Dhe massive damage to its energy grids is forcing Ukraine to shut down electricity across the country on Thursday. President Volodymyr Zelenskyj called on the citizens of his war-torn country to help. “We will do everything we can to restore our country’s normal energy supply,” he said in his video address on Wednesday evening. “But it takes time and our joint efforts with you.” According to the latest information from the government in Kyiv, Russian missile and drone attacks have damaged 40 percent of the energy infrastructure in the past few days.
Zelenskyj also referred to the imposition of martial law in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin. It was a sign of hysteria in the face of the impending Russian defeat. The Ukrainian head of state called on the men in the occupied territories not to be drafted into the Russian army.
The Russian occupying forces in the Kherson region continued efforts to relocate the Ukrainian civilian population to territory safely controlled by Moscow. For Ukraine, Thursday marks the 239th day of the war since the start of the Russian invasion. Actually, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expected to be in Kyiv on that day. For safety reasons, the trip was postponed at short notice.
A day with almost no electricity for the Ukrainians
Ukraine is making progress in defending against Iranian-made Russian drones, said Zelenskyy. In October alone, 233 Shahed-136 drones were shot down. Unfortunately, three energy supply objects were also destroyed on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy discussed with his government how failures of the damaged networks in winter can be avoided. Work is underway to provide mobile power sources for critical infrastructure in cities, towns and villages, he said.
The population was asked to use as little electricity as possible on Thursday between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. local time (6 a.m. to 9 p.m. CEST). In addition, the electricity in each area will be switched off for up to four hours at different times, said the utility Ukrenerho. The reason for the restrictions is a lack of power in the system. “We do not rule out that with the onset of cold we will ask for your help more often,” it said.
“Please do not turn on any unnecessary electronic devices!” Zelenskyy asked. The time for shutdowns to stabilize the grid will be all the shorter.
Zelenskyj: Don’t let Russia recruit you!
“The hysteria is getting bigger as Russia’s defeat approaches,” Zelenskyj commented on the declaration of martial law in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions. Russia is claiming these for itself in violation of international law. “Russia avoided the word war for half a year, punished its own people for it, and now it is itself declaring martial law in the occupied territories,” said Zelenskyy. In Russia, the war, which lasted almost eight months, is officially called a military special operation.
With the tightening, there is a growing danger that Russia will force Ukrainians to fight against their own compatriots. “Avoid that if at all possible!” Zelenskyj said. Anyone who can leave these areas should do so. Those who have been drafted should lay down their arms and try to desert to the Ukrainians. “The most important thing: save their lives and be sure to help others too!”
Russian occupiers resettle Ukrainians from Cherson
In the Cherson region, the Russian occupying forces fear a massive Ukrainian attack. According to its own statements, it has therefore already resettled 7,000 civilians from the region on the right side of the Dnipro River, as the head of administration Vladimir Saldo said. However, the Ukrainian army has made the bridges across the river impassable. The occupation administration called on people to go to the port of Kherson. Small steamers operated from there to the left bank during the day. “Each person is allowed to carry 50 kilos of luggage,” the information said. “Pets are allowed.”
Another spokesman for the occupying forces in Kherson, Kirill Stremusov, said all Ukrainian attacks on Wednesday were repelled. The Ukrainian side has not had any information about the alleged major offensive for days.
Steinmeier does not go to Kyiv on the second attempt either
According to information from the German Press Agency, security reasons were decisive for the postponement of Steinmeier’s trip to Kyiv. The Federal President wanted to meet with Zelenskyj in Kyiv on Thursday. The officially unannounced trip should be made up for quickly, it said.
“We are in close and confidential planning of a visit by the Federal President to Ukraine, which is important to both sides.” Steinmeier’s spokeswoman Cerstin Gammelin and the future Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Oleksii Makeiev, wrote verbatim on Twitter. A telephone call from the President has been arranged for Thursday.
In April, Kyiv canceled a visit by Steinmeier – allegedly out of anger at his pro-Russian attitude. This caused resentment in Berlin in the early stages of the war.
That will be important on Thursday
At a summit in Brussels, the heads of state and government of the European Union are looking for a way out of the energy crisis. Selenskyj is to be connected via video. He has announced that he will address his country’s current electricity shortage. Ukraine hopes that foreign partners will give it generators.