Ukraine hails new air defences, warns power situation ‘tense’

Kyiv, Ukraine AFP

by Daphne ROUSSEAU

Ukraine announced Monday it had received more air defence systems from Western military allies, as officials in Kyiv said the situation with supplies was “tense” after protracted Russian attacks on energy facilities.

Attacks by Moscow’s forces, including with Iranian-made drones over the past month, have destroyed around 40 percent of Ukraine’s power stations and the government has urged Ukrainians to maximise electricity savings.

Kyiv has been rocked by barrages of Russian attacks on the first day of each week for nearly a month but air raid sirens were quiet on Monday with residents out as normal.

In a grey and foggy Kyiv —  conditions that military observers say make attacks with missiles and low altitude drones more difficult — residents were unfazed by the threat of fresh strikes Monday.

“To be honest, it’s not only Mondays, it’s been eight months that we know this can happen every day and we adapted. I’m not going to change my routine for that. I’m coming to work… just like every other day,” 21-year-old Kyiv resident Alyona Plekh told AFP.

Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced Monday that Ukraine had received National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and Italian Aspide air defences, adding to weapons supplied by Germany.

“NASAMS and Aspide air defence systems arrived in Ukraine! These weapons will significantly strengthen the Ukrainian army and will make our skies safer,” Reznikov said on social media.

“We will continue to shoot down the enemy targets attacking us. Thank you to our partners — Norway, Spain and the US,” Reznikov added.

Weeks of Russian attacks have caused sweeping blackouts and restrictions on energy use across Ukraine, and authorities in the capital have asked residents and businesses to reduce consumption.

– Energy ‘struggle’ –

“The situation in the power system is tense. We ask all residents of the region to support energy workers in the struggle on the energy front. To do this, use electricity sparingly,” city authorities said in a statement.

Those pleas come just one day after Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko warned of a possible total blackout in the capital, saying that city authorities were preparing for the worst and bracing for “various scenarios”.

The Ukrainian presidency meanwhile said Monday that, over the last 24 hours, Russia had fired four missiles and carried out more than 24 air strikes across Ukraine.

The Deputy Head of Presidency Kyrylo Tymoshenko said one person was killed by Russian shelling in the partially Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine and another was killed in the northeastern Sumy region.

Those attacks came a day after Russian-installed authorities in the southern region of Ukraine, Kherson, said attacks by Kyiv’s forces had cut power and electricity to the region’s main city, also called Kherson.

But authorities said Monday that power had been partially restored again in the city, towards which Ukrainian forces have been slowly advancing for weeks, saying that “all critical infrastructure” in the city was back online.

As Ukraine presses a counteroffensive in the south, Moscow’s occupation forces in Kherson have vowed to turn the city into a “fortress”.

They have for weeks organised a civilian pull-out from the Kherson region as Ukrainian troops advance, which Kyiv labels “deportations”.


© Agence France-Presse