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The moon shines in the sky as the city experiences power outages after a Russian attack on Kharkiv’s power system. Alamy

Emergency power blackouts hit regions of Ukraine after Russian air attack

In Belgorod, Russia, 5,000 children have been evacuated due to Ukrainian attacks.

UKRAINE HAS IMPOSED emergency blackouts on several regions after Russia fired dozens of missiles and drones at its power stations overnight.

Moscow has stepped up its aerial bombardment of Ukraine in recent weeks, targeting energy infrastructure in response to deadly Ukrainian assaults on Russia’s border regions.

National grid operator Ukrenergo said yesterday its dispatch centre was “forced to apply emergency blackout schedules in the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kirovograd until the evening”.

Restrictions were already in place in the major cities of Kharkiv and Kryvyi Rih following a Russian strike last week.

“Consumers in other regions are asked to use electricity sparingly and consciously,” Ukrenergo said.

The attacks come at a difficult time for Ukraine, which is facing critical shortages of air defences to protect its skies and ammunition to defend the front lines. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the air attacks were “becoming more frequent and massive”

“Ukraine needs more air defence systems to secure critical infrastructure and protect the population,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said in a renewed plea to Kyiv’s Western allies.

The White House called the latest Russian strikes “a terrible reminder of Vladimir Putin’s efforts to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people” and urged the US Congress to pass a bill to fund Ukraine’s defences.

“Ukraine’s need is urgent, and we cannot afford any further delays,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

The Russian defence ministry acknowledged it had used “long-range air, sea and land-based precision weapons” to target energy facilities.

5,000 children moved out of Russian region

Meanwhile, 5,000 children have been evacuated from Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine following weeks of deadly bombardment by Kyiv, the region’s governor.

“Five thousand of our children are already outside the region. Yesterday, 1,300 children arrived in Saint Petersburg, Bryansk, and Makhachkala,” governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

belgorod-russia-24th-mar-2024-the-situation-in-belgorod-during-the-period-of-ensuring-security-measures-and-evacuation-of-residents-genre-photography-broken-bricks-and-a-car-destroyed-after-shel Broken bricks and a car destroyed after shelling on a city street in Belgorod, Russia. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Children who remain in the region and live in municipalities close to the border, including the region’s capital Belgorod, will switch to remote learning next month, he added.

He said businesses that had been forced to close due to the attacks will be allowed to re-open as long as “staff are trained in first aid” and windows are taped up.

Belgorod has been repeatedly targeted by what Russian officials have called indiscriminate Ukrainian attacks since the conflict began more than two years ago.

Yesterday, a Ukrainian drone crashed into a multi-storey apartment building in Belgorod city, killing a man and wounding two others, including his wife, Gladkov said.

- © AFP 2024