Zelensky unleashes fury at Putin for ‘energy terrorism’

Ukraine: Moscow residents asked if war is ‘going to plan’

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has lashed out at the Russian President for committing “energy terrorism” in Ukraine as over 4.5 million citizens have been plunged into darkness as a result of brutal missile and drone strikes amid the war. In recent weeks, Russia has been deliberately targeting critical energy infrastructure, something its Ministry of Defence has confirmed, in a brutal barrage of strikes using a combination of Iranian-made “suicide drones”, lethal missiles and other weapons. Ukrainian officials have said these strikes took down at least 40 percent of the country’s critical energy infrastructure, which on Monday left citizens of the capital Kyiv without power or water for hours. 

But in the latest onslaught, in which Russia unleashed fresh attacks using Iran’s “kamikaze drones” to hit energy targets in southeastern Ukraine, extensive damage to the power grid has left millions without power once again. 

Mr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday: “About 4.5 million consumers have been temporarily disconnected from energy consumption. The very fact that Russia is resorting to energy terrorism shows the weakness of our enemy. 

“They cannot beat Ukraine on the battlefield, so they try to break our people this way.”

Ukrainians had already got used to rolling blackouts, conducted by electricity operators in a bid to balance the grid. 

But while the strikes may be causing damage, Mr Zelensky’s former energy advisor Pavlo Kukhta told Express.co.uk that he doesn’t think Russia will be able to up the ante. 

He said in an exclusive interview: “The major target is electricity and will remain electricity. But as long as material keeps coming, I doubt the Russians can intensify their strikes by an order of magnitude. Their major volleys are debilitating and take down parts of the network using dozens of missiles and drones, up to 100 maybe. That is a lot. 

“They have several thousand maybe overall, which is a lot. They are expending a large percentage of all their ammunition of that kind in one volley in one day. That takes down the grid for several hours, maybe in some places for a day or two, but not more as it gets repaired quickly.

“I doubt they (the Russians) can make the order of magnitude larger and fire a thousand missiles in a single day.”

But while Mr Kuktha stressed that Ukrainians have been valiantly repairing the damage at impressive speeds to get power back online, there is potential for things to get worse. potential

He explained: “Some of the major energy companies have said they are starting to run out of spare parts for repairs, so they would need more and these had to be included in supplies sent by the West. This is an important venue of assistance now because it keeps the country up and running. 

“If repairs could not be made to the network, it would be a different story and the whole country would start collapsing. Millions of refugees and it would become unliveable, but as long as the network keeps getting repaired, it is a dynamic balance and it’s liveable. 

“It is a constant game of cat and mouse. Russians keep hitting our grid, but the energy sector in Ukraine is rather robust in terms of human capital. There are a lot of people working there, they know their business, they know how to repair stuff, they know how to repair stuff, they were preparing for this and there was an understanding that this would be the strategy that Russians will be using during winter, so dozens of repair brigades are ready. 

“As long as there are resources to make the repairs…I think we will be fine.”

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However, while it appears that the country has been able to respond and adapt to the situation involving blackouts, Mr Kukhta raised concerns over the heating network, which if targeted could leave millions freezing in the coldest winter months. 

He explained: “Heating is also vulnerable. Central European winter is really cold and this can be really dangerous in major cities if they target heating productions. But these are big enterprises and it is not as easy to take them down so hopefully those can be repaired as well.”

The latest strikes come after as reports emerged revealing that Russian troops are leaving the occupied city of Kherson, in what could be a major retreat for Russia.

Sources on the ground in Ukraine have claimed that Putin’s soldiers are= dismantling military posts and crossing into the eastern bank of the Dnipro River towards Crimea. 

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