KYIV — Ukraine prepared for further Russian attacks on Monday and warned of the possibility of a fresh evacuation of the capital during the lull following air strikes on energy facilities and facilities. other critical infrastructure in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, in the West, preparations have been ramped up to increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine so that people can enjoy the warmth of the coldest months and keep the nation’s resolve highest. maybe.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that the Russian military “is preparing new attacks and as long as they have missiles, they will not stop”.
“Next week could be as difficult as last week,” he said.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt visited the capital Kyiv on Monday and said it was “a desperate situation we are seeing. Many here face a grim choice: run away or freeze to death. Russia’s war is peerless cynicism.”
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said part of the city’s 3 million inhabitants could be evacuated to places where essential services would be less likely to be shut down due to missile attacks.
Russia hit energy facilities around Kyiv with a series of missile attacks, which resulted in power outages and the shutdown of the city’s water supply.
And with temperatures hovering around freezing and expected to drop to minus 11C (12 degrees Fahrenheit) in less than a week, international help is increasingly focused on items like generators. and automatic transformers, to ensure that power outages affecting everything from kitchens to room operations are as limited and as brief as possible.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “continues to try to turn Ukraine into a black hole – no light, no electricity, no heating to push Ukrainians into darkness and cold,” European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. said. “So we have to continue to support the Ukrainians with more material to face the winter without electricity.”
Borrell is chairing a meeting of EU ministers that will specifically “consider the Ukraine war from the perspective of a humanitarian crisis.”
Over the next three days, top NATO officials and foreign ministers will gather in Bucharest, Romania, where such humanitarian aspects will also be assessed.
Ukraine’s energy supplier Ukrenergo said on Monday that it is still 27 percent short of output after Russia attacked its energy infrastructure. “The scale and complexity of the damage is very high, and repair work continues around the clock,” the company said in a statement.
Power supply has been restored to 17% of residents in the southern city of Kherson, which Ukraine regained earlier this month. Russian troops continued to shell the city.
Ukraine’s presidential office said on Monday that at least four civilians were killed and 11 others injured in the latest Russian attacks. It said intense fighting was continuing along the eastern front lines, with Russian artillery shelling Bakhmut and Toretsk at the heart of the fighting.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said: “People are sheltering in basements, many floors are flooded with water. “They lived in dire conditions with no electricity or heating.”
Also on Monday, Russia denied that it planned to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, which it has occupied since the early days of the war.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters that it makes no sense to look for signs of withdrawal from the plant “when there are not and cannot be”.
Peskov’s comments were in response to Ukraine’s claim that Russian forces were bound to withdraw from the plant as they faced a continued Ukrainian counterattack.
The factory was closed after repeated shelling, which Russia and Ukraine blamed on each other. The United Nations nuclear watchdog and international leaders have urged Russia to demilitarize the plant to avoid a nuclear disaster, but Moscow has rejected the request, saying it needs to maintain its military presence. The team is there to make sure it’s safe.