RESCUERS clear the debris of a two-storey maternity ward which was destroyed during Russian air strikes in Vilnyansk, southern Ukraine, on Wednesday.—AFP
RESCUERS clear the debris of a two-storey maternity ward which was destroyed during Russian air strikes in Vilnyansk, southern Ukraine, on Wednesday.—AFP

KYIV/CHISINAU: Russian missiles knocked out electricity in the Kyiv region and killed at least three people in the Ukrainian capital on Wednesday during attacks that caused blackouts across the country.

Kyiv was one of the main targets of missile strikes on energy facilities that cut power in many regions and made emergency blackouts necessary in others to help conserve energy and carry out repairs as winter sets in.

“Our little one was sleeping. Two years old. She was sleeping, she got covered. She is alive, thanks be to God, said Fyodr, a Kyiv resident walking away from a smouldering apartment building that was hit in Kyiv, dragging a suitcase.

“I’m local, they’re going to find a place for us somewhere everyone is in the same boat, its not just me.” Loud explosions echoed through Kyiv as Russian missiles descended on the capital and Ukrainian air defence missiles flew overhead.

Moldova says ‘massive’ blackouts result of Russian strikes on Ukraine

“I was sitting in my flat and I heard an explosion. My windows in my hall, kitchen and bedroom were thrown open by the blast wave,” said Yuriy Akhymenko, 55, who lives in the apartment building across the road from the one that was hit.

Flames still licked the top floor of the five-storey building more than an hour after it was hit. Fire crews worked to haul vast sheets of charred corrugated iron off the roof, and apartments on all five floors appeared damaged.

One woman who declined to give her name said she lived in the damaged building. She said she watched a missile sail overhead two streets away before hearing the explosion as it hit the apartment building.

“I cant get through to my brother,” she said through tears. “The third entrance to the apartment block is completely gone. The fourth is gone. In the first, everything inside the flats has been strewn all over.” The Kyiv regional administration said the entire Kyiv region — meaning millions of people — was completely without electricity and that the water supply was also badly disrupted. Much of Ukraine suffered similar problems.

Russian forces have increasingly targeted Ukrainian energy facilities in recent weeks as they faced setbacks on the battlefield following their Feb 24 invasion, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine remained defiant.

“We’ll renew everything and get through all of this because we are an unbreakable people,” he said in a brief video address.

Moldova ‘massive’ blackouts

Moldova said on Wednesday that it was suffering from widespread blackouts that were caused by a fresh barrage of Russian strikes on energy infrastructure in neighbouring Ukraine.

“As a result of Russia’s bombardment on the Ukrainian energy system, within the last hour, we have massive electricity blackouts in the whole country,” Moldovan deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu wrote on Facebook. He added that the country’s natio­nal energy provider Moldelectrica was working to restore supplies.

Ex-Soviet Moldova, which is wedged between Ukraine and EU-member Romania, also experienced widespread blackouts earlier this month following another barrage of Russian missiles.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2022

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