New deadly Russian strikes, Ukraine strives to restore power and water

New Russian strikes killed five people on Saturday in Ukraine, where the authorities were trying to restore electricity as quickly as possible after the massive missile strikes the day before which caused power cuts. 

The heaviest human toll from the new attacks was recorded in the central Dnipropetrovsk region: four people were killed there and 15 others injured, said Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Ukrainian Presidency Kyrylo Tymoshenko. 

He added that Saturday’s shelling had also left one dead and three injured in the southern region of Kherson, whose eponymous town was taken over more than a month ago by the Ukrainian army.

Its governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich, for his part stressed that a geriatric center had been hit in the village of Stepanivka, but without causing any casualties.

“The enemy continues to concentrate its efforts on carrying out offensive actions in the directions of Bakhmout (which the Russians have been trying to seize since last summer, editor’s note) and Avdiivka”, in the eastern region of Donetsk , noted in the evening the staff of the Ukrainian forces.

The Kremlin for its part announced on Saturday that Vladimir Putin had met the day before with those responsible for the military intervention in Ukraine, asking the commanders what were their “proposals” on the continuation of the operations. 

Still “a lot of work”

“Electricity was restored for almost six million Ukrainians during the day. Repair work is underway and has continued uninterrupted since yesterday’s terrorist attack,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in the evening.

“Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done to stabilize the system. There are problems with the heat supply, there are big problems with the water supply. The situation is most difficult in kyiv and its region, in Vinnytsia (center west, editor’s note) and in its region, in Lviv (west, editor’s note) and in its region, ”he acknowledged.

“75% of the inhabitants of the capital already have heating,” said its mayor Vitali Klitschko shortly before, according to which the circulation of the kyiv metro, interrupted on Friday so that the population could take refuge there, resumed early in the morning. and the water supply has returned.

Electricity has also been restored to Kharkiv (east), Ukraine’s second largest city, according to regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov.

In Kramatorsk, on the other hand, “the supply of water and heating has stopped”, lamented in the afternoon the mayor of this eastern city. 

Some 74 missiles – mostly cruise – were fired by Russia on Friday, 60 of which were shot down by anti-aircraft defense, according to the Ukrainian military.

Military sites targeted, according to Moscow

“All their targets today are civilians. The Russian strikes mainly affect energy and heating supply installations,” denounced Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Russian army, for its part, claimed on Saturday that it had also targeted important targets for the Ukrainian defense the day before. 

“A massive strike with high-precision weapons was carried out on Friday, December 16 against military command systems, the military-industrial complex and energy sites of Ukraine,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“As a result of the strike, a delivery of weapons and ammunition of foreign manufacture was prevented, an advance of reserves (in men of the Ukrainian forces) to the combat zones was blocked, the operation of manufacturing enterprises and repair of weapons (…) has been suspended”, he continued.

Faced with a series of military setbacks this fall, Russia opted from October for a tactic of massive bombardment to destroy electricity networks and transformers, plunging millions of civilians into cold and darkness in the midst of winter.

Putin-Lukashenko summit on Monday

The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell condemned Friday this new “example of the blind terror of the Kremlin”, “cruel and inhuman attacks” against the population which “constitute war crimes”.

The EU has also approved new sanctions against Russia, in particular the ban on exporting drone engines there.

These “illegitimate unilateral restrictive measures” will not achieve their objective, the Russian Foreign Ministry reacted on Saturday.

On Monday, Vladimir Putin is due to meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk for a summit intended to further strengthen their alliance.

Belarus, Russia’s only ally in this war, allowed the use of its territory for the Russian assault on kyiv at the start of the invasion on February 24. 

According to Mr. Lukashenko, “the politico-military situation around (their) countries” will be discussed during the meeting, even if the discussions will be “above all (devoted) to the economic sphere”.

In an interview published on Thursday, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army Valery Zaluzhny said he was convinced that Russia would attempt a new attack on kyiv in the first months of 2023. 


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