Zelensky accuses Russia of weaponising winter; Kyiv warns of power cuts until spring

Zelensky accuses Russia of weaponising winter; Kyiv warns of power cuts until spring
Residents return to view their homes in Vyshhorod after missile strikes in Vyshorod, Ukraine. (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of using cold weather that has hit Ukraine as a weapon, saying the Kremlin is preparing new strikes to further damage the energy system.

‘As long as they have missiles, they will not calm down,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “The week that is starting may be as difficult as the week that has passed.”

The Ukrainian energy system’s ability to meet power demand dropped to 73% as supply shortages widened rapidly early on Monday, national grid operator Ukrenergo said. The operator is using emergency cuts to balance the system as consumption increases with worsening weather.

Key developments

On the ground

Russian troops kept shelling residential areas in the recently liberated city of Kherson. Electricity supply was restored for 17% of consumers there.

Russian forces also struck areas around Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in eastern Ukraine, while focusing offensive efforts on the Lyman region of Donetsk, Ukraine’s General Staff reported.

Ukrainian Air Defence reported an increase in the Russian military’s aviation activity. Ukrainians should be ready for new rocket attacks, it said.

Supply shortages may disrupt plant in Bulgaria, says Metinvest

All Metinvest facilities in Ukraine have resumed operations after power cuts, apart from Kamet Steel, the company said in a regulatory statement. 

Metinvest is still assessing possible damage following that plant’s shutdown, adding it was unclear when it might be back in operation. That might disrupt production at Metinvest’s Promet Steel facility in Bulgaria, it said.




Russia has fired more than 16,000 missiles so far, says Reznikov 

Russia has launched more than 16,000 missile attacks on Ukraine over the nine months since the war began, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Twitter.

A total of 93% of Russian targets were civilian, he said. The attacks also hit more than 250 objects of transport infrastructure and more than 220 energy objects.

Russia, US put off first arms treaty talks since Ukraine war

Russia and the US put off a round of talks under the New START treaty this week, in what would have been the first such discussions since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two sides will hold a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission that handles the implementation of the 2011 treaty at a later date, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to state-run Tass. It gave no reason for the delay.

Ukraine urges partners to fully cut Russian banks from Swift

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said his government is pushing to fully cut Russian banks off from the Swift global payment system as he met with visiting foreign ministers from the Nordic and Baltic regions.

The premier also urged nations to ban Russian citizens from entering the European Union as part of a ninth round of sanctions targeting Moscow, as well as weapons supply and financing, Shmyhal said on Telegram.

The top envoys from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia made a joint visit to Kyiv in a show of solidarity.

European gas drops as concerns over Russian flows ease

Natural gas prices in Europe declined after Russia’s decision not to cut flows via Ukraine countered concerns that cold weather could boost demand.

Benchmark futures fell as much as 6.8% after initial gains. Russia’s Gazprom PJSC decided not to curb gas shipments to Moldova via Ukraine, easing worries that it might eventually completely halt supplies in its last remaining active route to Europe. That is a relief — especially when weather forecasts point to temperatures below seasonal norms across Europe over the next weeks, which could increase gas use for heating.

Almost 40% of Kyiv region without power

Adverse weather caused additional disruption to power lines in the region surrounding the capital, on top of damage already inflicted by waves of missile strikes, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram. Emergency power cuts continue in the region.




Kyiv mayor warns of power outages until spring

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko warned that power outages could potentially continue until spring, even as energy providers aim to restore electricity as soon as possible, he said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine. 

Authorities are doing everything to prevent total blackouts in the Ukrainian capital in the event of future Russian attacks, but are bracing for different scenarios.

Klitschko reiterated that there would be no mass evacuation, though he didn’t rule out the need for some people to temporarily move from Kyiv to the suburbs, where they would be able to get access to heat and water.

Ukraine says Russian missile attacks possible early this week 

A Russian ship carrying eight Kalibr cruise missiles has returned to the Black Sea after several days of absence, Ukrainian military spokeswoman Nataliya Humenyuk said on national television. There were also other missile carriers that could be ready to launch missiles within several hours.

She said stormy weather in the Black Sea was not likely to prevent a possible launch. DM


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