On Saturday, Russian forces launched another significant wave of missile attacks against Ukraine, severely damaging the country’s vital energy infrastructure and knocking off power for at least 1.5 million people.
Russia allegedly launched a “massive attack” overnight with about 36 missiles fired, the majority of which were intercepted, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. In the past two weeks, there has been a rise in the targeting of civilian targets, such as power and heating facilities, as Vladimir Putin aims to leave millions of people without energy as winter approaches. The invasion of Ukraine by Putin has now lasted eight months and two days.
An important adviser to Zelenskiy claimed that by ejecting Ukrainians from their homes, Russia is attempting to start a new refugee crisis in Europe. The leaders of European capitals will determine if Putin can carry out his plan, according to Mykhailo Podolyak on Twitter.
They also coincide with the nomination of Air Force General Sergei Surovikin as the new commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine. He assumed his position on October 8, two days prior to the initial large-scale attacks on power plants. From Volyn in the west of Ukraine to Zaporizhzhia in the southeast, various regions on Saturday reported attacks on power installations.
From the Transcarpathia region in the southwest to Kharkiv, more than 1,000 kilometres to the northeast, to occupied Kherson, air sirens warning of potential missiles in the area sounded repeatedly throughout the nation. There were reportedly 18 long-range missiles shot down. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and other Ukrainian officials continue to make urgent requests of partners for upgraded air defence systems.
In order to relieve pressure on the country’s energy infrastructure, Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national power grid operator, said electricity supply will first be restricted to Kyiv and at least ten other districts. A presidential aide estimated that about 1.5 million people are without electricity, with majority of them located in Khmelnytskyi’s western district, distant from the front lines.
Zelenskiy earlier this week estimated that recent attacks have destroyed nearly one-third of Ukraine’s power plants, though that number is undoubtedly going to climb.