Russia has targeted infrastructure facilities in the center and east Ukraine Sunday evening in response to a spectacular Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv province which has reshaped the war and left Moscow reeling. Kharkiv city mayor Ihor Terekhov said a strike had cut off electricity and water to much of the city, in what he described as an act of ‘revenge’ by Russia for recent Ukrainian battlefield successes. Power cuts were reported in Dnipro, Poltava and other eastern cities, potentially affecting millions of civilians. “A complete blackout in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, partial in Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement on social media. “No military installations,” he added. “The goal is to deprive people of light and heat.” He denounced “deliberate and cynical missile strikes” against civilian targets as acts of terrorism.
US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink denounced Russia’s strikes on electricity and water facilities. “Russia’s apparent response to Ukraine’s liberation of towns and villages in the east: sending missiles in an attempt to destroy critical civilian infrastructure,” Brink tweeted.
“We’ll call it victory,” Zelenskiy said in a video address on Sunday, referring to a possible Russian retreat.. He added that he was confident that Ukrainian forces would liberate all Russian-occupied territories across the country.
A nationalist activist and former FSB officer who helped launch a 2014 war in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has likened the collapse of one of the conflict’s main frontlines to a catastrophic defeat in the Russo-Japanese War that sparked the Russian Revolution of 1905. Igor Girkin said it was like the Battle of Mukden in 1905, which ended two days after the revolution started.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have swapped blame in a phone call about safety issues at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. “The Russian side drew attention to the regular Ukrainian attacks on the plant’s facilities, including the storage of radioactive waste, which are fraught with catastrophic consequences,” a statement on the Kremlin’s website read. In its statement, the French presidency said that the occupation by Russian troops of the factory was what put it in danger. Earlier, the Ukrainian nuclear operator said the plant’s last working reactor had been shut down and the plant was “completely shut down”.
Moscow’s leadership has remained “silent” on defeats in Ukraine, with neither Putin nor Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu commenting midday on Sunday. Moscow’s near total silence on the defeat – or any explanation for what happened in northeastern Ukraine – has sparked significant anger among some pro-war commentators and Russian nationalists on social media.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya appointed by the Kremlin, has criticized the leadership of the Russian army after appearing to be caught off guard by Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion in the northeast. In a sign that the Kremlin could face serious fallout over the loss of territory that Russian occupation administrations have repeatedly said they plan to keep “forever”, Kadyrov also suggested that Vladimir Putin may not not be aware of the real situation.
Russian forces launched 11 missiles towards the eastern regions of Ukrainethe Ukrainian Air Force announced in a tweet on Sunday evening. Ukrainian air forces shot down seven cruise missiles in the Dnipropetrovsk region and two more missiles were destroyed in the Poltava region, the UAF said.
Due to the bombardment of the infrastructure, a number of trains from/to Kharkiv, Sumy and Poltava are expected to be delayed. However, not a single train today was cancelled; traffic continues across the entire rail network.
Two cruise missiles hit critical infrastructure in Kharkiv and firefighters were on the scene, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential administration. Tymoshenko said engineers were working to restore power and power should soon be back to vital facilities such as hospitals.