Categories
Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Ukrainians work to restore power to nuclear plants as country freezes

Advertisements
Listen to this article
2022-11-24T17:26:30Z

Russian missiles on Wednesday knocked out electricity in the Kyiv region and elsewhere across the country, killing at least six people during attacks that caused widespread blackouts. Video contains graphic images. Tamara Lindstrom produced this report.

Ukraine restored power on Thursday to two of its four nuclear power plants but much of the country remained consigned to freezing darkness by the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy infrastructure so far.

Viewed from space, Ukraine has become a dark patch on the globe at night, satellite images released by NASA showed, following repeated barrages of Russian missiles in recent weeks.

With temperatures falling below zero, authorities were working to get the lights and heat back on. Russia’s latest missile barrage killed 10 people and shut down all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants for the first time in 40 years.

Regional authorities in Kyiv said power had been restored to three quarters of the capital by Thursday morning and water was working again in some areas. Transport was back up and running in the city, with buses replacing electric trams.

Authorities hoped to restart the three nuclear power plants in Ukrainian-held territory by the end of the day. By early evening, officials said a reactor at one of them, the Khmelnytskyi nuclear plant, had been reconnected to the grid.

The vast Zaporizhzhia plant in Russian-held territory also had to activate backup diesel power but it too was reconnected on Thursday, Ukrainian nuclear power company Energoatom said.

Since early October, Russia has attacked energy targets across Ukraine about once a week, each time firing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of missiles to knock out Ukraine’s power grid.

Moscow acknowledges attacking basic infrastructure, saying its aim is to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and push it to negotiate. Kyiv says such attacks are clearly intended to harm civilians, making them a war crime.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was Kyiv’s fault Ukrainians were suffering because it refused to yield to Moscow’s demands, which he did not spell out. Ukraine says it will only stop fighting when all Russian forces have left.

“What is there to talk about? I think that the first step should come from them. For starters, they have to stop shelling us,” said 27-year-old Olena Shafinska, queuing at a water pump in a park in central Kyiv with a group of friends.

Nuclear officials say interruptions in power can disrupt cooling systems and cause an atomic disaster.

“There is a real danger of a nuclear and radiation catastrophe being caused by firing on the entire territory of Ukraine with Russian cruise and ballistic missiles,” Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said.

“Russia must answer for this shameful crime.”

Winter has arrived abruptly in Ukraine and temperatures were well below freezing in the capital, a city of three million. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “clearly weaponising winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people”.

The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.

There was no prospect of action from the Security Council, where Russia wields a veto. Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, said it was against council rules for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to appear via video as he did on Wednesday, and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.

He blamed damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure on its air defence missiles and said the West should stop supplying them.

Ukrainian authorities said three apartment blocks were hit on Wednesday, killing ten people.

“Our little one was sleeping. Two years old. She was sleeping, she got covered. She is alive, thanks be to God,” said a man who gave his name as Fyodr, dragging a suitcase as he walked away from a smouldering apartment building hit in Kyiv.

Also in the capital, performers and staff members of the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theater tearfully bid farewell to 26-year-old ballet dancer Vadym Khlupianets who was killed fighting Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has shifted to the tactic of striking Ukraine’s infrastructure even as Kyiv has inflicted battlefield defeats on Russian forces since September. Russia has also declared the annexation of land it occupies and called up hundreds of thousands of reservists.

The war’s first winter will now test whether Ukraine can press on with its campaign to recapture territory, or whether Russia’s commanders can keep their invasion forces supplied and find a way to halt Kyiv’s momentum.

Having retreated, Russia has a far shorter line to defend to hold on to seized lands, with more than a third of the front now blocked off by the Dnipro River.

“Ukraine will slowly grow in capabilities, but a continued maneuver east of the Dnipro River and into Russian-occupied Donbas will prove to be much tougher fights,” tweeted Mark Hertling, a former commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe.

“Ukrainian morale will be tested with continued Russian attacks against civilian infrastructure … but Ukraine will persevere.”

Russia has been pressing an offensive of its own along the front line west of the city of Donetsk, held by Moscow’s proxies since 2014. Ukraine said Russian forces tried again to advance on their main targets, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, with only limited success.

Further south, Russian forces were digging in on the eastern bank of the Dnipro, shelling areas across it including the city of Kherson, recaptured by Ukrainian forces this month.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield accounts.

Moscow says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to protect Russian speakers in what Putin calls an artificial state carved from Russia. Ukraine and the West call the invasion an unprovoked war of aggression.

Related Galleries:

Local residents stand near their building destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Vyshhorod, near Kyiv, Ukraine November 24, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A local resident stands with a free hot food near a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Vyshhorod, near Kyiv, Ukraine November 24, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is seen on the screen as he speaks during the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, Spain, November 21, 2022. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council members at the United Nations headquarters in New York, U.S., October 27, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

People wait for to get on a train bound for Kyiv, after Russia’s military retreat from Kherson, at the central train station in Kherson, Ukraine November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A view shows the city centre without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Vyshhorod, near Kyiv, Ukraine, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Vyshhorod, near Kyiv, Ukraine, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

People ride on a bus in the city centre without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

Rescuers work at a site of a residential building destroyed by a Russian missile attack, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in the town of Vyshhorod, near Kyiv, Ukraine, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Musiienko

A view shows the city centre without electricity after critical civil infrastructure was hit by Russian missile attacks, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Pavlo Palamarchuk

A rescuer walks at a site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Rescuers work at a site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Rescuers work at a site of a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

People wait in line to get food, water and aid after Russia’s military retreat from Kherson, outside the Church of Christ the Savior in Kherson, Ukraine November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People wait in line to get food, water and aid after Russia’s military retreat from Kherson, at the Church of Christ the Savior in Kherson, Ukraine November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

People wait to get food, water and aid after Russia’s military retreat from Kherson, at the Church of Christ the Savior in Kherson, Ukraine November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, in this handout image released November 20, 2022. Iryna Rybakova/Press Service of the 93rd Independent Kholodnyi Yar Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS

Ukrainian law enforcement officers stand next to an entrance to the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery compound, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine November 22, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Ukrainian servicemen fire a mortar on a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, in this handout image released November 20, 2022. Iryna Rybakova/Press Service of the 93rd Independent Kholodnyi Yar Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits Kherson, Ukraine November 14, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is seen on the screen as he speaks during the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid, Spain, November 21, 2022. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo
Advertisements