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Kyiv is preparing for winter without heat, water and light


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The mayor of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, is warning residents to prepare for the worst this winter as Russia continues to strike the country’s energy infrastructure — and that means no electricity, water or heat in the freezing cold. cannot be ruled out.

“We are doing everything to prevent this from happening. But, let’s be honest, our enemies are doing everything so that the city remains without heat, without light, without water supply, in general, so that we all die. And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how prepared we are for different situations,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the state media.

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in his late-night video address to the nation on Sunday, said that about 4.5 million people were left without electricity. He called on Ukrainians to endure difficulties and “we must survive this winter and be even stronger than now in the spring.”

Over the past month, Russia has focused on striking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leading to power shortages and blackouts across the country. On Sunday in Kyiv, electricity was cut off every hour in some parts of the city and its surroundings.

A gradual shutdown of electricity is also planned in Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava regions, the state energy operator of Ukraine “Ukrenerga” reported.

Kyiv plans to install about 1,000 heating points, but it is still unclear whether this will be enough for a city of three million people.

While Russia is intensifying its attacks on the capital, Ukrainian forces are advancing south. Residents of the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson received warning messages on their phones urging them to evacuate as soon as possible, the Ukrainian military reported on Sunday. The Russian military warned civilians that the Ukrainian army was preparing for a massive attack, and ordered them to immediately withdraw to the right bank of the city.

Russian troops are preparing for a Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake the southern city of Kherson, which was captured in the first days of the invasion. In September, Russia illegally annexed Kherson, as well as three other regions, and then declared martial law in four regions.

The Kremlin-appointed administration in Kherson has already evicted tens of thousands of civilians from the city.

Russia is simultaneously “occupying and evacuating” Kherson, trying to convince the Ukrainians that they are leaving, although in fact they are digging in, Natalya Humenyuk, the press secretary of the Southern Forces of Ukraine, told state television.

“Defence units dug in quite a bit there, a certain amount of equipment was left, firing positions were set up,” she said.

Russian troops are also entrenched in the region in the east with fierce fighting, worsening already dire conditions for residents and the defending Ukrainian army following Moscow’s illegal annexation and declaration of martial law in the Donetsk region.

The attacks almost completely destroyed the power stations serving the city of Bakhmut and the neighboring city of Saledar, said Ukrainian Governor Pavlo Kirilenko. As a result of the shelling, one civilian was killed and three others were wounded, he said late on Saturday.

“The destruction is daily, if not hourly,” Kirilenko told state television.

Moscow-backed separatists controlled parts of Donetsk for nearly eight years before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Defending the self-proclaimed separatist republic there was one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the invasion, and his troops have spent months trying to capture the entire province.

According to Zelensky’s office, between Saturday and Sunday, Russia launched 4 missiles and 19 airstrikes against more than 35 villages in nine oblasts, from Chernihiv and Kharkiv in the northeast to Kherson and Mykolaiv in the south. As a result of the strikes, two people were killed and six were injured.

In the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, the 15,000 residents who remained were living under daily shelling and without running water or electricity, according to local media. The city has been under attack for months, but the bombardment intensified after Russian forces suffered setbacks during Ukrainian counteroffensives in the Kharkiv and Kherson regions.

The front line is now on the outskirts of Bakhmut, which is reportedly run by mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian military company.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group’s founder, who usually stayed off the radar, is taking on a more prominent role in the war. In a statement on Sunday, he announced the funding and creation of “militia training centers” in Russia’s southwestern Belgorod and Kursk regions, saying local residents were best suited to “counter sabotage” on Russian soil. The training centers are an addition to the military technology center the group is opening in St. Petersburg.

In Kharkiv, officials are working to identify the bodies found in mass graves after the departure of the Russians, Dmitry Chubenko, spokesman for the regional prosecutor’s office, told local media.

DNA samples have been collected from 450 bodies found in a mass burial in the city of Izyum, but the samples need to be matched with relatives, and so far only 80 people have been involved, he said.

One of the good news was that the Zaporizhia NPP was reconnected to the energy system of Ukraine, local media reported on Sunday. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant needs electricity to keep its vital cooling systems running, but has been running on emergency diesel generators after Russian shelling cut off its external communications.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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