‘Massive’ Russian Strikes Leave Millions In Ukraine Without Power; Russia Orders Kherson Evacuation

KYIV — Ukrainian officials said “vile” Russian missile strikes on civilian power sites caused nationwide power outages, leaving more than a million households without electricity, while Russian authorities ordered residents to leave the Kherson “immediately” ahead of the expected push by forces from Kyiv. to retake the crucial southern city.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram on October 22 that Russia carried out a “massive attack” on Ukraine overnight and that “the aggressor continues to terrorize our country.”

“At night, the enemy launched a massive attack: 36 missiles, most of which were shot down… These are nasty hits on critical objects. Typical tactics for terrorists,” he wrote. “The world can and must stop this terror.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff, said Ukraine’s air defense forces had shot down 18 of the missiles.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said a number of missiles were shot down near the capital.

“Several missiles flying towards Kyiv were shot down in the region by air defense forces. Thanks to our defenders!” Klitschko said.

There was no immediate word on deaths related to the rocket attacks, but officials said several people were wounded.

It was not possible to verify the reports from either side.

In the face of continued Russian attacks, Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba again called on Ukraine’s Western allies to speed up the delivery of modern air defense systems.

“We intercepted some, others hit the targets. Air defense saves lives. In the [Western] capitals, there should not be a minute of delay in the decision on air defense systems for Ukraine”, Kuleba said.

Local officials said power plants were hit in Odesa, Kirovohrad and Lutsk regions, while other regions reported power problems.

“Another missile attack by terrorists who are fighting against civilian infrastructure and people,” wrote the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, on the Telegram app.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a cabinet meeting that between October 10 and 20, Russian strikes hit more than 400 facilities in 16 regions of Ukraine, including dozens of energy facilities.

“The Russian military has identified our energy sector as one of the key targets for its attacks,” Shmyhal said on October 21.

“Russian propagandists and officials openly talk about the purpose of all these attacks: Ukraine, according to them, should be left without water, without light, without heat.” he said.

Meanwhile, Russian-appointed authorities in the occupied and illegally captured Kherson region on October 22 ordered the roughly 60,000 residents of the region’s main city of the same name to leave “immediately” in the face of Kiev’s counteroffensive.

“Due to the tense situation on the front, the increased danger of mass bombing of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and move to the left bank of the Dnieper River,” Russia said in the region. authorities said on social media.

Officials stationed in Russia are moving people from the strategic city in what they call an evacuation, but which Ukrainian officials label as deportations.

The order came despite a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry on October 22 that its forces had thwarted an attempt by Ukraine to breach its line of control in Kherson.

“All attacks were repulsed, the enemy was pushed back to the original positions,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that Ukraine’s offensive was launched towards the settlements of Piatykhatky, Suhanove, Sablukivka and Bezvodne on the west bank of the Dnieper River.

The ministry’s statement said Russian forces also repelled attacks in eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

The city of Kherson, which had a pre-war population of 280,000, is one of the first urban areas occupied by Russia at the start of the invasion.

Zelenskiy’s office said 88 settlements in the southern Kherson region and 551 settlements in the northeastern Kharkiv region had been “vacated” as the counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces in the Kherson region continued.

Ukraine is trying to push Russian forces in Kherson back east across the Dnieper. Russian soldiers on the west bank, where the city of Kherson is located, are close to being cut off from supply lines and reinforcements.

Natalya Humenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern operational command, said the Ukrainian military struck the Antonivski bridge over the Dnieper in the city of Kherson during an overnight curfew that Russian-installed officials had imposed to avoid civilian casualties. .

“We are not attacking civilians and settlements,” Humenyuk told Ukrainian television.

Ukrainian strikes rendered the Antonivski Bridge inoperable, prompting Russian authorities to set up ferry crossings and pontoon bridges to relocate civilians and transport supplies.

Russia has sent thousands of recently mobilized troops to strengthen the defense of Kherson, the General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces SAPS on October 21.

Zelenskii again on October 21 called on the West to warn Russia against blowing up a dam at the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric plant on the Dnieper River, as it could flood settlements towards Kherson.

Zelenskii said Russian forces planted explosives inside the dam, which holds a huge reservoir, and intended to blow it up.

“Now everyone in the world must act strong and fast to prevent another Russian terrorist attack. Destroying the dam would mean a large-scale disaster,” he said in his late-night speech.

With reports by Reuters, AFP, AP and BBC


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