Fierce fighting continues in Donbass. Russia’s army is attacking their targets, Ukrainian troops are trying to recapture elsewhere. The overview on Tuesday morning.
AP / dpa Andrew Kravchenko
Severely damaged by Russian missile hits, Ukraine’s power grid is likely to remain highly disruptive for months to come. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country struggled not only with planned shutdowns but also with sudden power outages on Monday. Consumption exceeds electricity production, everyone has to save energy. Electricity supplier Yasno said Ukrainians would have to expect outages or shutdowns at least until the end of March.
While the Ukrainian military continued to report heavy fighting from the Donbass coal and steel region in the east of the attacked country, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a partial all-clear: the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which was occupied by Russian soldiers, was largely intact despite the intense shelling over the weekend.
Memory of protest on Maidan nine years ago
In his video speech, Zelenskyy recalled the beginning of the pro-European demonstrations on Kyiv’s Independence Square, the Maidan, nine years ago on November 21, 2013. In February 2014, the protest led to the fall of the pro-Russian government. However, Moscow used Ukraine’s phase of weakness to annex the Crimean peninsula and, a little later, to start the war in eastern Ukraine.
Freedom and dignity of the Ukrainian people are more than a thousand years old, Zelenskyy said. The people have survived many threats to their freedom and existence. “And now we have a historic chance to protect Ukrainian freedom once and for all,” he said, referring to the hoped-for victory over the Russian invaders.
Selenskiyj calls on compatriots to save electricity
Because of the lack of electricity in the Ukrainian grid, Zelenskyy turned to the regional and municipal administrations: They should continue to encourage citizens to save electricity. Electricity must also be saved in public spaces. “Tonight the situation in Kyiv and its environs, as well as in Vinnytsia, Sumy, Ternopil, Cherkassy, Odessa and some other cities and regions is particularly difficult,” Zelenskyy said.
“The system damage caused to our energy sector by the Russian terrorist attacks is so great that all our citizens and businesses should be very economical and spread consumption over the hours of the day,” he said. Since mid-October, Russia has been destroying Ukraine’s energy system with rocket attacks, in violation of international law. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, the government of the neighboring country should be forced to the negotiating table.
Power technicians are trying their best to repair the damage to the grid before winter sets in, Yasno power company boss Serhiy Kovalenko wrote on Facebook. “Even if there are fewer dropouts now, I want everyone to understand: Ukrainians will probably have to live with dropouts at least until the end of March,” he wrote. Network operator Ukrenergo announced planned shutdowns across the country for Tuesday.
Heavy fighting in Donbass
Regarding the fighting in the Donbass, the Ukrainian general staff announced that Russia was concentrating its attacks on the cities of Avdiivka and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Elsewhere, the general staff spoke of an “active defense” of the Russian troops – that’s where the Ukrainians are apparently attacking. The places Kupjansk and Lyman as well as Novopavliwka and the front in the Zaporizhia region were mentioned. The Russian troops fought back with tanks, mortars, pipe and rocket artillery, it said.
According to the official report, Russian troops in southern Ukraine are strengthening their defense lines on the southern bank of the Dnipro River. According to unofficial information, the Ukrainian artillery fired on this area in the direction of Crimea with their long-range guns. Russian military bloggers reported on a successful Russian advance on the town of Marjinka near Donetsk. The Ukrainian city of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region was hit by Russian multiple rocket launchers on Monday evening, local authorities said.
IAEA: Nuclear fuels in Zaporizhia are safely stored
There are no immediate concerns about the nuclear safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, said the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi. Four IAEA experts had checked the largest European nuclear power plant. The status of the six reactor units is stable. The integrity of the spent fuel, fresh fuel and low, intermediate and high level radioactive waste in their storage facilities has been confirmed.
Nevertheless, the experts had found damage on the site in many places. “This is of great concern as it highlights the sheer intensity of the attack on one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants,” Grossi said. The nuclear power plant was shaken by dozens of grenade hits on Saturday and Sunday. The facility had also come under fire in the months before. Ukraine and Russia blame each other for this.
That will be important on Tuesday
The Russian parliament, the State Duma in Moscow, intends to condemn the shooting of Russian soldiers who were being captured by Ukrainian soldiers on Tuesday. Parliaments of other countries should be asked to join. The incident, documented by video, is believed to have happened in mid-November when Ukraine recaptured the town of Makiivka in the Luhansk Oblast in the east of the country. According to Ukrainian sources, a Russian opened fire instead of surrendering. The Ukrainians therefore shot Russians who were already lying on the ground in self-defense. The UN Human Rights Office has announced an investigation.