KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s state-owned electricity utility announced power cuts in Kyiv and seven other regions of the country on Saturday following Russia’s devastating 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, initially said in an online statement on Saturday that scheduled power cuts would take place in the capital and greater Kyiv region, as well as in several surrounding areas – Chernihiv , Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Poltava and Kharkiv.
Later today, however, the company released an update stating that outages scheduled for a specific number of hours are not enough and instead there will be emergency outages, which could last indefinitely. .
Ukraine has been grappling with power outages and disrupted water supplies 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.
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 abduct local residents, said the presidential office.
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, as they have done on several occasions since July. Two fires broke out and more than a dozen residential and utility buildings, as well as a gas pipeline, were damaged, he 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 much of which remains occupied. According to regional governor Oleksandr Starukh, the attack took place shortly after midnight and damaged three businesses, as well as a number of cars.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, also annexed and partially occupied by Russia, eight Ukrainian towns and villages were bombed, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Porkovsk.
Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk reported an assassination attempt on a Moscow-appointed judge to the region’s Supreme Court. Alexander Nikulin, who was part of a court panel that sentenced two Britons and a Moroccan fighting for Ukraine to death in June, has been hospitalized with gunshot wounds and is in serious condition, officials backed by the Kremlin.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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