Russian troops have resumed shelling of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, cutting electricity supplies to the newly liberated city, as fierce fighting continues in the east and officials warned that Ukraine faces a tough winter due to Russian missile attacks on its infrastructure.
“Russian invaders shelled Kherson – damaged power grids. City left without electricity again,” Governor Yaroslav Janushevych said on Telegram, adding that technicians were already at work trying to repair the damage and restore power to the recently liberated city located on the right bank of the Dnieper River.
Kherson was returned to Ukrainian control on 11 November when the Russian military withdrew to the left bank of the Dnieper. Russian artillery took up new positions across the river and have regularly pounded the city with artillery and rockets.
Three people were killed the day before in the city by Russian shelling, Yanushevych said.
Millions of Ukrainians are struggling without electricity and heat in early winter after waves of Russian strikes across the country, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 2 that further attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure were “inevitable”.
Ukrainian officials have responded with defiance, vowing to do everything possible to limit the damage.
Maksym Tymchenko, chief executive of DTEK, a major power company, said on December 2 that all six of DTEK’s power plants had been attacked, some of them multiple times. The company has managed to bring them all back online, he said.
Tymchenko expressed confidence that there was no chance “for the Russians to plunge Ukraine into darkness.”
Still, there was a power generation deficit and electricity transmission problems, Tymchenko told the Kyiv Security Forum.
He said that the company in Kyiv tried to introduce “rolling controlled blackouts: three-four hours of electricity supply, followed by a four-hour break. This situation will continue, we hope, only until next week, if there are no further attacks But we are prepared on further attacks.”
In addition, he said, “We managed to collect enough coal storage for the country, not just for our company. We have enough gas storage to use gas for power generation. So we have enough capacity for the whole country.”
“Transformers, substations, high-voltage transformers: this is what we have been short of and what we are appealing to our international partners for. Some of the equipment is already on its way to Ukraine,” he said.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the forum that last week Kyiv had suffered an almost total blackout. “There was no heat and water supply. And about 4,000 power company employees worked day and night to restore them.”
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told the forum that the coming months would be difficult.
“The enemy still has significant resources, but there are more and more signs that he needs a break at any cost,” he said.
While fierce fighting continues in the east, where Kiev’s forces fought off waves of attacks in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the military reported on December 3 that during the previous day it shot down an enemy helicopter and six drones.
The General Staff said in its regular update that Russian forces have launched five missile strikes, 27 airstrikes and 44 rocket attacks against civilian infrastructure and Ukrainian army positions along the contact line.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update that Russia is likely planning to encircle Bakhmut in the Donetsk region with tactical advances to the north and south.
While the capture of Bakhmut would have limited operational value, it could allow Russia to threaten Kramatorsk and Slovyansk, the ministry said on December 3. “There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut’s capture has primarily become a symbolic, political goal for Russia.” said on Twitter.
The battlefield reports could not be independently verified.