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Ukraine expects new attacks, the West expects humanitarian aid


KYIV (AP) — Ukraine braced for more Russian strikes Monday and warned of the possibility of another evacuation from the capital amid a relative lull in airstrikes on energy sites and other key infrastructure in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in the West, they stepped up preparations to increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine, so that the population could enjoy warmth in the coldest months and keep the nation’s resolve as high as possible.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian troops “are preparing new strikes and as long as they have missiles, they will not stop.”

“The coming week could be as difficult as the last,” he said.

In the capital, Kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said some of the city’s 3 million people may have to evacuate to places where essential services will be less susceptible to blackouts caused by missile attacks.

Russia launched a flurry of missile strikes on energy facilities around Kiev, knocking out electricity and cutting off the city’s water supply.

And with temperatures hovering around freezing and expected to drop to minus 11C (12F) in just over a week, international aid has increasingly focused on items like generators and auto transformers to ensure blackouts affect everything from: kitchens before operation rooms are as limited and short as possible.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to try to turn Ukraine into a black hole – no light, no electricity, no heating, in order to put Ukrainians in darkness and cold,” said the head of European foreign policy, Joseph Borel. “Therefore, we must continue our support by providing more supplies for Ukrainians to survive the winter without electricity.”

Borel headed the meeting of EU ministers, which specifically “looked at the Ukrainian war from the perspective of the humanitarian crisis.”

Over the next three days, senior NATO officials and foreign ministers will gather in Bucharest, Romania, where such humanitarian aspects will also be assessed.

On Monday, Ukrainian energy company Ukrenergo said it was still short of 27% of production following Russian strikes on energy infrastructure. “The extent and complexity of the damage is high and repairs are ongoing around the clock,” the company said in a statement.

Electricity has been restored to 17% of residents of the southern city of Kherson, which Ukraine reclaimed earlier this month. The Russians continued to bombard the city with artillery fire.

The administration of Ukraine’s president said on Monday that at least four civilians were killed and 11 others were injured in the latest Russian attacks. It says that intense fighting continues along the front line in the east, with the Russians shelling Bakhmut and Taretsk at the epicenter of the fighting.

“People are hiding in basements, many of which are filled with water,” Donetsk Governor Paulo Kirilenko said. “They lived in catastrophic conditions without electricity or heating.”

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