Russia launched mass attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine on Wednesday, cutting off power across much of the country and causing temporary blackouts in power plants, Ukrainian officials said.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy said the “majority of electricity” for consumers in Ukraine was cut off following the shelling.
Officials also reported a temporary power outage for all nuclear power plants and most heating and hydropower plants, affecting millions of people.
“There are some emergency outages. The lack of electricity may affect the availability of heating and water supplies,” the ministry said in a Facebook update. “Energy workers are already working and are doing their best to restore power as quickly as possible. But [given the extent of] the impact, it’s going to take some time.”
Since October, following heavy losses in the war, Russia has launched rocket attacks on civilian infrastructure and energy networks in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Energy said that despite widespread power outages, “Russia will not be able to intimidate Ukrainians.”
“Ukrainians aren’t afraid of the cold. Ukrainians aren’t afraid of the dark. Ukrainians are not afraid of terrorists,” officials wrote in the Facebook post.
According to a telegram post from state-owned network operator Ukrenergo, which is working quickly to repair the damage, Wednesday’s attacks included 70 rockets, of which around 51 were shot down by air defense.
“The dispatchers and technicians from Ukrenergo are working to reconnect the attacked regions with each other using backup programs,” the article states. “Ukrenergo’s repair teams are evaluating the extent of the damage and repairing the damage wherever possible.”
Almost complete power outages were reported in the Kharkiv region of southern Ukraine.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said the city is completely without electricity but is working quickly to restore power.
“Today I appeal to you — don’t panic! We have experienced more difficult times and we will survive that,” Terekhov said in a Telegram post.
The Kiev region, which includes the Ukrainian capital Kiev, was almost completely without electricity on Wednesday. The city of Lviv in western Ukraine also experienced a major power outage.
Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that he had directed the ambassador to the United Nations to request an emergency meeting with the Security Council following the strikes.
“The murder of civilians, the destruction of civilian infrastructure are acts of terror,” Zelensky tweeted. “Ukraine continues to call for a resolute response from the international community to these crimes.”