Much of Ukraine was without electricity, heat and water for two days after a devastating series of Russian missile attacks on the country’s civilian infrastructure.
Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko said 60% of households in the city of 3 million had no power and continued blackouts across the country as engineers struggled on Wednesday to repair transformers and transmission lines that were damaged or destroyed. were by cruise missiles.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said basic services were gradually being restored, but there were water supply problems in 15 regions.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said Russian attacks on critical infrastructure have killed at least 77 people since October.
“Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling living conditions as a result of these strikes,” Türk said in a statement. “Overall, this poses serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for any object attacked.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not deny that Russia was attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, but blamed Kiev for not giving in to Russian demands, which he did not specify. Zelensky’s government has vowed not to accept peace terms that would give Russia control of Ukrainian territory.
In his late-night speech on Thursday, Zelenskiy said the attacks would not break the will of the Ukrainian people. “Together we have endured nine months of full-blown war and Russia has not found a way to break us and will not find one,” he said.
The three nuclear power plants still under Ukrainian control were back in operation on Wednesday after an unprecedented complete shutdown. However, Petro Kotin, the head of the state nuclear power company, Energoatom, told the Guardian that malfunctions in turbo generators meant that two reactors had not yet been reconnected to the grid. Kotin did not say where the two affected reactors were.
Kotin said that at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which remains under Russian control, two of the six reactors were on standby but had not yet been connected back to the power grid.
Russian troops have continued shelling the southern city of Kherson two weeks after withdrawing their troops to the other side of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian civilians evacuated from the city due to the complete destruction of electricity, heat and water systems come under artillery fire as they try to leave.
On Thursday, 11 people were killed and nearly 50 injured in the Kherson region, according to the Ukrainian presidency.