With more than 90 rockets and cruise missiles, Russia on Tuesday attacked Ukraine's energy system, causing severe damage. According to Ukrainian military information, it was the most massive attack on infrastructure since the war began a good eight months ago. According to the authorities, around seven million households were temporarily in the dark on Tuesday because the electricity failed or had to be switched off.
The Ukrainian President's Office in Kyiv said it was possible to shoot down around 70 of the incoming missiles. However, 15 energy supply objects in different parts of the country were hit, said Deputy Chief Kyrylo Tymoshenko in the Telegram news service. The capital Kyiv was also hit, with a woman being killed, according to authorities.
Selenskyj to Ukrainians: "You are great guys!"
Despite the hits, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated Ukraine's will to persevere. The enemy will not reach his goal, the 44-year-old said in a video message. Everything will be repaired and the power supply restored. At the same time he praised the Ukrainians with a clenched fist: "You are great guys!" Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded that the G20 group of leading economic powers meeting in Indonesia should condemn the attack.
The US government immediately condemned the missile attacks by Russia. "As world leaders gather at the G20 Summit in Bali to discuss issues vital to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, Russia is once again threatening those lives and destroying critical infrastructure Ukraine," said US President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan.
According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 73 cruise missiles and missiles and 17 drones were shot down. The attack was more violent than in early October shortly after the attack on the bridge to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on television. At that time, 84 rockets were fired at Ukraine.
Energy situation is "critical"
Tymoshenko described the situation after the impacts in terms of energy infrastructure as "critical". "Most hits were found in the center and north of the country," he wrote in the Telegram news service. The state energy supplier Ukrenerho had to switch to extraordinary power cuts to stabilize the grid. Tymoshenko called on the population to save electricity.
In Kyiv, according to the authorities, about half of the city was without electricity. At times, the subway didn't run, but cars were jammed on the streets for hours. The air alert lasted almost four hours over the capital on Tuesday. According to the regional authorities, 90 percent of consumers in western Ukraine's Ternopil region were without electricity. In the city of Lviv it was 80 percent. That's why the heating and the supply of warm water failed, said Mayor Andriy Sadowyj.
The state railways warned of train delays of up to an hour. Due to possible power failures, diesel locomotives were made available as a reserve.
Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. After military setbacks and the withdrawal from more than half of the conquered areas, Moscow increasingly relies on strikes to cut off the power supply. Kyiv therefore wants support from the West for missile and drone defense.