Ukraine faces more blackouts and strikes in Russian-controlled Melitopol
Tass, a Russian state-owned news agency, quoted the pro-Russian acting governor of the Zaporizhzhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, as saying that a strike on Melitopol using a HIMARS guided rocket system killed two people and injured 10 others.
For months, Ukrainian partisans working behind Russian lines have carried out attacks on targets around Melitopol, including one in the summer near Mr Balitsky’s office. Mr Fedorov said there had also been other attacks in the city in recent days, as well as a strike on the port city of Berdyansk, further east.
When Ukraine recaptured the southern city of Kherson in mid-November, forcing Moscow to withdraw its troops to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River after months of military pressure, it opened a new phase in the battle for southern Ukraine.
The advance allowed Ukraine to use longer-range artillery, including the US-supplied HIMARS weapons system, to strike targets deeper inside Russian-held territory between the east bank of the river and the Sea of Azov, an area which includes Melitopol.
Whatever hope Ukrainians find in these military successes is outweighed by the damage Russia has inflicted on the factories and equipment Ukrainians rely on for heat and light. The relentless barrage, which has drawn condemnation from world leaders, plunges Ukraine into a grim cycle in which crews race to restore power only to knock it out again.
In remarks on Saturday evening, Zelensky said power cuts persisted in various parts of Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv. Some were what he called “emergency” outages resulting from attacks. Others were what he called “stabilization” outages, or scheduled outages on a schedule.
“The electrical system is now, to say the least, very far from a normal state – there is a serious shortage in the system,” he said, urging people to reduce their energy consumption to put less pressure on the ailing power grid.