- Written by Hugo Bachiga and Paul Kirby
- From Kyiv and London
Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, was left without electricity after the latest wave of Russian attacks destroyed power plants across the country.
Officials said nine energy facilities were hit, while Russian forces fired 76 missiles and launched drone strikes across Ukraine.
The mayor of Kharkiv said the city had suffered “tremendous” damage from the bombing.
Resident Anastasia told the BBC she heard “several explosions” when the attacks began on Friday morning.
“Within minutes, the lights started flashing,” said the mother of a two-month-old.
“Just 10 seconds later, we were without power, and everything was still, and that was it. Right now, there’s no water either because pumping stations can’t work when there’s no electricity in the city, so technically, what we have Now it is a city without electricity and water supply.
Oleg Sinigubov, head of the Kharkiv region’s administration, said authorities plan to restore power by midnight local time, but grid operator Okringo warned the scale of the damage could mean it will take longer to restore supplies.
It said in a statement that the electricity grid had lost more than half of its capacity due to the recent attacks and said priority would be given to “critical infrastructure – hospitals, water supply facilities, heating facilities and treatment plants”.
Defense ministry adviser Uri Sack told the BBC that the emergency services were working to restore electricity supplies but the situation was “still difficult”. Repeated Russian attacks mean the damage is getting harder to repair.
Elsewhere in the country, three people were killed and 13 injured when an apartment building was hit in Kryvyi Rih and a third died in Kherson. In the capital Kyiv, the metro has stopped.
Sirens about the attacks sounded across Ukraine on Friday and the commander-in-chief, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, said air defenses had intercepted 60 of the 76 missiles launched, most of them cruise missiles.
“I don’t want that for my kids.”
Kyiv city officials said about 40 rockets were fired in the capital alone, in one of the biggest attacks since Russia invaded on February 24. He added that the air defenses shot down 37 people.
“It’s very stressful, but now I’m used to it,” said Oksana, 42, who lives in the capital. “I don’t want our kids to go through this, and be in basements, and shelters, and I don’t want that for them.”
Ukraine accused Russia of “taking advantage of winter” by attacking key facilities as temperatures in most parts of the country dropped below freezing.
Three workers at energy facilities in the Dnipropetrovsk region were injured in missile strikes.
The Russian attacks also cut off electricity in the Sumy region, near the northern border with Russia, and in the central cities of Poltava and Kremenchug.
Fifteen rockets were fired at Zaporizhia in the south, while Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said several areas of the capital had been hit. He said damage to the electricity infrastructure affected the water supply and subway lines in the city were out of order.
Russia has launched more than 1,000 Iranian-made missiles and drones since the wave of attacks began on Oct. 10, though most of them have been intercepted by air defenses. The largest bombing took place in mid-November, and included more than 100 missiles and drones.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk warned Thursday that further attacks on energy facilities could “lead to a further serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation and lead to further displacement”.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described the latest wave of attacks as “another attempt to commit genocide against the Ukrainian people”.
Earlier this week, Shmyhal said the Russian strikes had damaged “all thermal and hydroelectric plants,” leading to widespread power outages and disrupting heating and water supplies.
In some areas, electricity is only available for a few hours a day.
“I am angry,” said 21-year-old Elizaveta [Rússia] They destroy our lives. We are used to it now. And the most important thing is that Russia is not here.
Anastasia said life has become more difficult with the advent of winter.
“When it’s day it’s still fine, it’s tolerable and I can handle it, but when it’s dark outside my problems start because I have to see clearly, measure baby formula and also take care of the baby – it’s stressful,” she said.
“Of course, just the effect of not having energy creates a lot of stress and a lot of stress. So we live all night, and when the day comes around, it gets a little better, but we can’t compare to normal.”
Meanwhile, Russian-backed officials in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region accused Ukrainian forces of shelling a town and village overnight in Luhansk region. It was not possible to confirm the details of the deaths.
“Devoted food specialist. General alcohol fanatic. Amateur explorer. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar. Analyst.”