©Health & Fitness Journal. A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar at a front line as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues in Zaporizhia region, Ukraine, November 16, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer 2/6
By Max Hunder and Jonathan Landay
KIEV/KHERSON, Ukraine (Health & Fitness Journal) – Russian missile strikes have crippled nearly half of Ukraine’s power system, the government said on Friday, and authorities in the capital Kyiv warned the city could face a “complete shutdown” of the power grid in the winter could plays in.
As temperatures dropped and Kyiv saw its first snow, officials worked to restore power across the country after some of the heaviest bombardments of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure in nine months of the war.
The United Nations says electricity and water shortages in Ukraine this winter threaten a humanitarian catastrophe.
“Unfortunately, Russia continues to conduct missile attacks on Ukraine’s civilian and critical infrastructure. Almost half of our energy system is shut down,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, who offered “unwavering support” to Ukraine.
Engineers raced to fix Kyiv’s power grid.
“We are preparing for various scenarios, including a full shutdown,” Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of Kyiv city administration, said in TV commentaries.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a country with a pre-war population of about 44 million, about 10 million people are without electricity. Electricity supply has been difficult in 17 regions and the capital, and authorities have ordered forced emergency power cuts in some areas, Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
Ukraine’s national grid operator Ukrenergo said Russia launched six large-scale missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure from Oct. 10 to Nov. 15.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces on Thursday used long-range weapons to attack defense and industrial facilities, including “missile manufacturing plants.”
Health & Fitness Journal was unable to verify battlefield reports.
Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Moscow described as a “military special operation” to eliminate dangerous nationalists. Ukraine calls Russia’s actions an unprovoked imperialist land grab.
Thousands of Russian men have fled abroad to avoid conscription in a conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions, reduced cities to ruins and reopened Cold War-era divisions.
After a counter-offensive, Russian forces looted areas in the southern Cherson region, which are now back under Ukrainian control, said the deputy head of the Zelenskyi government.
“After a trip to the … Kherson region, one thing became clear – our people there need a lot of help. The Russians not only killed and mined all the cities and villages, but also robbed all the cities and villages. There is practically nothing there”, Kyrylo told Tymoshenko on the messaging app Telegram.
A Health & Fitness Journal witness heard explosions in the center of the city of Kherson on Friday morning and saw black smoke billowing from behind buildings. Police blocked access, but the excitement didn’t seem to bother hundreds of people in the central square as they queued for humanitarian aid.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in an evening report that Russian forces, now routed on the east bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, shelled towns like Antonivka and Bilozerka on the west bank, as well as Chernobaivka, which they had used as a depot for equipment.
Investigators in the liberated areas of the Kherson region have discovered 63 bodies with signs of torture after Russian forces withdrew, Ukraine’s Interior Minister was quoted as saying.
The Human Rights Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament, Dmytro Lubinets, released a video of what he believed to be a torture chamber used by Russian forces in the Kherson region.
Separately, in a report supported by the US State Department, researchers from Yale University concluded that hundreds of people were arrested or missing in Kherson while it was under Russian control, and dozens may have been tortured.
Health & Fitness Journal could not verify the various claims. Russia denies that its troops deliberately attacked civilians or committed atrocities.
RUSSIAN PRISONERS “EXECUTED”
In other parts previously occupied by Russian troops, mass graves have been found, including some containing civilian corpses showing signs of torture.
For its part, Russia accused Ukraine of executing more than 10 Russian prisoners of war with direct shots in the head. Health & Fitness Journal was unable to immediately verify the Defense Department’s statement. No immediate reply came from Kyiv.
Russia has moved some troops from Kherson to bolster its positions in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, an industrial area known as Donbass.
Zelenskyi said Ukrainian forces repelled about 100 attacks in Donetsk without the fighting abating.
“Very fierce fighting continues in the Donetsk region,” said Zelenskyy in his speech on Friday evening. “There was no break.”
Ukrainian military said Russian forces fired shells at a number of towns in eastern and southern Ukraine.
In its evening report it said that Russian troops had practiced mortar and artillery fire near Bakhmut – the scene of the fiercest fighting in Ukraine – and shelled the towns of Bakhmut, Soledar and Bilohorivka.
Russian artillery fire also hit areas near Avdiivka, a key Russian target just inside Ukrainian-controlled territory, including the central cities of Maryinka and Pervomaiske.
Artillery fire also hit towns further west in Donetsk and in the Zaporizhia region of southern Ukraine, including Vuhledar and Hulyaipole. Health & Fitness Journal could not immediately verify the report.