Ukraine urges to limit the use of electricity and prepares the voluntary evacuation of Kherson

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KYIV – Ukraine has urged residents of Kyiv and several other regions to limit electricity consumption as it seeks to recover from Russian strikes on the power grid as the elderly and vulnerable prepare for evacuation volunteer from war-torn Kherson.

Citizens of the recently liberated southern city of Kherson, where Kyiv says Russian troops destroyed critical infrastructure before leaving earlier this month, can apply to be relocated to areas with less acute security and heating problems .

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Ukrainians are the most likely to live with blackouts – a daily phenomenon across the country – at least until the end of March, the head of a major energy supplier said on Monday.

Russia’s response to military setbacks in recent weeks has included a barrage of missile strikes against power installations that have left millions without power as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. .

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said half of the country’s power capacity had been destroyed by Russian rockets.

In his nightly video address, he urged people to save energy, especially in hard-hit regions such as Kyiv, Vinnytsia in the southwest, Sumy in the north and Odessa on the Black Sea.

“The systematic damage caused to our energy system by the Russian terrorist strikes is so extensive that all of our citizens and businesses should be aware and redistribute their consumption throughout the day,” he said.

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“…Try to limit your personal electricity consumption.”

In a Telegram message aimed at residents of Kherson – especially the elderly, women with children and those who are sick or disabled – Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk posted a number of ways residents can express their interest from . “You may be evacuated during the winter period to safer parts of the country,” she wrote, citing both security and infrastructure issues.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said blackouts and Russian strikes on energy infrastructure are consequences of Kyiv’s refusal to negotiate, the official TASS news agency reported at the end of the week. last week. On Monday evening, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia was shelling Kherson across the Dnipro River now that its troops had fled.

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“There is no military logic: they just want revenge on the locals,” he tweeted.

Moscow denies intentionally targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities.

Kyiv and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression.

Battles continued to rage in the east following Russian troop movements into the industrial Donbass region from around Kherson in the south.

The Ukrainian military said late Monday that Russian forces tried to advance around Bakhmut and Avdiivka in Donetsk and shelled nearby towns.

Moscow has reinforced the areas it still holds and launched its own offensive along a stretch of the front line west of the city of Donetsk held by its proxies since 2014.

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TAKE-OFF OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Russia and Ukraine on Monday traded blame for at least a dozen explosions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which came under Russian control shortly after it invaded the country on February 24, but is still across the Dnipro River from areas controlled by Kyiv.

Ukraine narrowly escaped disaster as fighting over the weekend rocked the factory, Europe’s largest, with a deluge of shells. Some fell near reactors and damaged a radioactive waste storage building, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

Zelenskiy urged NATO members to ensure protection against “Russian sabotage” at nuclear facilities.

The head of Russia’s state nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, said he had discussed Sunday’s bombing with the IAEA and said there was a risk of a nuclear accident.

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IAEA experts visited the site on Monday, and the agency said they found extensive damage but nothing that compromised critical plant systems.

The reactors are shut down but there is a risk of the nuclear fuel overheating if the power to the cooling systems is cut off. The bombings repeatedly cut the power lines.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine fired at the power lines supplying the plant.

Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom said the Russian military bombed the site, accusing it of nuclear blackmail and actions that “endangered the whole world”.

Reuters could not immediately verify which party was responsible.

Repeated bombings of the plant during the war raised concerns of a serious disaster in the country which suffered the world’s worst nuclear accident, the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. (Reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar and Maria Starkova in Kyiv, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg; Writing by Costas Pitas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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