Pro-Russia authorities try to restore power to occupied Kherson after alleged attack

Silhouette of two people walking across a street during a blackout in Kyiv
People walk across a street during a blackout in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday.
(Andrew Kravchenko / Associated Press)

Russian-appointed authorities say they are working to partially restore power in the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson following what they called a Ukrainian terrorist attack on power lines.

The southern city, in a region of the same name that Moscow illegally annexed in September, was cut off from power and water supplies Sunday following damage to three power lines.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the pro-Kremlin administration of the partly occupied Kherson region, said Monday that “power and connectivity is being partially restored” in Kherson city. The alleged attack occurred on the Berislav-Kakhovka power line, and Russian state media reported Sunday that the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station had also been damaged by Ukrainian strikes.


Ukrainian officials have not responded to the allegations.

Stremousov has repeatedly called for civilians to evacuate from Kherson — which lies on the western bank of the Dnieper River — to Russian-controlled territory on the eastern bank in anticipation of a major Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake the strategic port city.

Tens of thousands of civilians have already left the regional capital after being ordered to evacuate the area in October in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has retaken around 88 settlements in the region, or around 13% of territory previously held by Russian forces.

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A daily update from Ukraine’s presidential office Monday said that Russian soldiers in plainclothes have been moving into apartments in Kherson that civilians had left during the evacuation. One Kherson resident told the Associated Press that Russian military personnel were going door to door, checking property deeds and forcing tenants to leave immediately if they couldn’t prove ownership of apartments.

Last month, Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that occupying Russian forces in the Kherson region had been purposely shutting off electricity and water and depriving the population of internet access in order to force them to leave.

On Monday, the region’s Russian-installed administration announced that it was halting “the movement of civilian vehicles across the Dnieper by water and pontoon ferry,” citing “increased military danger” and threats to civilians.


Russia has focused on striking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure over the last month, causing power shortages and rolling outages across the country. The capital, Kyiv, was having hourly rotating blackouts Sunday in parts of the city and the surrounding region.

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Ukraine’s state-owned electricity grid operator, Ukrenergo, on Monday announced additional power outages in the Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava and Zhytomyr regions.

To repair the energy system, experts say that Ukraine needs high-voltage transformers and distribution and communication equipment, and that the deliveries must be systematic.

“It is important that there are constant, not onetime, deliveries,” Gennadii Riabtsev, chief researcher on energy security at the National Institute for Strategic Studies, said.

The first delivery of high-voltage transformers from the European Union is expected in the coming weeks, but this supply isn’t enough to significantly improve the situation, he said.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address to the nation Sunday that about 4.5 million people were without electricity across the country. He called on Ukrainians to endure the hardships, saying, “We must get through this winter and be even stronger in the spring than now.”

Meanwhile, in another annexed region, Donetsk, Russian-installed officials accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the regional capital, also called Donetsk, using U.S.-supplied HIMARS multiple-rocket launchers early Monday.

The city’s Kremlin-backed mayor, Alexei Kulemzin, said that a fire broke out in an administrative building of the Donetsk Railways but that the blaze had been contained, with no casualties reported. Ukrainian authorities have not commented on the incident. The city of Donetsk has been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

In territory held by Ukraine, Russia has been repeatedly targeting power infrastructure. Ukraine’s state-owned electricity grid operator, Ukrenergo, on Monday announced power outages in the capital, Kyiv, and the surrounding region, as well as in the Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Sumy, Kharkiv, Poltava and Zhytomyr regions.

The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said that Russian strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region targeted civilian sites, including a cultural center, farmers’ warehouses and private residences.

Tymoshenko said the Zaporizhzhia region — also illegally annexed by Russia in September but not fully controlled by Russian forces — was shelled 52 times over the last 24 hours, and one person was killed. Two cities near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Marhanets and Myrove, were shelled by heavy artillery and remain without power.