Strikes and blackouts across Ukraine as Bakhmut holds firm

Kyiv, UKRAINE: Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure were reported across Ukraine on Thursday as fighting for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut raged.
For months, Russia has bombarded key facilities in Ukraine with missiles and drones, disrupting water, heat and electricity supplies for millions of people.
Strikes were reported in the capital Kyiv, the northeastern city of Kharkiv and the southwestern region of Odessa, leading to widespread power cuts.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said there had been “explosions” in the south of the city and around 15% of homes were without power.
“All services are heading to the scene,” he said.
The Kyiv branch of Ukrainian energy operator DTEK said that “due to an enemy attack, emergency power cuts are in effect.”
In the Kharkiv region, which borders Russia, Governor Oleg Synegubov said there were 15 strikes.
“Occupiers have once again targeted critical infrastructure,” he said on social media.
Synegubov added that information about casualties and the extent of the damage was being “clarified”.
In the region’s main city, Kharkiv, Mayor Igor Terekhov said “energy infrastructure” had been targeted and there were “problems” with electricity in parts of the city.
In the Odessa region, Governor Maksym Marchenko said “missiles hit the region’s energy infrastructure as well as damaged residential buildings” following a “massive missile attack”.
“Fortunately, there were no casualties,” he said, adding that “power supply restrictions” were in place.
The wave of strikes comes after Russia announced gains in the battle for the industrial city of Bakhmut, which has dragged on for months.
The Russian mercenary group Wagner, which led the attack on Bakhmut, claimed on Wednesday that it had captured the eastern part of the city.
“What we are seeing is Russia sending more troops, more forces and what Russia lacks in quality they are trying to make up for in quantity,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. , to reporters in Stockholm on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers on Wednesday.
“We cannot rule out that Bakhmut could possibly fall in the coming days,” the head of the US-led military alliance said, adding that “this does not necessarily reflect a turning point in the war.”
Ukrainian officials have warned that Bakhmut’s fall could lead to further Russian advances in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar said on Wednesday that the resistance to Bakhmut should be seen as a “victory”.
“This is victory – the fact that our soldiers destroyed the strongest and most professional “Wagner” units for several months in a row.
“The enemy has superior forces in terms of manpower and weapons, but under these conditions our fighters bravely confront the enemy on almost equal footing,” she said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also hosted UN chief Antonio Guterres in Kyiv on Wednesday, on his third visit to Ukraine since The invasion of Russia.
António Guterres stressed the need to extend an agreement that allowed Ukraine to export its grain, but which is due to expire.
“I would like to stress the crucial importance of the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on March 18,” said António Guterres.
At their meeting in Stockholm, EU defense ministers also discussed a plan to urgently send one billion euros worth of ammunition to Ukraine as pressure mounts on Kyiv’s allies to bolster supplies for the war effort.
Ukraine’s Western supporters are warning that kyiv faces a critical shortage of 155mm howitzers as it fires thousands every day in its fight against the Russian offensive.
“The current rate of consumption versus the current rate of ammunition production is unsustainable, and so we need to increase production,” Stoltenberg said.


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