Restart in occupied Kherson

Kyiv – Russian-appointed authorities say they are working to partially restore power to the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson after what they call a Ukrainian terrorist attack on power lines.

The southern city in the region that Moscow illegally annexed in September was cut off from electricity and water supplies on Sunday after damage to three power lines.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the pro-Kremlin administration for the partially occupied Kherson region, said on Monday that in the city of Kherson “electricity and connectivity are being partially restored.” reported on Sunday that the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station was also damaged by Ukrainian strikes.

Ukrainian officials have not responded to the allegations.

Stremousov has repeatedly urged civilians to evacuate from Kherson – which lies on the west bank of the Dnieper – to Russian-controlled territory on the east bank in anticipation of a major Ukrainian counter-offensive to retake the strategic port city.

Last month, Ukraine’s Southern Operations Command reported that Russian occupying forces in the Kherson region deliberately cut off electricity, water and internet access to force the population to evacuate.

Tens of thousands of civilians have already evacuated the region’s capital after being ordered to evacuate the area in October amid Ukraine’s counter-offensive that has retaken scores of settlements in the region.

But on Monday, the region’s Russian-installed administration announced that it was halting “the movement of civilian vehicles across the Dnieper by water and pontoon ferry,” citing “increased military danger” and threats against civilians.

Meanwhile, in another annexed region, Donetsk, officials deployed by Russia accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the regional capital, also known as Donetsk, with HIMARS rocket launchers early Monday.

The city’s Kremlin-backed mayor Alexei Kulemzin said a fire broke out at an administration building of the Donetsk Railway but the blaze was contained and there were no injuries. The Ukrainian authorities have not commented on the incident. The city of Donetsk has been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

In Ukrainian-held areas, Russia has repeatedly targeted energy infrastructure. Ukraine’s state-owned power grid operator Ukrenergo on Monday announced blackouts in the capital Kyiv and the surrounding region, as well as in the Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava and Zhytomyr regions.

Deputy head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said that Russian attacks in the Zaporizhia region targeted civilian objects, including a cultural center, peasant warehouses and private apartments. The official noted that the Zaporizhia region – which was also illegally annexed by Russia in September but not fully controlled by Russian forces – has been shelled 52 times in the last 24 hours, killing one person.


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Sarah Y. Kim

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