Lights go out in Ukraine as Russia launches “massive” strike

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A whole lot of hundreds of individuals in central and western Ukraine awoke on Saturday to energy outages and periodic bursts of gunfire, as Ukrainian air protection tried to shoot down drones and incoming missiles.

Russia has intensified its strikes on energy stations, water provide methods and different key infrastructure throughout the nation, the most recent part of the conflict because it nears the eight-month mark.

Ukraine’s air pressure mentioned in an announcement Saturday that Russia had launched “an enormous missile assault” focusing on “essential infrastructure,” hours after air raid sirens blared throughout the nation. It mentioned that it had downed 18 out of 33 cruise missiles launched from air and sea.

“A number of rockets” focusing on the capital had been shot down on Saturday morning, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko mentioned on the Telegram messaging service.

Related reviews had been made by the governors of six western and central provinces, in addition to the southern Odesa area on the Black Sea.

The presidential workplace mentioned in its morning assertion that 5 explosive-laden drones had been downed within the central Cherkasy area southeast of Kyiv.

The western metropolis of Khmelnytskyi, which straddles the Bug river and was residence to some 275,000 individuals earlier than the conflict, was left with no electrical energy, shortly after native media reported a number of loud explosions.

Town council urged native residents to retailer water, “in case it’s additionally gone inside an hour,” in a social media put up on Saturday.

The mayor of Lutsk, a metropolis of 215,000 in Ukraine’s far west, made an analogous attraction on Telegram on Saturday. Energy in Lutsk had been partially knocked out after Russian missiles slammed into native vitality amenities, he mentioned.

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The central metropolis of Uman, a key pilgrimage heart for Hasidic Jews which counted some 100,000 residents earlier than the conflict, was additionally plunged into darkness after a rocket hit a close-by energy station, regional authorities mentioned on Telegram.

Within the capital and 4 surrounding areas, together with Cherkasy, rolling blackouts got here into impact on Saturday morning in response to the diminished energy provides. The state vitality firm Ukrenergo continued to induce all Ukrainians to preserve vitality.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy known as on customers to curb their energy use between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day, and keep away from utilizing energy-guzzling home equipment reminiscent of electrical heaters.

Over the previous two weeks, Moscow has elevated its assaults on key civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine. About 40% of the nation’s electrical energy system has been severely broken, officers mentioned. Zelenskyy mentioned earlier within the week that 30% of Ukraine’s energy stations have been destroyed since Oct. 10.

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Kozlowska reported from London.