Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, is expected to suffer longer power outages after Russian airstrikes

New Delhi: Ukrainian authorities have warned the people of Kyiv about the possibility of longer power cuts, lasting more than four hours, due to the Russian missile attack on energy infrastructure that occurred earlier this month, the BBC reported.

Continuous blackouts hit Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine, including the city of Dnipro. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said around four million people had been affected but “the bombings will not break us”. In October, Russia launched dozens of Iranian-made missiles and drones.

Airstrikes hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Zelensky said about a third of the country’s power plants have been destroyed. The Kyiv region has lost 30% of its electricity capacity, according to private energy company DTEK, meaning “unprecedented” power cuts will be needed, as reported by the BBC.

“Unfortunately, the scale of the restrictions is significant, much greater than it was before,” DTEK director Dmytro Sakharuk was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Power cuts have led to restrictions on streetlights and electric public transport, in addition to discomfort in homes. The European Union and other international allies of Kyiv have condemned the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure. Ukraine considers these attacks to be war crimes.

Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, which was also heavily damaged by Russian shelling, is also facing long power cuts, as are the central cities of Zhytomyr, Poltava and Chernihiv. Russia has reportedly stepped up attacks on infrastructure across Ukraine since October 10, damaging the country’s power plants in apparent response to an attack on the Crimean Bridge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Crimean bridge blast a “terrorist attack” aimed at destroying critical civilian infrastructure in the country. Putin blamed Ukrainian special services for the attack on the key bridge that connects Crimea to mainland Russia.

Putin called the explosion an Ukrainian “act of terrorism”. The bridge is a symbol of his campaign to incorporate large swaths of Ukraine into Russia.

An employee of the plant called Pavlo, quoted by the AFP news agency, said “we are facing such damage for the first time”. The unnamed factory had been targeted twice by missiles, then by an Iranian-made “kamikaze” drone. He said repairs had been underway for more than two weeks, but “there are difficulties in that the equipment that has been damaged is unique – it is difficult to find the same parts”.

(With BBC inputs)

Christi C. Elwood