Ukrainian forces have fought off a fresh round of Russian attacks in the east, Ukraine’s General Staff said, as technicians race to restore electricity following Moscow’s latest wave of missile strikes that caused power disruptions across the country amid dropping temperatures.
Russian troops continued their relentless offensive in the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka areas of Donetsk region, the General Staff said on December 6, adding that tank and artillery bombardment hit some 20 settlements in the area, including Soledar, Verkhnokamyanske, Andriyivka, and Yakovlyivka.
Ukrainian officials warned that critical energy infrastructure continues to be threatened by further Russian strikes and there would be emergency blackouts once again in several regions as engineers work frantically to repair damage from the huge wave of missile attacks the previous day that destroyed homes and knocked out power.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced in his nightly address that four people were killed in Russia’s strikes. But “our people never give up,” he said late on December 5.
About half the region surrounding the Ukrainian capital will remain without electricity for the coming days after Russian missile strikes on power facilities, the Kyiv regional governor said.
The attacks on December 5, which plunged parts of Ukraine back into freezing darkness, were the latest in weeks of attacks that hit critical energy infrastructure.
Kyiv, a city of about 3 million people, appeared to have escaped serious damage. But the Kyiv region, which does not include the capital, and which had a population of about 1.8 million before the war, was badly hit.
“In the coming days, about half of the region will be without electricity,” Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram late on December 5.
Volodymyr Kudritskiy, the chief of power grid operator Ukrenerho, said Moscow had deliberately launched the attacks as the temperature fell below zero.
“A day or two is necessary to restore normal generation in the system,” Kudritskiy told Ukrainian television.
Other regions sustained damage as well, with all water pumping stations and reserve lines in the Odesa region losing power and water supply being cut.
In the eastern city of Kramatorsk, which remains under Ukraine’s control, 370 apartment blocks were without heat because of electricity outages, the city’s mayor said.
In Russia’s Kursk region across the border from Ukraine, an airfield was targeted by a “drone attack,” according to Governor Roman Starovoyt, who did not specify where the drone originated.
“As a result of a drone attack in the area of the Kursk airfield, an oil storage tank caught fire,” Starovoyt said on social media, adding that there were no casualties.
The December 6 incident comes a day after Moscow accused Ukraine of carrying out deadly drone strikes on two other airfields.
The information could not be independently confirmed.
Separately, Reuters reported that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is convening a virtual meeting on December 8 with oil and gas executives to discuss how the Washington can support Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.