Ukraine Scrambles to Restore Services After Disruptive Russian Strikes: Live Updates

Credit…Brendan Hoffman for the New York Times

KYIV, Ukraine – Utility crews worked through the dark night in freezing rain and snow to stabilize Ukraine’s energy grid after another destructive wave of Russian missile attacks, restoring essential services like running water and the warming in many parts of the country even as millions were left without power.

Ukrainians have expressed defiance at Moscow’s relentless campaign to arm winter in an attempt to weaken their resolve and force Kiev to capitulate even as Russia has heaped new suffering on a war-weary nation.

Surgeons were forced to work with flashlights, thousands of miners had to be hauled out of the underground with hand winches, and people across the country lugged buckets and water bottles up flights of stairs in apartment buildings where elevators had stopped. to function.

The State Border Service of Ukraine operations suspended Thursday at checkpoints on borders with Hungary and Romania due to power outages, and Ukraine’s national railway operator reported delays and outages in a network that has served as the nation’s lifeline through nine months of war.

Families charged their phones, warmed up and gathered information at centers set up in towns and cities during extended power outages. Police in the capital, Kyiv, and other cities stepped up patrols as shop and restaurant owners turned on generators or candles and continued to work.

“The situation is difficult across the country,” said Herman Galushchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister. But by 4 a.m., he said, engineers had managed to “unify the energy system,” allowing power to be directed to critical infrastructure.

In Moldova, Ukraine’s western neighbor, whose Soviet-era electricity systems remain interconnected with Ukraine’s, the grid has largely come back online after the country suffered ‘massive power outages’, the Minister of Health said. infrastructure. said on Twitter. “Let’s go forward, stronger and more victorious,” wrote the minister, Andrei Spinu.

Wednesday’s Russian missile barrage killed at least 10 people and injured dozens, Ukrainian officials said, in what appeared to be one of the most disruptive attacks in recent weeks. Since October 10, Russia has fired some 600 missiles at power plants, hydroelectric plants, water pumping and treatment plants, high-voltage cables around nuclear power plants and critical substations that bring energy to tens of millions of homes and companies, according to Ukrainian officials.

The campaign is taking a growing toll. Wednesday’s attacks knocked out all of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants for the first time, depriving the country of one of its most vital sources of energy.

“We expect nuclear power plants to start operating by evening, so the deficit will decrease,” Galushchenko said.

General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said Ukraine’s air defenses shot down 51 of 67 Russian cruise missiles launched on Wednesday and five of 10 drones.

President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking at an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday evening, denounced what he called a Russian terror campaign.

“When the outside temperature drops below freezing and tens of millions of people are left without electricity, heat and water due to Russian missiles hitting energy facilities,” he said, “this is a clear crime against humanity.”

In Kyiv, about one in four homes still had no electricity and more than half of the city’s residents had no running water on Thursday afternoon, according to city officials. Service has been gradually restored, city officials said, and they said they were confident the pumps that supply water to some three million residents would be back on by day’s end.

Transit was suspended in the southern Black Sea port city of Odessa so that the limited supply of energy could be directed to getting the water flowing again. In the Lviv region of western Ukraine, where millions of people displaced from their homes by fighting have fled, electricity and water services have largely been restored.

The national energy body, Ukrenergo, said that given the “significant amount of damage” and difficult working conditions, repairs in some regions could take longer than others.

“There’s no reason to panic,” the utility said in a statement. Critical infrastructure would all be reconnected, she said.

Power is slowly returning to the key southern city of Mykolaiv. By 21:00 local time it had been restored in about half of the city. The long avenues were dismal and deserted, with their lamps extinguished, and in many buildings a solitary light burned somewhere within, most likely a flashlight. But many people here didn’t look that deformed.

“They want us to suffer,” said Anhelina Peresunko, a hotel manager, as she sat in a hall lit by flickering candles Wednesday night when the power went out. “But I’m not worried. At all. We charge all our power banks and phones. We are always preparing.”

Jeffrey Gettleman contribution by Mykolaiv.

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