Ukraine is threatened with power outages after Russian attacks, and others are fleeing Cherson

Kyiv, Oct 22 (Reuters) – More than a dozen Russian missiles struck critical infrastructure across Ukraine on Saturday, Ukraine’s Air Force said, with several regions reporting attacks on power plants and power outages.

At the same time, Russian occupation authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson urged civilians to leave immediately, citing what they called a tense military situation.

Ukraine’s military said it was making progress as its forces moved south through the Kherson region, capturing at least two villages that Russian troops had abandoned.

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Commenting on Russian attacks on infrastructure that began overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in the Telegram app: “The enemy launched a massive attack: 36 missiles, most of which were shot down.”

The Air Force Command had previously said 33 rockets had been fired at Ukraine on Saturday morning, adding that 18 of them had been shot down.

Since October 10, Russia has fired devastating volleys at Ukraine’s power infrastructure, hitting at least half of thermal power generation and up to 40% of the entire system.

Shortly after dawn on Saturday, officials in regions across Ukraine began reporting power plant strikes and blackouts as engineers scramble to restore the network. Governors advised residents to stock up on water.

Parts of Kyiv were affected by power outages well into the early evening. Shops were closed and traffic lights turned off in a central area of ​​the capital.

Reuters witnesses in the southern city of Mykolaiv reported a power outage lasting several hours that cut cellphone reception.

In the south-eastern town of Nikopol, which regularly comes under fire from Russian positions across the Dnipro River, local authorities warned that air raid sirens would be turned off as a result of power outages and that emergency vehicles driving through the town would instead warn of the arrival Airborne threats.

Presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said more than a million people were without power as of Saturday afternoon, including 672,000 in the western Khmelnytskyi region.

Air raid sirens sounded again across the country at 11.15am (0815 GMT) after an initial wave of missiles in the morning.

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Moscow wanted the strikes to create a new wave of refugees heading to Europe, while Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter they constituted genocide.

Moscow has admitted it is targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians.

LIMITATIONS OF PERFORMANCE

State-owned grid operator Ukrenergo said the attacks targeted transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine but imposed supply restrictions in 10 regions, including Kyiv.

“The extent of the damage is comparable or could exceed the consequences of the attacks (between) October 10 and 12,” Ukrenergo wrote in the Telegram app, referring to the first wave of strikes on the power grid last week.

Deputy head of Kyiv city administration Petro Panteleev warned that Russian strikes could leave the Ukrainian capital without electricity and heating for “several days or weeks”.

“That possibility is there… we need to understand and remember that,” he told Ekonomichna Pravda news agency.

In Kherson, which connects Ukraine to the Crimea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, thousands of civilians have set out across the Dnipro River in recent days after warning of an imminent Ukrainian offensive to retake the city.

But Saturday’s warning was delivered with renewed urgency.

“Due to the tense situation at the front, the increased threat of massive shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must leave the city immediately and move to the left (eastern) bank of the Dnieper!” This was announced by the Russian occupation authorities in a statement published on Telegram.

The Ukrainian General Staff said in its evening report on Facebook that Ukrainian forces are advancing into areas of the region abandoned by Russian forces.

“Individual units of the Russian occupation forces continue to leave the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region,” the report said.

It said Russian forces had abandoned the towns of Charivne on the west bank of the Dnipro and Chkalovo on the east bank, and officers and medical personnel had been evacuated from the main center of Beryslav, also on the west bank of the river.

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Reporting by Max Hunder in Kyiv, additional reporting by Felix Hoske in Kyiv and Valentyn Ogirenko in Mykolaiv; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Jason Neely, Ron Popeski and Diane Craft

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

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