Multiple people killed outside Kherson coffee shop in heavy bombardment
A barrage of missiles hit residential and commercial buildings, setting some ablaze.
Kherson on Thursday came under its heaviest bombardment since Ukrainian forces recaptured the southern city two weeks ago.
The barrage of missiles killed four people outside a coffee shop and a woman was also killed next to her house, witnesses said, speaking to Associated Press reporters.
Hospitals without power and water are also contending with the gruesome after-effects of intensifying Russian strikes. They hit residential and commercial buildings on Thursday, setting some ablaze, blowing ash skyward and shattering glass across streets.
Olena Zhura was carrying bread to her neighbours when a strike that destroyed half of her house wounded her husband, Victor. He writhed in pain as paramedics carried him away.
“I was shocked,” she said, welling with tears. “Then I heard (him) shouting: ‘Save me, save me.”
Residents of Ukraine’s bombed capital meanwhile clutched empty bottles in search of water and crowded into cafes for power and warmth, switching defiantly into survival mode after new Russian missile strikes a day earlier plunged the city and much of the country into the dark.
Some Kyiv residents resorted to collecting rainwater from drainpipes, as repair teams laboured to reconnect supplies.
Friends and family members exchanged messages to find out who had electricity and water back. Some had one but not the other. The previous day’s aerial onslaught on Ukraine’s power grid left many with neither.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said about 70% of the Ukrainian capital was still without power on Thursday morning.
In a Telegram statement he said that “power engineers are doing their best to get (electricity) back as soon as possible” and added that the water supply had been restored in about half of Kyiv on the left bank of the Dnieper River.
The strikes also caused power outages in neighbouring Moldova.
Russia has been launching devastating strikes on Ukraine’s power infrastructure as its forces have suffered battlefield setbacks in the full-scale war that it launched February 24, exactly nine months ago.
Ukraine’s general staff reported on Thursday morning that Russian forces fired 67 cruise missiles and 10 drones during Wednesday’s “massive attack on residential buildings and energy infrastructure” in Kyiv and several other regions in Ukraine.
An effort to restore power, heating and water supplies disrupted by the Wednesday attacks was under way elsewhere in Ukraine.
Governor of the Poltava region Dmytro Lunin said “an optimistic scenario” suggested that electricity will come back to residents of his central Ukrainian region on Thursday.
“In the next few hours, we will start supplying energy to critical infrastructure, and then to the majority of household consumers,” Mr Lunin said on Telegram, noting that power has already been restored for 15,500 people and 1,500 firms or organisations in the region.
Mr Lunin added that water supplies resumed in several parts of the city of Poltava, and four boiler stations have started to heat regional hospitals.
The Kirovohrad and the Vinnytsia regions on Thursday morning were reconnected to the power grid, adding to more than a dozen other regions that were reconnected on Wednesday night, according to the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
In the south-eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, power has been restored for up to 50% of consumers, governor Valentyn Reznichenko said, but noted that “the situation with energy is complicated”.
Amid Russia’s continued attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the Ukrainian authorities started opening what they call “points of invincibility” — heated and powered spaces where people could go for hot meals, as well as electricity to recharge their devices and to connect to the internet.