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“Stock up on blankets”: Ukrainians prepare for a gloomy winter


KYIV, Ukraine – Power cuts across Ukraine could continue into March, according to one of the country’s energy chiefs, as Ukrainians prepare for a dark winter after weeks of Russian strikes relentless against its electrical network.

Sergey Kovalenko, CEO of private energy supplier DTEK Yasno, said in a Facebook post on Monday evening that the company was receiving instructions from Ukraine’s public grid operator to resume emergency power outages in areas. it covers, including the capital Kyiv and the eastern region of Dnipropetrovsk.

“Although there are fewer power cuts now, I want everyone to understand: most likely Ukrainians will have to live with power cuts until at least the end of March,” Kovalenko warned.

“I think we have to be prepared for different options, even the worst ones. Stock up on warm clothes, blankets, think about what will help you wait for a long stop,” he said, addressing Ukrainian residents.

Russia has been hammering Ukraine’s power grid and other infrastructure for weeks as the war nears its nine-month milestone. This assault caused widespread blackouts and deprived millions of Ukrainians of electricity, heat and water.

Temperatures generally stay below zero in Ukraine during the winter months. Ukrainian authorities have started evacuating civilians from recently liberated sections of the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv, fearing that the winter will be difficult to survive.

Kovalenko added that even if there were no more Russian strikes, planned blackouts will be needed across Ukraine to ensure electricity is evenly distributed across the struggling power grid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said Russian missile strikes have damaged more than 50% of the country’s energy facilities, and the World Health Organization is warning that millions are facing a “deadly” winter in Ukraine.

The battle for the ground continued unabated despite deteriorating weather conditions, with Ukrainian forces pressing Russian positions in a week-long counteroffensive and Moscow forces continuing shelling and attacks. missile strikes.

In a key battlefield development, a Ukrainian official admitted that Kyiv forces were attacking Russian positions on the Kinburn Spit, which is a gateway to the Black Sea basin and parts of the southern region. of Kherson which are still under Russian control.

Despite a breakdown of information around the operation, Natalya Humenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian army’s Southern Operational Command, said in televised remarks that Ukrainian forces were “continuing a military operation” in the region.

The Kinburn Spit is the last Russian outpost in the Mykolaiv region of southern Ukraine, directly west of Kherson. Ukrainian forces recently liberated other parts of Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.

Moscow used the Kinburn Spit as a staging ground for missile and artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in Mykolaiv province and elsewhere along the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea coast.

Ukraine recently recaptured the city of Kherson, on the west bank of the Dnieper, and surrounding areas in a major battlefield advance.

Capturing the Kinburn Spit could help Ukrainian forces penetrate territory Russia still holds in the Kherson region “under far less Russian artillery fire” than an attempt to cross the Dnieper directly would likely trigger, it said on Monday. a Washington-based think tank.

The Institute for War Studies added that controlling the area would help Kyiv mitigate Russian strikes on southern Ukrainian seaports and allow Ukraine to increase naval activity in the Black Sea. .

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials on Tuesday morning reported nighttime shelling by Russian forces in several Ukrainian regions: eastern Donetsk, where the fighting is concentrated; northern Sumy, which borders Russia; and the southeast of Dnipropetrovsk.

In the partially occupied Donetsk region, the town of Avdiivka was the most affected by the shelling, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram.

The town was hit by several strikes overnight and a massive artillery barrage early in the morning. No casualties were reported, according to the official.

Sumy region governor Dmytro Zhyvytskiy said a total of 86 projectiles were fired at the area overnight. Russian forces targeted several villages with mortar fire, he said. No casualties were reported either.

In Dnipropetrovsk, the towns of Nikopol and Marhanets came under fire overnight, according to Governor Valentyn Reznichenko, with Russian forces firing around 60 projectiles.

No casualties were reported and the official gave no details on the extent of the damage.

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