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Ukraine promises shelters for its people as harsh winter looms

Ukraine’s government on Tuesday promised to create shelters to provide heat and water and encouraged citizens to conserve energy as a harsh winter loomed amid relentless Russian strikes that have left its power structure in tatters.

 

Special “invincibility centres” will be set up around Ukraine to provide electricity, heat, water, internet, mobile phone connections and a pharmacy, free of charge and around the clock, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Tuesday.

 

Russian attacks have knocked out power for long periods for up to 10 million consumers at a time. Ukraine’s national power grid operator said on Tuesday the damage had been colossal.

 

“If massive Russian strikes happen again and it’s clear power will not be restored for hours, the ‘invincibility centres’ will go into action with all key services,” Zelenskiy said.

 

Authorities have warned of power cuts that could affect millions of people to the end of March – the latest impact from Russia’s nine-month invasion that has already killed tens of thousands, uprooted millions and pummelled the global economy.

 

Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities follow a series of battlefield setbacks that have included a retreat of its forces from the southern city of Kherson to the east bank of the Dnipro River that bisects the country.

 

Battles continue to rage in the east, where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of frontline west of the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its proxies since 2014. The Donetsk region was the scene of fierce attacks and constant shelling over the last 24 hours, Zelenskiy said on Tuesday.

 

In Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, Russian air defences were activated and two drone attacks were repelled on Tuesday, including one targeting a power station near Sevastopol, the regional governor said. Sevastopol is the home port of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

 

Russian-installed Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev called for calm and said no damage had been caused.

 

Source: Tap News Agency