Russian officials say more than 70,000 residents have left Kherson in recent days

Moscow-appointed authorities fled the capital of southern Ukraine’s Kherson region with tens of thousands of residents as Ukrainian forces attacked Russia’s hold on the city on Thursday, while that fighting was also intensifying in the east of the country.

Amid the fighting, a senior Russian official warned that Western commercial satellites used for military purposes to support Ukraine were a « legitimate target for a retaliatory strike ».

Ukraine has launched an offensive to reclaim the Kherson region and its capital of the same name, which Russian forces captured in the early days of a war now in its ninth month.

More than 70,000 residents of the city of Kherson have been evacuated in recent days, Kremlin-based regional governor Vladimir Saldo said on Thursday.

Members of the Russian-backed regional administration were included in the evacuation, Deputy Governor Kirill Stremousov said.

On Thursday, a local resident removes salvageable items from a property that was damaged after a nighttime Russian attack in Kramatorsk. (Andriy Andriyenko/Associated Press)

Ukrainian forces surrounded Kherson from the west and attacked Russia’s position on the western bank of the Dnipro River, which divides the region and the country.

In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces continued to shell the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, slowly advancing towards the center.

Infrastructure attacks

As heavy fighting continues, a Russian official has warned that the West could become part of the conflict.

The deputy head of the Russian delegation to a United Nations arms control panel, Konstantin Vorontsov, described as « extremely dangerous » the use of American and Western commercial satellites for military purposes during the fighting in Ukraine.

Ukrainian firefighters work to put out a blaze at energy infrastructure damaged by a Russian drone strike, in a photo released Thursday from an undisclosed location. (National Emergency Service of Ukraine/Reuters)

« Quasi-civilian infrastructure could be a legitimate target for a retaliatory strike, » Vorontsov warned without giving further details.

Vorontsov did not mention any specific satellite company, although Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX has activated Starlink internet service in Ukraine.

As they have done throughout the month, Russian forces have carried out attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, causing growing concern ahead of winter.

A Russian drone attack hit an energy facility near the capital early Thursday, causing a fire, Kyiv Region Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said. He said in a video statement that the latest attacks had inflicted « very serious damage ».

« The Russians are using drones and missiles to destroy Ukraine’s energy system before winter and terrorize civilians, » Kuleba said in televised remarks.

Kuleba announced further power cuts and urged consumers to save energy. He said authorities were still considering the details of the power cuts needed to restore damaged electrical installations.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said power cuts would also be introduced in neighboring Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian attacks had already destroyed 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure.

War spurs push for renewables: energy agency

In a likely response to Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, a power station was attacked just outside Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea region annexed to Russia. The factory suffered minor damage in a drone attack, according to city leader Mikhail Razvozhayev.

Razvozhayev said the electricity supply was uninterrupted.

Crimea, a region slightly larger than Sicily which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, has faced drone attacks and explosions amid fighting in Ukraine. In a major setback for Russia, a powerful truck bomb blew up a section of a strategic bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland on October 8.

WATCH | Whether from the West, Turkey or China, Ukraine using drones:

How Ukraine built a ‘drone army’ to fight Russia

To counter Russia’s immense military might, Ukraine has built an army of drones, turning everyday aerial vehicles into military weapons that have helped change the momentum of this war.

A senior Ukrainian military officer has accused Russia of planning to stage explosions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and blaming them on Ukraine in a false flag attack.

General Oleksii Gromov, the head of the main operational department of the General Staff of the Ukrainian army, pointed to Moscow’s repeated baseless allegations that Ukraine was plotting to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb as a possible signal that Moscow was planning explosions at the factory, the largest in Europe. nuclear plant.

Russia took control of the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early days of the invasion. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attacking the plant, whose reactors were shut down following incessant bombing.

Gromov also accused Russian forces on Thursday of staging explosions at residential buildings in the city of Kherson before withdrawing from the city « to inflict critical damage to the infrastructure of areas reclaimed by Ukraine. »

The war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis are likely to cause global demand for fossil fuels to spike or flatten, according to a report released Thursday by the Paris-based International Energy Agency, largely in due to the fall in Russian exports.

« The current energy crisis is causing a shock of unprecedented magnitude and complexity, » the IEA said. publishes its annual report, the World Energy Outlook.

The blow to governments, the report said, was forcing the world’s most advanced economies to accelerate structural shifts towards renewable energy sources.


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