In one of its largest attacks on Ukraine since the war began, Russia launched more than 70 missiles at the country on Friday, knocking out electricity in the country's second-largest city and forcing Kyiv to impose emergency blackouts across the country, according to Ukrainian officials.
According to them, one person was killed in shelling in Kherson in the south, and three people were murdered when an apartment building was hit in the center of Kryvyi Rih. According to officials established by Russia in occupied eastern Ukraine, 12 persons were killed by Ukrainian shelling.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, encouraged western partners to continue supplying Kyiv with additional and stronger air defence systems in an evening video message in which he claimed that Russia still had enough missiles for several more significant attacks.
Zelensky said Ukraine was strong enough to bounce back. "Whatever the rocket worshippers from Moscow are counting on, it still won't change the balance of power in this war," he said.
By Saturday morning Russia had filled scores of further missiles
By Saturday morning, Ukraine's military leadership said Russian forces had fired more than a score of further missiles since the barrage a day earlier. It did not say how many of those might have been stopped by the air defences.
Friday's onslaught, which pummelled many parts of central, eastern and southern Ukraine, constituted one of the biggest assaults on the capital, Kyiv, since Russia began the war by attacking Ukraine on February 24.
Kyiv came under fire from about 40 missiles on Friday, authorities said, nearly all intercepted by air defences.
In Kherson, where Ukraine regained control last month in a significant setback for Russia, a 36-year-old man was killed and a 70-year-old woman was wounded in a Russian attack on Saturday, said regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych.
Yet again, Ukrainian utility crews have had to scramble to patch up damaged power and water systems as Russia targets vital services for civilians as winter's hardships set in.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported on Saturday that two-thirds of homes in the country's capital had been reconnected to electricity and all had regained access to water. The subway system also resumed service, after serving as a shelter the day before.
Half of the Kyiv province, which surrounds but doesn't include the Ukrainian capital, still lacked electricity a day after Friday's attack, Regional Gov. Oleksiy Kuleba said, adding that rain and snow, making power lines icy, was complicating efforts to restore power.
Electrictiy was restored on Saturday
The head of Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv province Oleh Syniehubov said on Saturday that electricity had been restored to the entire region, including Kharkiv city, the country's second-largest metropolis. The power had been knocked out on Friday in attacks involving 10 S-300 missiles.
In Kryvyi Rih, 596 miners were stuck underground because of missile strikes, but all were eventually rescued, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said late on Friday.
In Moscow on Saturday, Russia's foreign ministry slammed a new package of European Union sanctions approved a day earlier.
Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova branded the EU's ninth batch of sanctions in response to the war "illegitimate unilateral restrictive measures" and lashed out at a ban on broadcasts by four major Russian TV channels as "authoritarian".
In allowing EU member states to "provide certain exemptions" for Russian food and fertiliser exporters, Zakharova contended that the EU was recognising that its "restrictive measures have been undermining world food security".
Targets of the latest round of sanctions include divisions of the Russian army and all of Russia's parliamentary parties. Also included in the package are a ban on the export of aviation engines to Russia and sanctions against the energy and mining sectors The Kremlin on Saturday confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin huddled a day earlier with armed forces commanders, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, chief of general staff, Valery Gerasimov. He also spoke with commanders from different branches.
Installation of protective dome over spent fuel storage area
Meanwhile, installation of a protective dome has begun over the spent-fuel storage area at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, an official from the Moscow-installed authorities of Ukraine's southeastern Zaporizhzhia province said on Saturday.
Vladimir Rogov said the dome would protect against fragments of shells and improvised explosive devices carried by drones. The Russian-held plant, Europe's biggest nuclear power station, has been repeatedly shelled; its six reactors have been shut down for months.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently announced plans to station nuclear safety and security experts at Ukraine's nuclear power plants to prevent any nuclear accident. The U.N. nuclear watchdog has already deployed a permanent mission to the Zaporizhzhia plant.
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