Russia bombards Cherson with rockets and blows up the power grid
Russian missiles rained down on the recently liberated city of Kherson on the second day of Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring dozens more as Moscow’s forces escalated attacks on Ukraine’s battered power grid in a bid to freeze Kyiv into submission.
Ukraine’s Kherson Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said on Friday that two neighborhoods in the regional capital had come “under massive artillery fire” and more than five dozen civilians had been killed or maimed in the past 48 hours.
Among the dead were 62-year-old Natalia Kristenko and her husband, who were killed by a missile attack Thursday night as they emerged from their home. The woman died instantly from a head wound, while her 66-year-old husband died hours later from internal bleeding.
“The Russians took away my two most valuable people,” said her daughter Lilia Kristenko, 38, as she watched her mother’s blanket-covered body finally be taken to a morgue on Friday.
At least 54 people were injured in the strikes, which hit residential and commercial buildings, setting some on fire, blowing ash into the air and littering the streets with shattered glass.
The barrage marks an escalation in attacks since Russia withdrew from the city two weeks ago after eight months of occupation.
It comes as Russia has stepped up bombing of Ukraine’s power grid and other critical civilian infrastructure in a bid to tighten the screw on Kyiv. Officials estimate that around 50% of Ukraine’s power assets have been damaged in the recent strikes.
The attacks devastated some neighborhoods previously unaffected by the war, which has just entered its tenth month.
Soldiers in the region had warned that Kherson would face increased attacks as Russian troops trenched across the Dnieper after being forced to withdraw from the city two weeks ago.
On Friday morning, people searched the few remains of their destroyed homes and businesses. Containers of groceries lined the floor of a smashed meat shop, while across the street customers queued at a cafe where residents said four people had died the night before.
“I don’t even know what to say, it was unexpected,” said Diana Samsonova, who works at the café, which has remained open throughout the Russian occupation and won’t close despite the attacks.
Cherson’s population has shrunk from its pre-war level of nearly 300,000 to around 80,000. The government has said it will help people evacuate if they want, but many say they have nowhere to go.
Meanwhile, millions of Ukrainians were left without heat or electricity on Friday after Russia’s most devastating airstrikes on their energy grid yet, and residents have been warned to prepare for further attacks and to stock up on water, food and warm clothing if temperatures drop below zero.
Moscow says the attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure are militarily legitimate and that Kyiv can end the suffering of its people if it gives in to Russian demands. Ukraine says attacks aimed at causing civilian misery are acts of terrorism and a war crime.
“We endured nine months of all-out war together, and Russia has not found and will not find a way to break us,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address overnight.
Since the beginning of October, Russia has been bombarding Ukraine’s power grid far from the front lines with long-range missiles about once a week.
Attacks on Wednesday caused the heaviest damage yet. Officials estimate that around 50% of Ukraine’s power assets have been damaged in the recent strikes.
After the deadly salvos, national grid operator Ukrenergo said the power system was still 30% unable to meet demand.
“Priority was given to critical infrastructure facilities in all regions: boiler houses, gas distribution stations, water supply, sewage treatment plants, public electric transport runs in some regions,” it said.
Nigel Povoas, senior prosecutor with a team of international experts assisting Ukrainian war crimes investigators, said the strikes were “focused on removing infrastructure critical to civilian survival, such as heat, water, electricity and medical facilities”.
“Each wave of attacks reinforces the allegations of serious crime leveled against the Kremlin. That these attacks have very little, if anything, to do with military objectives,” he said.
With mail wires
https://nypost.com/2022/11/25/russia-pounds-kherson-with-missiles-blasts-power-grid/ Russia bombards Cherson with rockets and blows up the power grid