Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Thursday said that over 4.5 million are temporarily without power and accused Moscow of resorting to “energy terrorism”. Ukrainian power facilities have faced considerable damage in the face of Russia attacks in recent weeks. People have been asked to use power judiciously and have been facing blackouts.
“Tonight, about 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption,” President Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday.
“The very fact that Russia is resorting to energy terrorism shows the weakness of our enemy,” he said.
“They cannot beat Ukraine on the battlefield, so they try to break our people this way.”
Zelensky had said last month that a third of the country’s power stations have been destroyed following strikes on thermal plants. In the last 24 hours, Russian forces have launched three missile and 16 air strikes on Ukrainian targets, besides over 40 shelling instances, the Ukrainian military said in a statement on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, a Russian-installed official in southern Ukraine has said Moscow will pull its troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson. Civilians have also been asked to leave in what is being seen as a setback to Russia’s war.
“Most likely our units, our soldiers, will leave for the left (eastern) bank,” Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy civilian administrator of the Kherson region, said in an interview to a pro-Kremlin online media outlet.
“We have to take some very difficult decisions now. Whatever our strategy might be. And some people might be afraid to recognise things. But for me it is very important to try to say at the moment, people, please go over to the east bank. You will be in a far safer position,” Stremousov said.
However, Kyiv is cautious about the announcement and believes that Russia might be setting a trap for Ukrainian troops that are advancing towards Kherson.