Ukraine’s military tightened the noose around Russian forces occupying the southern city of Kherson on Thursday as the government ordered nationwide curbs on electricity use because of Russian missile and drone attacks on power plants.
In Kherson, the only regional capital Russian forces have captured since their invasion eight months ago, the Russian-appointed administration began an evacuation of a city that controls the only land route to the Crimea peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014, and the mouth of the Dnipro river.
On Wednesday, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russia-backed administration in Kherson, wrote on Telegram that Ukraine had launched an offensive towards Novaya Kamianka and Berislav in the Kherson region.
While Ukraine remained tight-lipped about its operations, its military said in an early Thursday update on the Kherson region said 43 Russian servicemen had been killed and six tanks and other equipment destroyed.
Reuters was not able to verify battlefield reports.
Footage of people fleeing by boat across the Dnipro river were broadcast by Russian state television, which portrayed the exodus as an attempt to evacuate civilians before it became a combat zone.
About 50,000 to 60,000 people would be moved out in the next six days, said Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed chief of Kherson, while maintaining that Russia had the resources to hold the city and even counter-attack if necessary.
While gaining ground on front lines, Ukraine counted the cost of Russia’s long range strikes deep into its territory.
On Thursday, the government placed restrictions on electricity usage nationwide for the first time since Russia’s invasion following a barrage of attacks on power plants just before the winter sets in.
Power supply will be restricted between 7 am and 11 pm, government officials and the grid operator Ukrenergo said, and temporary blackouts were possible if people did not minimise their use of electricity, a presidential aide said.
“We do not exclude that with the onset of cold weather we will be asking for your help even more frequently”, Ukrenergo said, referring to the restriction that is limited to Thursday.
Russia has intensified its missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s power and water infrastructure in recent days.
Source: Gulf Today with Reuters