiv and six other neighboring regions, including Kharkiv. Unscheduled emergency outages are also expected.
“We are doing everything we can to avoid this,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko told state media. “But let’s be frank, our enemies are doing their best for the city to be without heating, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all die. And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how we are prepared for different situations.”
Power outages caused by Russian drone and missile attacks affected 16 provinces and forced Kyiv officials to consider mass evacuations. They plan to create about 1,000 heating shelters but noted that this may not be enough for the city’s 3 million residents. Average temperatures in Kyiv in winter range from the low 20s to the low 30s.
A test of our endurance: Will harsh winter weather change the rules of the game for Ukraine or Russia?
The latest developments:
► The Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid on Sunday, after three days of fighting in the region brought it to a standstill, forcing the use of emergency diesel generators to keep vital cooling systems running.
– Russian officials continue to evacuate the occupied city of Kherson in the south, sending warning phone messages on Sunday telling residents to leave for the east bank in anticipation of a major battle with Ukrainian forces.
Local media reported that the remaining 15,000 residents in the eastern city of Bakhmut have been living for months under continuous shelling that intensified in recent weeks, leaving them without water or electricity.
Iran has retracted its denial that it supplied Russia with drones, raising questions about other statements that qualify acceptance.
“We gave Russia a limited number of drones months before the Ukrainian war,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabadalahian told reporters on Saturday in Tehran.
Amirbad Allahian added that Iran had no knowledge of Russia’s attack on Ukraine with drones, adding: “If it is proven to us that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine, we will not be indifferent to this issue.”
This contrasts with the IRGC’s vaguely boasting of providing drones to the world’s major powers.
Since last month, Russia has been engaged in a campaign to destroy Ukrainian power plants and other civilian targets, relying on drones that can cost as little as $20,000 each, or 50 times less than a cruise missile. Russia renamed the drones, but there was evidence that they were Iranian-made Shahid drones.
Both Russia and Iran, which insists on remaining neutral in the war, have denied any shipments of the drones. The United States and its Western allies in the United Nations Security Council have called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate whether Russia has used Iranian drones to attack civilians in Ukraine.
Russia may oust the leaders of all its military districts before the end of the year.
The last to be neglected was Colonel General Alexander Lapin, who appears to have been replaced as head of the Central Military District by Major General Alexander Linkov, According to the British Ministry of Defense.
The ministry noted that the commanders of Russia’s eastern, southern and western military districts have already been replaced since the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February.
“These dismissals represent a pattern of blaming senior Russian military leaders for failing to achieve Russian objectives on the battlefield. It is likely that this is partly an attempt to isolate and shift blame from the Russian high command at home,” the ministry said. “
Contributing: The Associated Press
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