By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Ukraine’s state electricity operator has announced regular scheduled blackouts in Kyiv and seven other regions of the country in the aftermath of Russia’s devastating strikes on energy infrastructure.
The move comes as Russian forces continue to pound Ukrainian cities and villages with missiles and drones, inflicting damage on power plants, water supplies and other civilian targets.
Russia has denied that the drones it has used in Ukraine came from Iran, but the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister today for the first time acknowledged supplying Moscow with “a limited number” of drones before the invasion.
Hossein Amirabdollahian claimed, however, that Tehran did not know if its drones were used against Ukraine and stated Iran’s commitment to stopping the conflict.
Ukrenergo, the sole operator of Ukraine’s high-voltage transmission lines, said in a statement that scheduled blackouts will take place in the capital and the greater Kyiv region, as well as several regions around it – Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Poltava and Kharkiv.
The outages for “certain groups of consumers” will occur daily “in accordance with a specific schedule drawn up by operators of distribution networks for each region,” the statement said. The outages are expected to last for six and more hours each day.
Later in the day, however, the company released an update saying that scheduled outages for a specific number of hours are not enough and instead there will be emergency outages, which could last an indefinite amount of time.
Ukraine has been grappling with power outages and disruption of water supplies since Russia started unleashing massive barrages of missile and drone strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure last month.
Moscow has said those came in response to what it alleged were Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, the region that Russia illegally annexed in 2014. Ukraine has denied those allegations.
Meanwhile, Russian shelling of Ukrainian regions continued into the early hours of Saturday.
About 40 shells were fired overnight at the city of Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk governor Valentyn Reznichenko said on Telegram. The Russian forces targeted the city and the areas around it. Two fires broke out, and more than a dozen residential and utility buildings, as well as a gas pipeline, were damaged, the official said.
Elsewhere in the region, the Ukrainian forces shot down a drone and another projectile, according to Mr Reznichenko.