Ukraine-Russia war: Russia hits power base near Kyiv, defends confiscated land

A missile attack severely damaged a key power facility in Ukraine’s capital region, the country’s grid operator said on Saturday, as the Russian military sought to cut power to distant populated areas while defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in occupied areas.

Kyiv Region Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said the attack on the unidentified facility did not kill or injure anyone. Electricity transmission company Ukrenergo said repair teams are working to restore power but warned residents of more possible outages.

After a week ago a bomb blast on a truck damaged the bridge connecting Russia to the annexed peninsula of Crimea, Ukraine’s Kremlin launched what is believed to be its largest coordinated missile attack since the country’s first invasion in late February

This week’s widespread retaliatory attacks, which included the use of self-destructing drones from Iran, killed dozens of people. The strikes hit residential buildings as well as civilian infrastructure such as power plants in Kyiv, Lviv in western Ukraine and other cities that had seen comparatively few strikes in recent months.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, urged residents of Kyiv and people in three neighboring regions on Saturday to reduce their energy consumption during peak evening hours.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow saw no need for more massive strikes, but that its military would continue selective strikes. He said that of 29 targets the Russian military intended to take out in this week’s attacks, seven were undamaged and were being taken out one by one.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, interpreted Putin’s remarks as wanting to counter criticism from pro-war Russian bloggers who “broadly praised the resumption of strikes against Ukrainian cities but warned that a short campaign would be ineffective. “

“Putin knew he would not be able to endure high-intensity missile attacks for long due to a dwindling arsenal of high-precision missiles,” the think tank said.

Russian diplomat Konstantin Vorontsov said at Friday’s session of a United Nations General Assembly committee dealing with arms control that Russia will provide its ally Belarus with short-range Iskander-M missiles that could carry a nuclear or conventional warhead, and some of the Belarusian ones upgrade missiles. Su-25 ground attack jets designed to carry nuclear weapons.

Vorontsov attributed the move to Moscow’s concerns about the possibility of US nuclear weapons being stationed in Poland near the borders with Belarus and Russia.

He stressed that, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Russia has no intention for the time being to equip Belarusian weapon systems with nuclear warheads or to transfer nuclear warheads to the territory of Belarus.

Regions in southern Ukraine that Putin illegally designated as Russian territory last month remained the focus of fighting on Saturday. Ukrainian forces continued their campaign to retake the largely Russian-held Kherson region.

Kirill Stremousov, a deputy head of Moscow’s administration in the region, reminded residents that they could evacuate to Crimea and cities in south-west Russia while Ukrainian forces try to advance towards the region’s capital.

After concerned Kremlin-backed leaders in the region Thursday urged civilians to ensure their safety and give Russian troops more maneuverability, Moscow offered free housing to residents who agreed to leave.

Ukrainian troops attempted to advance south along the banks of the Dnieper but, according to Stremousov, were unable to gain ground.

“The defense lines have worked and the situation has remained under the full control of the Russian army,” he wrote on his messaging app channel.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said the military had destroyed five crossings on the Inhulets River, another route that Ukrainian fighters could take to advance into the Kherson region.

Konashenkov claimed Russian troops also blocked Ukrainian attempts to breach Russian defenses near Lyman, a town in eastern Ukraine’s annexed Donetsk region, which Ukrainians recaptured two weeks ago in a significant defeat for the Kremlin.

In the Zaporizhia region, which borders Kherson, Governor Oleksandr Starukh said the Russian military carried out attacks using Iranian-made kamikaze drones and S-300 missiles. Some experts said the Russian military’s use of the long-range missiles may reflect a lack of specialized precision weapons to hit ground targets.

Two civilians were killed by Russian shelling north and east of Kherson in the Dnepropetrovsk region, Governor Valentyn Resnichenko said. He said the shelling of the town of Nikopol, across the Dnieper from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, damaged a dozen residential buildings, several shops and a transport facility.

Fighting near the nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, was an ongoing problem throughout the nearly eight-month war. The power plant momentarily lost its last remaining external power source twice in the past week, stoking fears the reactors could eventually overheat and cause a catastrophic radiation leak.

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, reported that such fears were allayed somewhat late Friday because, after several weeks, Ukrainian engineers had managed to restore emergency power lines that can act as a “buffer” in the event of further war-related outages.

“The operating staff of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant works in very difficult conditions and does everything possible to strengthen the fragile external power supply situation,” Grossi said. “The restoration of the emergency power connection is a positive step in this regard, even if the general nuclear safety situation remains precarious.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Ukraine-Russia war: Russia hits power base near Kyiv, defends confiscated land

Russell Falcon

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