President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Ukrainians to expect another week of extreme cold and darkness, predicting that Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure would continue until Moscow's missiles ran out.
Since early October, Russia has conducted roughly weekly massive missile attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, with each barrage having a greater impact than the last as damage accumulates and winter approaches.
Zelensky stated in an overnight video address that he anticipates new attacks this week that could be as severe as last week's, which were the worst to date and left millions of people without heat, water, or electricity.
"We believe the terrorists are planning new attacks. We are certain of this," Zelensky stated. As long as they possess missiles, they will be unable to calm down.
According to Kyiv, the attacks, which Russia acknowledges target Ukrainian infrastructure, are a war crime because they are intended to harm civilians. Moscow denies that it intends to harm civilians, but stated last week that their suffering would continue unless Ukraine complied with Russia's unspecified demands.
Snow fell in Kyiv and temperatures hovered around freezing as millions in and around the Ukrainian capital struggled with disruptions to their electricity supply and central heating as a result of Russian airstrikes.
As a result of a setback in its efforts to repair energy infrastructure, the national grid operator Ukrenergo announced yesterday that it was compelled to resume regular emergency blackouts across the nation.
As snowy winter weather has set in, several power stations were forced to conduct emergency shutdowns and electricity demand has increased, according to a Ukrenergo statement.
"Once the causes of the emergency shutdowns are eliminated, the units will return to operation, thereby reducing the deficit in the power system and easing restrictions on consumers," the report stated.
After several months of Russian retreats, winter is ushering in a new phase of the conflict along the front lines in eastern Ukraine, with intense trench warfare along heavily fortified positions.
With Russian forces having retreated in the northeast and across the Dnipro River in the south, the length of the land front line is roughly half of what it was a few months ago, making it more difficult for Ukrainian forces to pinpoint weakly defended stretches to attempt a breakthrough.
Zelensky described heavy fighting west of the Russian-held eastern city of Donetsk, where Moscow has concentrated its assault even as it has withdrawn troops elsewhere, and where both sides claim a large number of casualties despite little change in positions.
Yesterday evening, Ukraine's General Staff reported that Russia continued heavy shelling of key targets Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Donetsk province and bombarded areas around the recently recaptured Ukrainian towns of Kupiansk and Lyman to the north.
On the southern front, it was reported that Russian forces had strengthened their positions in occupied territory and were heavily shelling towns on the west bank of the Dnieper River, including Kherson, which Moscow had abandoned earlier this month.
It was reported that Ukrainian forces had damaged a rail bridge north of the Russian-occupied southern city of Melitopol, which was crucial to the supply of entrenched Russian forces.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm reports from the battlefield.
The Kremlin denied that Russia had any plans to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, which it has controlled since the beginning of the conflict near the Dnieper reservoir and the front line.
Sunday, the head of the Ukrainian nuclear power operator, Petro Kotkin, stated that there were indications Russia might withdraw. Yesterday, however, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, "There is no need to look for signs where none exist and cannot exist."
Russia asserts that it has annexed the territory and placed the nuclear power plant under its control.
To prevent a nuclear disaster, the IAEA has demanded that the plant and its surrounding area be demilitarized.
In Kherson, which has been without electricity and heat since the withdrawal of Russian forces earlier this month, only 17 percent of customers now have access to electricity, according to the regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych. Other districts will be connected shortly.
Dozens of civilians have been killed by bombardment from across the river by withdrawn Russian forces.
38-year-old Liliia Khrystenko told Reuters that her parents were killed last Thursday when their building was bombed while she and her young son were inside.
"I heard my father yelling at me to call an ambulance because my mother had been injured. "However, I was unable to call an ambulance because my mobile connection was lost," she sobbed outside the building.
"When I exited the building with my child, my mother was lying face down and covered in blood at the entrance. And my father was sitting by her side, announcing that he was dying."
The body of Khystenko's mother was left on the street for a day before it was removed. Shrapnel had struck her father in the liver, and hospital staff was unable to revive him.
On the diplomatic front, efforts to weaken Russia's ability to fund its war in Ukraine failed on Monday when envoys of European Union governments failed to agree on a price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil, according to diplomats.
According to them, Poland insisted that the cap be set lower than others desired. There is no agreement. Now that the legal texts have been agreed upon, Poland has yet to agree to the price," said one source.