KYIV, Ukraine — Russia’s military is pressing on with its strategy of targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving people without power in scores of cities and towns as the war approaches its eight-month milestone.
Shelling overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning in Energodar, the closest city to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, knocked out the power and water supply in some of the city’s districts.
Early reports said the shelling damaged one of the city’s electrical substations, Energodar’s mayor Dmytro Orlov said.
Critical infrastructure was attacked with Russian S-300 missiles in the Zaporizhzhia region, according to Regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh.
Russian forces also heavily shelled two areas in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, taking out the power supply in several towns and villages.
In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged people to use power sparingly.
“Anyone and everyone who follows this simple rule for peak hours is helping the entire country,” he said.
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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian ground forces have conducted limited attacks in border areas in the northern Kharkiv region.
Ukrainian forces on Wednesday reported repelling the Russian offensives in small settlements about 50 kilometers outside the regional capital, Kharkiv, close to the Russian border.
The small-scale ground attacks suggest that Moscow may “retain territorial aspirations” in the Kharkiv region despite taking massive losses in Ukraine’s counteroffensive last month, according to analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.
“The nature of this limited incursion is unclear, but it may suggest that Russian troops are continuing offensive operations near the border,” the analysts said. “Considering the current, constantly degrading state of Russian offensive capabilities in Ukraine, Russian troops are very unlikely to make any gains in this area.”
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian soldiers have shot down 13 Iranian-made drones over the southern Mykolaiv region.
That’s according to the Ukrainian Air Force, which said Russian forces launched attacks in two waves on Tuesday night.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Ukrainian soldiers who shot down some of the missiles and Iranian-made drones targeted to damage energy facilities.
Zelenskyy highlighted that the German IRIS-T system is already integrated into Ukrainian’s air defense system and “showed itself well” in fending off Russian attacks.
Gen. Sergei Surovikin, commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday that the situation in the southern Kherson region was “very difficult,” and that civilians from some areas should be evacuated ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive.
Surovikin alleged that Ukraine planned to attack infrastructure, including a dam at a hydroelectric plant.
“Therefore, first of all, the Russian army will ensure the safe, already announced departure of the population under the relocation program being prepared by the Russian government,” Surovikin said.
As for the city of Kherson, he said, “I will say this again: It is already very difficult as of today.”
It was one of the clearest acknowledgments yet by Russia that it was evacuating civilians in occupied territories because of advancing Ukrainian troops. Kherson is one of four regions illegally annexed by Russia last month.
Regional head Vladimir Saldo said Tuesday that residents of Berislav, Belozersky, Snigiryovsky and Alexandrovsky were to be moved across the Dnipro River, away from Russian troops building “large-scale defensive fortifications.”
Saldo urged residents to stay calm and said they would “remain under the reliable protection of the Russian army.”
On Friday, too, Saldo had urged Kherson residents to evacuate to Russia. Russian authorities promised free travel and accommodations to those who left. Russian-backed officials have said evacuations from occupied territories are voluntary. In many cases, the only route out is to Russia.
Russian-installed officials in the southern region of Kherson, one of four regions that Moscow illegally annexed last month, announced Tuesday there would be an “organized transfer of civilians” out of four towns ahead of an expected Ukrainian offensive.
Regional head Vladimir Saldo urged calm and said the Kherson residents would “remain under the reliable protection of the Russian army.”
But he said the Russian army was building “large-scale defensive fortifications,” and cited particular danger from flooding from a dam release. Residents of Berislav, Belozersky, Snigiryovsky and Alexandrovsky were to be moved across the Dnieper River, away from the fighting, he said.
Ukrainians troops have been pushing deeper into Kherson, and on Friday, Saldo had urged residents to evacuate to Russia. Russian authorities have promised free travel and accommodations to those who left.
The evacuation was called “voluntary” but there was no option presented to evacuate to Ukrainian-held territory.
The Associated Press