President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian strikes had destroyed about 30 percent of his country’s power stations in one week, speaking hours after a fresh barrage cut electricity to cities across Ukraine.
Russian attacks rocked energy facilities in Kyiv and urban centers across the country, causing blackouts and disrupting water supplies, just one day after the capital was bombarded with a swarm of suicide drones.
The strikes in the early hours of Tuesday hit Kyiv, Kharkiv in the east, Mykolaiv in the south and central regions of Dnipro and Zhytomyr, where officials said hospitals were running on backup generators.
Drones bombarded Kyiv on Monday, destroying a residential building in the center and killing five people in what the presidency described as an attack of desperation.
It was the second Monday in a row that Russian forces launched punitive strikes which military observers have said appear to be Moscow’s response to battlefield losses.
President Zelensky described the repeated target of energy infrastructure as “another kind of Russian terrorist attack “.
“Since October 10, 30 percent of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country,” the Ukrainian leader said on Twitter.
He said the attack meant that there was “no space left for negotiations with (President Vladimir) Putin’s regime”.
Many settlements in the Zhytomyr region west of Kyiv and parts of the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine were without electricity, while power was restored to the southern city of Mykolaiv after strikes overnight.
“Now the city is cut off from electricity and water supplies. Hospitals are working on backup power,” the mayor of Zhytomyr Sergiy Sukhomlyn said in a statement online.
In the northeast meanwhile, Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border with Russia was hit with eight missiles, the regional governor said.
Kharkiv’s mayor Igor Terekhov said an “industrial enterprise” had been hit.
There was no immediate reaction from Moscow, but it has been said following similar attacks that assigned military targets were hit.
Following the wave of kamikaze drone attacks on Kyiv Monday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded EU sanctions on Iran, accusing Tehran of providing Russia with drones.
The Kremlin said Tuesday it has no knowledge of its army using Iranian drones in Ukraine.
“Russian tech is being used,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, referring to other questions to the defense ministry.
Iran has denied exporting any weapons to either side, but the United States warned it would take action against companies and nations working with Tehran’s drone program following the strikes in Kyiv.
Senior presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak meanwhile called for Russia to be excluded from the upcoming G20 summit.
With fighting ongoing across a sprawling frontline in east and southern Ukraine, its military said that over the past 24 hours it had shot down 38 Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles.
Separately on Tuesday, Russian investigators said they initially believe that a military plane that crashed into a residential building in the south of the country near Ukraine was the result of a technical malfunction.
Investigators said they were questioning the pilots of the Sukhoi Su-34, who managed to parachute out of the plane before it crashed on Monday evening into the nine-story building, engulfing it in flames.