Ukraine bounces back from the Russian dam, restores electricity supply

KYIV, Ukraine — Most power was restored in Ukraine’s capital on Friday, officials said, as the country again responded quickly and defiantly to the latest Russian missile and drone fire targeting critical infrastructure.

In a familiar Russian tactic since the beginning of October, the Kremlin’s forces struck Ukraine from afar on Thursday, while the ground fighting in the eastern part of the country largely continued to sink into a grinding stalemate.

The attack on power plants and other infrastructure is clearly aimed at weakening Ukraine’s resolve and forcing the Ukrainian government to negotiate peace on Moscow’s terms.

Ukrainian authorities have been scrambling to deal with the aftermath of the latest bombing, part of a recurring cycle of urban destruction and repair that has brought little change during the war, which recently entered its second year.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, explained that “these missile strikes will not undermine Ukraine’s will or improve Russia’s positions on the frontline.”

According to Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov, the Russians attack civilian infrastructure because they cannot effectively target Ukrainian military assets.

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“The Russians do not have data on the location of Ukrainian troops and weapons, so they target civilian infrastructure and use the same old methods of attacking civilians to create fear and panic in society,” he said. “Ukraine survived the winter, and spring Russian strikes on the energy system hardly make sense.”

Electricity and water supplies have been restored in Kyiv, said Serhiy Popko, head of the city’s military administration. Popko said that about 30% of consumers in the capital were left without heating, and repair work was underway.

Power has been restored to more than nine out of 10 consumers in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, local officials said, while power has been restored to a third of consumers in the Zaporizhia region of southern Ukraine.

In another sign of a quick return to normalcy, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday.

Marin accompanied Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and senior military officers to the funeral of a Ukrainian commander killed in fighting near the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut. The service was held in the cathedral of the golden-domed monastery of Saint Michael in Kyiv.

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Zelenskyi and Marin also placed flowers at the monument to the fallen Ukrainian soldiers.

Echoing Western leaders who have accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, the prime minister said Russian soldiers and leaders would be held accountable in a courtroom.

“Putin knows he has to answer for aggression,” the Finnish leader said at a press conference. “The future tribunal must deliver justice effectively and respond to the legitimate demands of Ukrainians.”

To the west of Bakhmut, shells and rockets hit the Ukrainian-held town of Kostyantinivka, damaging several houses.

AP reporters in the city saw at least four injured people taken to the local hospital. Police said Russian forces attacked the city with S-300 rockets and cluster munitions.

Thursday’s Russian attack, much of which took place before dawn, was the largest of its kind in three weeks, deploying more than 80 Russian missiles and exploding drones.

The barrage, which also damaged residential buildings, killed six people and left hundreds of thousands without heat and running water. The projectile was notable for the range of munitions used by the Kremlin’s forces, including hypersonic Kinzhal cruise missiles, which are among the most sophisticated weapons in Russia’s arsenal.

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Still, bombings of energy infrastructure, which picked up last fall, are becoming less frequent.

“The time between strike waves is likely to increase because Russia now needs to stockpile a critical mass of newly produced missiles directly from industry,” the British Ministry of Defense said in an assessment on Friday.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes were in retaliation for what Moscow says were Ukrainian saboteurs infiltrating the Bryansk region of western Russia. Ukraine has denied the allegation and warned that Moscow could use the allegations to justify its own attacks.


Chernov contributed from Kostyantynivka.


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