Russia says its troops have repelled an attack by Ukraine in the southern region of Kherson, where Ukrainian forces have been advancing in recent weeks.
In a statement on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said “all attacks were repulsed, and the enemy was pushed back to their initial positions.”
Te ministry went on to say that Ukrainian forces pressed their offensive towards the areas of Piatykhatky, Suhanove, Sablukivka and Bezvodne, on the west bank of the Dnieper River. Russian forces had also repelled attacks in Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine, it added.
On Thursday, Russian officials based in Kherson said Ukraine’s military forces had shelled the Antonivskiy Bridge over the Dnieper River, which was used to evacuate people.
The city of Kherson was the first key urban center to be captured by Russian troops after Moscow launched the military operation in Ukraine on February 24.
On Friday, Ukraine’s presidential office said 88 districts of southern Kherson had been liberated. Last week, Kiev announced that 75 towns and villages in the region had been liberated.
Russian officials had previously said they would turn Kherson into a “fortress” by building city defenses.
Russia has asked civilians to evacuate the city in anticipation of a wider Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Power cuts after Ukrainian infrastructure pounded
Meanwhile, Ukraine says more than a dozen Russian missiles have pounded critical infrastructure across the country, causing wide-scale power outages.
The Ukrainian air force reported that 33 missiles had been fired at Ukraine on Saturday morning, adding that 18 of those had been shot down.
Local officials in several regions across Ukraine also reported strikes on energy facilities and power outages, as engineers scrambled to restore the ruined network.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the presidential office’s deputy, said that as of Saturday afternoon, more than a million people across Ukraine were without power, with 672,000 of those in the western region of Khmelnytskyi alone
State-owned transmission system operator Ukrenergo wrote on the Telegram messaging application that the attacks targeted transmission infrastructure in western Ukraine, but that power supply restrictions were being put in place in ten regions across the entire country, including in the capital Kiev.
Petro Panteleev, the deputy head of Kiev’s city administration, also warned that Russian strikes could leave Ukraine’s capital without power and heat for “several days or weeks.”
Russia launched 36 rockets in ‘massive attack’ on Ukraine
Separately on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia has carried out a “massive attack” on Ukraine overnight.
The Ukrainian leader made the comments on social media, after several regions reported strikes on energy infrastructure that resulted in power outages across the country.
“The aggressor continues to terrorize our country. At night, the enemy launched a massive attack: 36 rockets, most of which were shot down… These are vile strikes on critical objects. Typical tactics of terrorists,” Zelensky said.
On October 18, Zelensky said Russian airstrikes have destroyed 30 percent of his country’s energy infrastructure in the past week, warning that such airstrikes had left no room for negotiations with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia began its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, with the declared aim of “de-Nazifying” the country.
Since the onset of the war, the United States and its European allies have imposed waves of economic sanctions against Moscow while supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev over Russian objections. Moscow has been critical of the weapons supplies to Kiev, warning that it will prolong the conflict.