Ukraine is restricting the use of energy across the country on Thursday for the first time since Russia's invasion, as a result of a blitz of missile and drone attacks that destroyed many power plants shortly before the onset of winter.
The power supply will be restricted between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to government authorities and the grid operator Ukrenergo. Temporary blackouts are expected if individuals do not reduce their electrical consumption, according to a presidential adviser.
Regarding the Thursday-only restriction, Ukrenergo stated, "We cannot rule out the possibility that, once the cold winter sets in, we will ask for your assistance more regularly."
In recent days, Russia has upped its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine's electricity and water infrastructure.
"There are new incidents of harm to vital infrastructure. The adversary damaged three energy plants today "President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in his video address on Wednesday evening.
"In anticipation of the winter season, we are prepared for all possible outcomes. We assume that Russian terrorism will target energy infrastructure until we are able, with the assistance of our allies, to shoot down 100 percent of enemy missiles and drones "Earlier in the week, Zelensky stated that a third of power plants had been struck by Russian airstrikes.
Zelensky was scheduled to speak at an EU summit on Thursday evening. The leaders of the 27 member states will examine alternatives for providing Ukraine with additional support, including energy equipment, assistance in restoring the power supply, and long-term finance for reconstruction.
The mayor of the western city of Lviv stated that repairing the damaged substations would take months.
Zelensky stated that Ukraine had shot down 233 Iranian-made drones deployed by Russia, including 21 on Wednesday.
Thursday, witnesses told Reuters that five drones targeted the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, but it was unclear where they exploded or how much damage was caused.
Ukraine accused Russia of employing "kamikaze drones" built in Iran, which fly to their target and detonate. Iran has denied providing them, and Russia has denied using them.
Wednesday at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, the United States, Britain, and France brought up Iran's alleged transfer of drones to Russia, according to US State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia's deputy UN ambassador, warned reporters that Russia would reevaluate its collaboration with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his staff if Guterres dispatched experts to Ukraine to check downed drones that Ukraine and the West claim were manufactured in Iran.
Polyanskiy stated that he was pessimistic about achieving an agreement with Guterres and other UN officials in negotiations to extend and broaden an agreement that led to the restart of grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports on July 22. The agreement may expire next month.
The battle of Kherson looms
The Russian-appointed administration has begun evacuating Kherson, the only provincial capital Russian forces have occupied since their invasion eight months ago.
Images of people fleeing the crucial southern city by boat were carried on Russian official television, which depicted the evacuation on the Dnipro river as an attempt to evacuate residents before the area became a battle zone. In the next six days, between 50,000 and 60,000 people will be relocated, according to Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed leader of Kherson.
Saldo stated that personnel from the Russian-backed administration of Kherson were being evacuated to the eastern bank of the Dnipro, although Russia had the means to retain the city and even counterattack if required.
Kherson is undoubtedly the most strategically significant of the four territories that Russia has claimed to have annexed in the past few weeks. It controls the only land approach to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, as well as the mouth of the 2200 km-long Dnipro River, which divides Ukraine.
According to a Thursday morning Ukrainian military report on the province of Kherson, 43 Russian soldiers had been killed and six tanks and other equipment had been damaged.
According to the Ukrainian military, in the eastern region of Ukraine bordering Russia, Moscow's soldiers concentrated their primary effort to advance on the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
Bakhmut is the focal point of the sluggish Russian assault across the Donetsk region. According to the Ukrainian military, forces employed tank and artillery fire against at least ten cities in the region.
Reuters was unable to confirm reports from the battlefield.
Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an all-Russian military effort and established martial law in Ukrainian territory controlled by his soldiers.
Putin's most recent tightening of the war, which included increasing the security authorities of all of Russia's regional governors, was in response to a string of Ukrainian victories since the beginning of September.
However, it was unclear how quickly or successfully the additional measures could strengthen Russia's military posture. The United States Department of State stated that Russia was employing "desperate tactics." A Ukrainian official stated that nothing would change.
In the meantime, the United States imposed further sanctions on Russia, targeting a network that Washington accused of acquiring military and dual-use technologies from American producers and reselling them to Russian end users.