- President warns Ukrainians to prepare for further Russian attacks
- Said the week ahead could be as difficult as the week before
- Winter sets in with an energy capacity deficit of about 20%
LVIV/KYIV, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Russia would surely launch further missile attacks on his country, and warned defense forces and citizens to be ready to resist a another week of tension on the electrical network.
Snow fell in Kyiv and temperatures hovered around zero on Sunday with fog forecast overnight.
City authorities said workers were close to completing the restoration of electricity, water and heating, but high consumption levels meant some blackouts had been imposed. Millions of people in and around Kyiv faced disruption from waves of Russian airstrikes.
“We understand that terrorists are planning new strikes. We know that for a fact,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address. “And as long as they have missiles, unfortunately they will not calm down.”
Zelenskiy said the week ahead could be as difficult as the week before, when attacks on power infrastructure subjected Ukrainians to the most acute blackouts since Russian troops invaded in February.
“Our defense forces are getting ready. The whole country is getting ready,” he said. “We have worked out all the scenarios, including with our partners.”
There was no immediate response from Moscow to Zelenskiy’s claims.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has said it is not targeting the civilian population. The The Kremlin said on Thursday that Kyiv could “end the suffering” of its people by meeting Russia’s demands.
Russia annexed swaths of eastern and southern Ukraine in September and President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow’s territorial claims are non-negotiable. After the annexation, Zelenskiy said he would not negotiate with Moscow and also insisted that Ukraine’s territorial integrity could not be negotiated.
Sunday was relatively calm, with no devastating attacks on Kyiv or other major cities. The Ukrainian army’s central command said Russian forces launched four missile attacks and repeatedly fired at civilian objects in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
The situation, however, remained intense along the front lines in various parts of Ukraine, Zelenskiy said in his evening speech.
“The hardest part is in the Donetsk region, as it has been in previous weeks,” he said.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russian troops shelled a dozen villages in Donetsk, including the main targets of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
COLD WEATHER INCREASES ELECTRICITY DEMAND
The cold weather is gradually increasing energy needs as repairmen rush to repair destroyed electrical installations, network operator Ukrenergo said.
Power generators still cannot resume power supplies after Russian missile attacks on Wednesday and must conserve power by imposing blackouts, he said.
“The consumption restriction regime is still in place due to a capacity deficit, which currently stands at around 20%,” Ukrenergo said on Telegram.
Last week, the general manager of Ukrenergo called the damage to power generation facilities “colossal”.
Moscow has targeted vital infrastructure in recent weeks with waves of airstrikes that have caused widespread power outages and killed civilians.
New strikes last Wednesday caused the worst damage to date in the nine months of conflict, leaving millions without light, water or heating as temperatures fell below 0 Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).
Zelenskiy said utility and emergency crews were working around the clock to provide power, with the situation “under control” although most areas were subject to scheduled outages to help restore power. network.
In Kherson, a town in southern Ukraine abandoned by Russian troops this month, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said 17% of patrons now had power. Other neighborhoods would be connected in the coming days.
Zelenskiy issued constant warnings to consumers to conserve energy, as did utility officials.
Sergey Kovalenko, operations director of YASNO, which supplies energy to Kyiv, said on Saturday evening that the situation in the city had improved but remained “quite difficult”.
Zelenskiy slammed Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, saying he hadn’t done enough to help beleaguered residents. Klitschko, former professional boxer, retaliate to Zelenskiyclaiming that the criticism was out of place in the context of the Russian military campaign.
“It’s insane,” Klitschko said.
Reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar, Tom Balmforth and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv, Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg and Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Kim Coghill, Frances Kerry and David Gregorio
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