March 25, 2023

The power deprivation facing Ukrainians has renewed tensions between Ukraine’s president and Kyiv’s mayor amid a looming power crisis and the start of the winter term.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko defended himself Sunday against accusations by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that too many Kyiv residents were still without power and that the centers that had been set up for them to stock up on food, water, batteries and other essentials were insufficient. .

Klitschko wrote on Telegram that hundreds of such centers are in operation, as well as hundreds of emergency generators, adding that “I don’t want, especially in the current situation, to get into political battles. It’s ridiculous.”

Klitschko, who had been embroiled in several disputes with Zelenskyy before the invasion, said the president’s allies had engaged in “manipulation” of the city’s efforts, including “incomprehensible photos” posted online.

Local residents shovel snow as a work by world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy is displayed on the wall of a destroyed building in the Ukrainian village of Horenka. [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

“To put it mildly, this is not pleasant. Not for the Ukrainians and not for our foreign partners,” Klitschko said.

In his late-night video address on Friday, Zelenskyy said the Kyiv mayor had not done enough to help beleaguered residents.

“To put it mildly, more work is needed,” he added.

After a devastating series of Russian artillery attacks on infrastructure that began last month, workers fanned out in round-the-clock deployments to restore key basic services as many Ukrainians were forced to cope with only a few few hours of electricity per day, if any. .

Ukrenergo, the state power grid operator, said on Sunday that power producers are now supplying about 80 percent of demand, compared with 75 percent the day before.

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winter impact

With persistent snow blanketing the capital on Sunday, analysts predicted that wintry weather, bringing icy terrain and grueling combat conditions, could have an increasing effect on the conflict that has raged since Russian forces invaded. Ukraine more than nine months ago.

Both sides were already bogged down by heavy rain and muddy battlefield conditions, experts said.

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that has been closely monitoring events in Ukraine, said reports from both sides indicated that heavy rain and mud had an effect, along with a broader freeze. which is expected along the front lines in the coming days.

“It is not clear if either party is actively planning or preparing to resume major offensive or counter-offensive operations at that time, but the weather factors that have been hampering such operations will begin to subside,” he said in a note published on Saturday.

A Ukrainian service member works on an M777 howitzer on the front lines, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, November 23, 2022.
A Ukrainian service member works next to an M777 howitzer along the front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on November 23, 2022. [Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via Reuters]

‘Time is of the essence’

Russian forces attacked eastern and southern Ukraine early Sunday as civilians continued to flee the southern city of Kherson due to the devastation caused by recent attacks and their fears of more to come.

The city of Kherson, which was liberated more than two weeks ago, an event Zelenskyy called a turning point in the war, has faced heavy shelling in recent days by nearby Russian forces.

The top UN official in Ukraine said civilians, many of whom lamented the uninhabitable conditions and feared more attacks to come, continued to pour out of Kherson on Sunday.

Resident walks through rubble after a Russian attack in Kherson, southern Ukraine [Bernat Armangue/AP Photo]

“The level of destruction, the extent of the destruction, what is required in the city and in the oblast, is enormous,” said UN Resident Coordinator Denise Brown, referring to the region. The UN teams were carrying supplies such as food, water, shelter materials, medicine, blankets and mattresses, she said.

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“Time is of the essence, of course, before it becomes an absolute catastrophe,” Brown told The Associated Press in Kherson.

In the eastern Donetsk region, five people were killed in shelling over the past day, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Regional leaders reported shelling overnight in the Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk areas to the west. In addition, he said that two people were killed by artillery fire in the city of Kurakhove.

The city of Kryvyi Rih in the soUkraine’s uth was also hit by a russian shelling, local authorities said.

Two missiles destroyed a transportation infrastructure facility in the morning, Military Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on the Telegram news channel, without giving further details.