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Ukraine says Russia is retaliating for recent losses by hitting critical infrastructure

By Carly Olson


Russian attacks on critical infrastructure knocked out power in Ukraine’s northeast, Ukrainian officials said Sunday night, condemning the strikes as an apparent act of revenge for Ukraine’s swift gains in the region.


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said that “deliberate and cynical strikes” had caused a total blackout in the region of Kharkiv, in the northeast, and Donetsk, in the east, after Russian attacks. “Even through the impenetrable darkness, Ukraine and the civilized world clearly see these terrorist acts,” he said in a speech posted to Telegram.


The Ukrainian military has made sweeping gains in recent days — including in the Kharkiv region — that have weakened Russia’s hold on northeastern Ukraine, which it has used as a stronghold since the war began in February.


On Sunday, Russian forces appeared to retaliate with cruise missiles.


“Do you still think that you can scare us, break us, make us make concessions?” Zelenskyy asked in his speech. “Read our lips: Without gas or without you? Without you. Without light or without you? Without you. Without water or without you? Without you.”


An official in the Ukrainian president’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said that two cruise missiles hit elements of critical infrastructure, namely a major heat and power plant, knocking out power to Kharkiv and several other regions. “Russians want to leave us without light, water and heat,” he said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.


The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, said the attack was a clear act of retribution for Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive. “This is a vile and cynical revenge of the Russian aggressor for the successes of our army at the front, in particular in the Kharkiv region,” he said on Telegram.


Water supply was also affected by the outages. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said “thousands” of Ukrainians were without electricity, water and heat.


The head of the Ukrainian regional administration in Kharkiv, Oleh Synyehubov, said first responders were working to extinguish fires around areas of the strikes. “We are asking the residents of the Kharkiv region to remain calm,” he said in a post on Telegram.

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