The power deprivation Ukrainians face has renewed tensions between Ukraine’s president and Kyiv mayor amid a looming electricity crisis and the onset of winter.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko defended himself on Sunday against allegations by President Volodymyr Zelensky that many Kyiv residents were still without electricity and that the centers set up for them to store food, water, battery and other necessities were inadequate.
Klitschko wrote on Telegram that hundreds of such centers are operating, as well as hundreds of emergency generators, adding “I don’t want, especially in the current situation, to get into political fights. It’s absurd.”
Klitschko, who was mired in numerous disagreements with Zelensky before the invasion, said the president’s allies were involved in “manipulating” the city’s efforts, including “incomprehensible photos” posted online.
To put it mildly, this is not nice. Not for the Ukrainians or for our foreign partners,” Klitschko said.
In his nightly video address on Friday, Zelensky said the Kyiv mayor had not done enough to help the beleaguered residents.
“To put it mildly, more work is needed,” he added.
After a ferocious series of Russian artillery bombardments of infrastructure that began last month, workers have been scurrying around the clock to restore key basic services as many Ukrainians are forced to contend with only a few hours of electricity a day – if any. .
Ukrenergo, the state power grid operator, said on Sunday that electricity producers are now supplying about 80 percent of demand, compared to 75 percent the day before.
As snow continued to blanket the capital on Sunday, analysts expected the winter weather – which brings with it frozen terrain and harsh fighting conditions – to have an increasing impact on the conflict that has raged since Russian forces invaded Ukraine more than nine months ago.
Experts said both sides were already bogged down by heavy rains and muddy conditions on the battlefield.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that closely monitors developments in Ukraine, said reports from both sides indicated that heavy rain and slush were having an effect — along with a broader freeze expected along the front lines in the coming days.
“It is unclear whether either side is actively planning or preparing to resume major offensive or counterattack operations at that time, but the meteorological factors that impede such operations will begin to lift,” it said in a note published on Saturday.
‘Time is of the essence’
Russian forces bombarded eastern and southern Ukraine early Sunday as civilians continued to leave the southern city of Kherson, overwhelmed by the devastation caused by recent attacks and fears of more to come.
The city of Kherson, which was liberated more than two weeks ago — a development Zelensky described as a turning point in the war — has come under intense bombardment by nearby Russian forces in recent days.
The top UN official in Ukraine said civilians, many of whom lamented the unlivable conditions and feared more strikes, continued to pour out of Kherson on Sunday.
“The level of destruction, the scale of destruction, that is needed in the city and the oblast – it’s massive,” said UN Resident Coordinator Denise Brown, referring to the area. She said that UN teams were transporting supplies such as food, water, shelter materials, medicine, blankets, and mattresses.
“Of course, time is of the essence before it becomes an absolute disaster,” Brown told the Associated Press in Kherson.
Five people were killed in the bombing last day, said the governor of the eastern Donetsk region, said Governor Pavlo Kirilenko.
District leaders reported shelling overnight in the Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions to the west. In addition, he said that two people were killed in artillery fire on the town of Korachov.
The city of Kryvyi Rih SoLocal authorities said Oth in Ukraine was also attacked by Russian bombing.
Two missiles destroyed a transport infrastructure facility in the morning, military governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on the Telegram news channel, without providing further details.
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