Russia and Ukraine: The mayor of Kyiv is urging residents to prepare for the city’s evacuation in the event of a total blackout
The mayor of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, said its residents should be prepared to leave the city if there was a complete blackout.
And in recent weeks, millions of Ukrainians have been temporarily without power and water as Russian airstrikes target critical infrastructure.
Local authorities have also imposed power outages to avoid congestion and allow for repairs.
About 40 percent of Ukraine’s power system was damaged or destroyed by Russian attacks on power plants and transmission lines.
Another city official warned that in the event of a total blackout, the water supply and sewage system would stop working.
The Geneva Conventions, which set humanitarian standards for treatment in war, state that attacks should not be directed against “civilian objects.”
In an interview with Ukrainian television, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko described Russia’s targeted attacks on infrastructure as “terrorism” and “genocide.”
The former heavyweight boxer said Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t need us Ukrainians. He needs land, he needs Ukraine without us.”
“So everything that is happening now (the infrastructure strikes) is genocide. His mission is to either die or freeze or force us to leave our country so he can take it.”
In winter, the average temperature in Kyiv is below freezing and drops further at night.
Mr Klitschko, 51, said while authorities are doing “everything” to keep electricity and water running, he is working to ensure preparations for various scenarios.
He added that Kyiv’s three million residents should make arrangements to move in with friends or relatives living in the suburbs who still have water and electricity so that they can have a “worst-case” scenario plan in case of damage have power supply to Kyiv.
He added that authorities are stockpiling fuel, food and water and residents should do the same. At least 1,000 heated shelters will be built across the city, giving people access to emergency heating.
The Ukrainian capital’s security chief, Roman Tkachuk, echoed the mayor’s comments in a post on messaging app Telegram.
He emphasized that the city administration is planning, but “there is currently no reason to talk about an evacuation”.
Kyiv residents say they know power can go out and supplies can run out.
Dmytro, a 30-year-old father of two, told the BBC he was already planning to leave Kyiv if things got worse. He stocked up on fuel, bought generators and wanted to move his family to his grandparents’ house on the outskirts of Kyiv.
He said he started making plans after “authorities announced they were going to open heating points” two weeks ago.
“I understood from that that at some point there would be no electricity,” he added.
Anastasia, a 36-year-old resident, said she would stay in town even if the power went out.
“Our defenders sleep on the floor, so we can stay in our house without heating,” she said.
Blackout in Kherson and the bombing of the strategic dam
Russian-appointed authorities reported power and water cuts in the occupied city of Kherson, blaming a Ukrainian attack on nearby power lines and the main dam.
They urged residents to “keep calm” and said they would work to resolve the issue “quickly”.
However, the head of the Ukrainian regional administration blamed Russia for the blackout.
Russian media reported that some power outages were caused by damage to the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station near the city after it was hit by a Ukrainian missile, but Ukraine did not comment on the reports, which could not be independently verified.
Ukraine has warned in recent weeks that Russian forces are planning to blow up the dam, which could cause devastating floods for hundreds of thousands of people in the area.
Kherson fell into Russian hands in the early days of the war, but as Ukrainian forces advanced, they tended to regain control of it.
“Huge casualties” in Donetsk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his late-night televised address that Russia had suffered “heavy casualties” when it carried out “vicious” attacks in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
The Insider, an independent Russia-focused outlet, reported that over four days, 300 members of a brigade (a number of battalions) of Russian marines were killed, wounded or missing in the Pavlevka region.
Posts on pro-Russian channels on the Telegram platform have reportedly drawn attention to the brigade’s dire situation.
Zelenskyy also warned that Ukraine believes that Russia is “mobilizing forces and equipment for a possible repetition of mass attacks on our infrastructure, especially energy facilities.”
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