Ukrainian authorities announced more rolling blackouts in and around the country’s major cities on Friday, amid ongoing Russian strikes on energy infrastructure.
Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s state-owned operator of high-voltage transmission lines, said “emergency outages” lasting four hours or more had resumed in the Kyiv region.
Gov. Oleksiy Kuleba stated on Telegram on Friday that residents of the capital region can expect “tougher and longer” power outages than in the past.
The mayor of Kyiv declared that the city’s power grid was in “emergency mode,” with electricity supplies reduced by up to half compared to pre-war levels. Mayor Vitali Klitschko expressed hope that Ukrenergo would find a solution “in two to three weeks, barring circumstances beyond their control.”
The governor of the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, Oleg Syniehubov, announced on Telegram that daily one-hour power outages would begin Monday across the province, including the regional capital, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
He stated that the measures are “necessary to stabilize the power grid, as the enemy continues to shell (Ukraine’s) energy infrastructure.”
Across the country, officials have urged people to conserve energy by reducing their electricity consumption during peak hours and refraining from using high-voltage appliances.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 30% of Ukraine’s power plants have been destroyed since Russia launched the first wave of targeted infrastructure strikes on October 10.
In Russia, the defense minister informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that the military had called up 300,000 reservists since Putin issued a mobilization order last month to bolster Russia’s forces in Ukraine.
Putin’s effort to increase the number of Russian troops stationed along Ukraine’s 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line came after several setbacks, including Russian withdrawal from the Kkarkiv region. Protests erupted in Russia as a result of the mobilization, and tens of thousands of men fled the country.
On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that 82,000 reservists had been deployed to Ukraine, while another 218,000 were still being trained. Shoigu stated that there was no immediate plan to gather more.
Putin told Shoigu that the military must ensure that the 300,000 reservists who have been called up so far are properly trained and equipped “to make people feel confident when they need to go to combat.”
According to activists and Russian media reports, many draftees were told to obtain basic items such as medical kits and flak jackets on their own and were not trained before being sent to fight in Ukraine.
Shoigu acknowledged that “supply problems existed in the early stages,” but told Putin that they have now been resolved and that the reservists have received all necessary items.
Putin directed Shoigu to submit reform proposals for ground troops and other branches of the military based on their performance in Ukraine.
Russian missile and artillery barrages killed at least four people and injured ten more in 24 hours, the majority of whom were in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, according to the country’s presidential office on Friday. Following a string of setbacks in the east, Russian forces were preparing for an assault on Bakhut.
According to the presidential office, Russian fire struck several towns across the Dnieper River from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. In Nikopol, shelling damaged dozens of residential buildings and knocked out power lines. Thousands of families in the neighboring towns of Marhanets and Chervonohryhorivka also lost power.
According to Mykolaiv regional governor Vitalii Kim, an S-300 air defense missile destroyed a three-story administrative building and damaged a new residential building nearby. Russian forces have frequently used converted S-300 missiles to strike Ukrainian ground targets.
While Russian forces pounded Ukrainian targets with missiles and artillery, Moscow pressed its ground advance on the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiikva, declaring the entire Donetsk region a “zone of active hostilities,” according to Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko.
A Russian takeover of Bakhmut, which has remained in Ukrainian hands throughout the war, would open the way for the Kremlin to push on to other key Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.