A missile strike seriously damaged a key energy facility in Ukraine’s capital region, the country’s power system operator said Saturday as the Russian military strove to cut water and electricity in populated areas.
Kyiv region Gov. Oleksiy Kuleba said the strike did not kill or wound anyone.
Electricity transmission company Ukrenergo said repair crews were working to restore power but warned residents about possible outages.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s office, urged Kyiv area residents and people in three neighboring regions to reduce their energy consumption during evening hours of peak demand.
After a truck bomb explosion a week ago damaged the bridge that links Russia to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, the Kremlin launched what is believed to be its largest coordinated missile attacks since the initial invasion of Ukraine.
This week’s wide-ranging retaliatory attacks hit residential buildings, killing dozens of people, as well as civil infrastructure such as power stations near Kyiv and other cities far from the front lines of the war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow did not see a need for additional massive strikes but his military would continue selective strikes. He said of 29 targets the Russian military planned to knock out in this week’s attacks, seven weren’t damaged and would be taken out gradually.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, interpreted Putin’s remarks as intended to counter criticism from pro-war Russian bloggers who “largely praised the resumption of strikes against Ukrainian cities but warned that a short campaign would be ineffective.”
“Putin knew he would not be able to sustain high-intensity missiles strikes for a long time due to a dwindling arsenal of high-precision missiles,” the think tank said.
Regions of southern Ukraine that Putin illegally designated as Russian territory last month remained a focus of fighting Saturday.
Kirill Stremousov, a deputy head of the administration Moscow installed in the mostly Russian-occupied Kherson region, reminded residents they could evacuate to Crimea and cities in southwestern Russia as Ukrainian forces try to battle their way to the regional capital.
After the region’s worried Kremlin-backed leaders asked civilians Thursday to evacuate to ensure their safety and to give Russian troops more maneuverability, Moscow offered free accommodations to residents who agreed to leave.
Ukrainian troops attempted to advance south along the banks of the Dnieper River but did gain any ground, according to Stremousov.
“The defense lines worked, and the situation has remained under the full control of the Russian army,” he wrote on his messaging app channel.
In the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region, Gov. Oleksandr Starukh said the Russian military carried out strikes with Iranian-made kamikaze drones and S-300 missiles. Some experts said the Russian military’s use of the long-range missiles may reflect shortages of dedicated precision weapons for hitting ground targets.
To the north and east of Kherson, Russian shelling killed two civilians in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Gov. Valentyn Resnichenko said. He said the shelling of the city of Nikopol, which is located across the Dnieper from the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, damaged a dozen residential buildings, several stores and a transportation facility.