The mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, is warning residents that they must prepare for bad conditions this winter. He said if Russia keeps striking the country's energy infrastructure, it could mean having no electricity, water or heat.
“We are doing everything to avoid this,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. He added: “our enemies are doing everything for the city to be without heat, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all die.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech to the nation Sunday that about 4.5 million people were without electricity.
Russia has attacked Ukraine's energy centers over the last month, causing power outages and rolling blackouts across the country. A rolling blackout is when energy officials turn off power to save electricity. Kyiv was having hourly rolling blackouts Sunday in parts of the city and the surrounding area.
Kyiv is preparing about 1,000 heating points, but it is unclear if that will be enough for a city of 3 million people.
As Russia increases its attacks on the capital, Ukrainian forces are pushing forward in the south. Residents of the Russian-occupied city of Kherson received warning messages on their phones urging them to leave as soon as possible, Ukraine's military said Sunday. Russian soldiers warned civilians that Ukraine's army was preparing for a large attack.
Russian forces are preparing for a Ukrainian offensive to regain the southern city of Kherson. In September, Russia illegally annexed Kherson and three other regions.
Russian forces are also strengthening positions in other areas in the east. These actions make conditions for residents and the Ukrainian army difficult.
Russia’s attacks have almost completely destroyed power plants that serve the city of Bakhmut and the nearby town of Soledar, said Pavlo Kyrylenko. He is the area’s Ukrainian governor. He said attacks late Saturday killed one civilian and wounded three.
Between Saturday and Sunday, Russia launched four missiles and 19 airstrikes hitting more than 35 villages in nine regions. The strikes took place from Chernihiv and Kharkiv in the northeast to Kherson and Mykolaiv in the south, Zelenskyy's office said. The strikes killed two people and wounded six.
In Bakhmut, 15,000 remaining residents were facing attacks every day without water or power, local media reported. The city has been under attack for months. But fighting worsened after Russian forces experienced losses during Ukrainian offensives in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.
The front line is now near Bakhmut. Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian military company, are reported to be leading the fight.
Yevgeny Prigozhin is the founder of the group. In a statement Sunday, he announced the funding and creation of “militia training centers” in Russia’s southwest. He said locals were best placed to “fight against sabotage” on Russian land. The group also said it is opening a military technology center in St. Petersburg.
In southern Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was reconnected to Ukraine’s power system, local media reported Sunday. Europe’s largest nuclear center needs electricity to maintain its cooling systems. But it had been running on emergency power supplies since Russian attacks destroyed its outside connections.
I’m Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
resident— n. a person who lives in a particular place
infrastructure — n. structures needed for a modern society including road, bridges, power centers and similar things
annex — v. to take control of an area and add it to a country
region— n. an area that is part of the world or of a country that is set apart for some reason
mercenary — n. a soldier who works for money not for a country
sabotage — n. the act of destroying or damaging something on purpose so that it does not work