- Russia could be preparing more attacks on energy sites: Zelenskiy
- 4.5 million Ukrainians without electricity as winter approaches
- Biden aide held talks with senior Russian officials
- US urges Ukraine to be open to talks with Russia: report
KYIV/WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned on Sunday against possible Russian attacks on energy infrastructure, while Kyiv’s mayor urged residents to consider preparing to leave temporarily if the capital loses the supply of water and energy.
In regular late-night comments, Zelenskiy said Russia was “concentrating forces and means for a possible repeat of massive attacks on our infrastructure. First of all, energy.”
More than 4.5 million consumers were already without power, it added, amid concerns that support for Ukraine could falter as the impact of the war on energy and food prices lingers into winter.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who traveled to Kyiv on Friday and pledged Washington’s “unwavering and unwavering” support for Ukraine, held undisclosed talks with Russian officials designed to prevent further escalation, he said on Sunday. Wall Street Journal.
News of those contacts followed a report that Washington was urging Kyiv to signal an opening to talks with Russia.
Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak earlier said on Twitter that Ukraine would “resist” despite Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, organizing air defense, protecting infrastructure and optimizing consumption to do so.
The country faced a projected 32 percent shortfall in power supply on Monday, Sergei Kovalenko, chief executive of YASNO, a major energy provider for the capital, said on his Facebook page.
The warnings followed comments by Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko urging residents to “consider everything”, including the worst case scenario where the capital is left without power and water.
Residents should consider “spending some time” with friends or family outside the city, he said in a television interview on Saturday, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure.
“His task is for us to die, freeze or make us flee our land so that he can have it. That is what the aggressor wants to achieve,” Klitschko added.
In the south, Russia and Ukraine continued to exchange accusations as Ukraine advances towards the city of Kherson. Reuters could not immediately verify battlefield accounts from either side.
Regional Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said Russian forces destroyed around 1.5km of power lines, cutting off supply to the town of Beryslav.
“It is likely that there will be no electricity in Beryslav until it is completely free from the occupation,” Yanushevych wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding that power lines to Kherson had also been destroyed.
On Sunday, Russian news agencies said Shelling by Ukrainian forces damaged the large Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine, upstream from Kherson on the Dnipro River. They gave no supporting evidence and Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.
The Russian state company TASS quoted a representative of the emergency services as saying that a rocket launched by a US-made HIMARS missile system hit the lock of the dam and damaged it.
The official called the incident an “attempt to create the conditions for a humanitarian catastrophe” by breaching the dam.
The warnings came as the Wall Street Journal said Sullivan had confidential talks in recent months with Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev that were not publicly disclosed.
Few high-level contacts between US and Russian officials have been made public in recent months, as Washington has insisted that any talks about ending the war in Ukraine take place between Moscow and Kyiv.
The White House declined to comment on the report, responding only with a statement attributed to National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson: “People are saying a lot of things.”
On Saturday, the Washington Post said the United States is privately encouraging Ukraine to show an openness to negotiating with Russia, as the State Department said Moscow was escalating the war and not serious about peace talks.
The newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying that the request by US officials was not aimed at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, but rather a calculated attempt to ensure that Kyiv maintains the support of other nations.
Zelenskiy signed a decree on October 4 formally declaring the possibility of any Ukrainian talks with Putin.”impossiblebut leaving the door open to talks with Russia.
The White House National Security Council had no immediate comment on the accuracy of the report.
A State Department spokesman responded: “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Actions speak louder than words. If Russia is ready to negotiate, it should stop its bombs and missiles and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.”
Reuters bureau reports; Written by Simon Lewis and Simon Cameron-Moore; Edited by Diane Craft and Clarence Fernandez
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