It was 9.30 in the morning this Friday when the citizens of the center of kyiv maintained their routine despite a new blackout. Another one, they thought of a cafeteria while the employees continued to serve breakfast while the generator motor began to roar, which, from that moment on, allowed them to continue serving customers. But the anti-aircraft alarms warned that it was not just another power outage, but that the population was facing one of the worst bombardments on the country since the invasion began on February 24, which has left half of the country without essential supplies. the population. Russia had launched up to 76 missiles of which 60 were intercepted, according to the kyiv authorities. The region that hosts the capital was the main target with 40 of those shells. EL PAÍS was able to verify how one of the cruise missiles was split in two and did not explode in the vicinity of one of the power plants that supplies energy to the inhabitants.
The Ukrainian capital was attacked again and thousands of people were forced to take refuge in the metro stations, a safe and accessible place where the service was interrupted. Only 48 hours had passed since those same scenes had been experienced during the launch of more than a dozen suicide drones on Wednesday morning. But not only kyiv was being bombed this Friday, also a dozen regions across the country. The situation was especially complicated in Kharkov, a region that is home to the country’s second city. Two people were killed when a residential building was hit in Krivi Rig (Dnipro region), the birthplace of President Volodimir Zelensky. Another lost her life in Kherson.
Despite everything, the main objective, as the Kremlin Army insists in constant offensives for the past two months, has once again been the country’s energy system. A total of nine infrastructures were damaged, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko reported. All at a time when the cold maximizes the peaks of energy consumption of citizens. The bombing also forced the authorities to reduce the production of nuclear power plants, added the minister, who referred to what happened as “another terrorist attack.”
The state company Ukrenergo calculates that the Russian bombardments prevent supplying half the population. The cuts in the supply of water, electricity and gas occur throughout the country while the companies in charge of restoring the service are increasingly suffering from the succession of attacks. The main objective is to meet the needs of infrastructures considered critical, such as hospitals, water pumping stations and plants responsible for heating water. In some cases, as also happened this Friday, the bombardments knock down communications via mobile phones.
Russia launched a total of 76 missiles from the Caspian Sea or the Black Sea, of which 60 were intercepted, according to General Valeri Zaluzhni, the top chief of the local Army, through the Telegram social network. Most (72) were Kh-101, Kh-22 and Kalibr model cruise missiles while the other four were Kh-59 or Kh-31P type guided missiles. The high effectiveness in the defense was thanks to the anti-aircraft systems, which Ukraine has been significantly improving with foreign aid throughout the conflict, and the work of the troops of the Land Forces.
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The main target of the bombardment was the kyiv region, where 40 of the missiles were launched, of which 37 were shot down before reaching their target, according to kyiv’s military spokesman, Mikhailo Shamanov. In the surroundings of one of the power plants that supplies the capital with energy, a group of soldiers celebrated having managed to hit a cruise missile in the air. It fell without exploding to a farm near those facilities in the Troieshchina neighborhood, in the northeast of the capital. Several bomb technicians analyzed the remains of the projectile, which was split in two, after having cordoned off the area.
The authorities once again sent a message of warning and understanding to the public, since the energy system is still badly damaged and there is not enough time to carry out the necessary emergency repairs. Six hours after the attack, the metro still did not resume its activity in kyiv. In their stations, equipped after all these months with chairs to facilitate waiting during alarms, hundreds of people crowd into the halls and stairs. Some people continue to work from there with their laptops. Trams and trolleybuses were not working either, whose lines were being replaced by buses in a city where the presence of snow has been imposed for days.
This Friday has been one of the largest attacks launched by Russia since it adopted the strategy of using cold as a weapon on October 10. Since then, on a dozen occasions it has massively bombarded different regions of Ukraine with the aim of leaving the population without electricity, water and gas supplies. It all happens when the country enters the coldest weeks of the year and the damage caused by these attacks keeps the energy system only working halfway.
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