KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s state-owned electricity operator announced regular power cuts in Kyiv and seven other regions of the country on Saturday following devastating Russian strikes on energy infrastructure.
The move comes as Russian forces continue to pound Ukrainian towns and villages with missiles and drones, inflicting damage on power plants, water supplies and other civilian targets, in a grinding war approaching its nine-month mark.
Russia has denied that the drones it used in Ukraine came from Iran, but the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister on Saturday admitted for the first time to having supplied Moscow with “a limited number” of drones before the invasion. Hossein Amirabdollahian, however, claimed that Tehran did not know if its drones were being used against Ukraine and declared Iran’s commitment to ending the conflict.
Ukrenergo, the sole operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines, said in an online statement on Saturday that scheduled power cuts will take place in the capital and greater Kyiv region, as well as in several surrounding regions – Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Poltava and Kharkiv.
Cuts for “certain consumer groups” will occur daily “according to a specific schedule established by the distribution network operators for each region”, the statement said. Outages are expected to last six hours and more each day.
Ukraine has been grappling with power outages and water supply disruptions since Russia started on a rampage massive barrages of missile and drone strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure last month.
Moscow said the attacks came in response to what it claimed were Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, the region Russia illegally annexed in 2014. Ukraine has denied the claims.
Meanwhile, Russian shelling of Ukrainian areas continued into the early hours of Saturday.
About 40 shells were fired overnight at the town of Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Telegram. Russian forces targeted the town and its surroundings with heavy artillery. Two fires broke out and more than a dozen residential and utility buildings, as well as a gas pipeline, were damaged, the official said.
Elsewhere in the area, Ukrainian forces shot down a drone and another projectile, according to Reznichenko.
In the southern region of Mykolaiv, the nighttime shelling of rural areas damaged several houses, but caused no casualties, Mykolaiv Governor Vitali Kim said on Telegram.
Russian forces also fired missiles at the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, which was illegally annexed by Moscow and large parts of which remain occupied. According to regional governor Oleksandr Starukh, the attack took place shortly after midnight and damaged the buildings of three companies, as well as a number of cars.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, also annexed and partially occupied by Russia, eight towns and villages were bombed, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Porkovsk.
According to the Ukrainian presidential office, at least three civilians have been killed and eight others injured in the past 24 hours by the Russian bombardment of nine Ukrainian regions, where drones, missiles and heavy artillery have been used.
In the Russian-occupied Kherson region, where a Ukrainian counter-offensive is underway, the Russian army continues to kidnap local residentsthe presidential office said, with the most recent cases occurring in the past 24 hours.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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