- Russia May Prepare More Attacks on Energy Infrastructure – Zelensky
- 4.5 million Ukrainians are without power as winter draws to a close.
- Biden’s aide spoke with top Russian officials.
- The US urged Ukraine to be open to dialogue with Russia.
Kyiv/WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Sunday of possible further Russian attacks on his country’s energy infrastructure, as authorities urged residents of the capital Kyiv to evacuate. Consider an exit plan as ongoing strikes threaten power supply.
Zelensky said in his routine nightly address that Russia was “concentrating forces and means for a possible repeat of large-scale attacks on our infrastructure. First of all, energy.”
More than 4.5 million customers were already without power, Zelinsky said, amid concerns that support for the Ukrainian cause could waver as the effects of the war’s energy and food prices linger into the winter.
US national security adviser Jack Sullivan, who visited Kyiv on Friday and pledged Washington’s “unwavering and unwavering” support for Ukraine, held undisclosed talks with Russian officials to avoid further escalation. have been made, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
News of the contacts followed a report that Washington was urging Kiev to signal openness to dialogue with Russia.
Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak earlier said on Twitter that Ukraine would “stand firm” despite Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, adding that it would do so by improving air defense, infrastructure security and consumption. .
The country faced a 32 percent shortfall in expected electricity supply on Monday, Sergey Kovalenko, CEO of YASNO, a major energy provider to the capital, said on his Facebook page.
The warning came after comments by Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko urged residents to “consider everything,” including a worst-case scenario where the capital loses power and water.
Residents should consider staying with friends or family outside the city, he said in a television interview.
In the south, accusations continue to be traded between Russia and Ukraine as Ukraine’s advance on the southern city of Kherson continues. Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the battlefield accounts from either side.
Russian forces destroyed about 1.5 kilometers of power lines, cutting off power to the city of Bereslav, said Yaroslav Yanushevich, governor of the Kherson region.
“It is likely that Bereslav will not have electricity until it is completely freed from the occupation,” Yanukovych wrote on the Telegram messaging app, adding that power lines leading to Kherson were down. have also been destroyed.
Russian news agencies reported on Sunday that Ukraine’s vast Russian-held Nova Kakhivka dam, upstream of Kherson on the Dnipro River, had been destroyed by shelling from Ukrainian forces. The reports did not provide any evidence to support the allegation, which could not immediately be confirmed by Reuters.
A rocket fired by the US-made HIMARS missile system hit the dam’s lock and damaged it, Russian state-run TASS quoted an emergency services representative as saying. The official was quoted as saying that it was an “attempt to create conditions of humanitarian disaster” by breaching the dam.
The warnings came as the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House’s Sullivan has had secret conversations with Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Petroshev in recent months that have not been publicly disclosed. went.
Few high-level contacts between US and Russian officials have been made public in recent months as Washington has insisted that any talks to end the war in Ukraine must take place between Moscow and Kyiv.
The White House declined to comment on the report, responding only to questions about the story with a statement attributed to National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson: “People claim a lot of things.”
On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was privately encouraging Ukraine to signal openness to dialogue with Russia, as the State Department said Moscow was escalating the war. And he doesn’t want to seriously engage in peace talks.
Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the request by US officials was not intended to push Ukraine to the negotiating table, but was a calculated effort to ensure that Kyiv retains the support of other countries.
U.S. and Ukrainian officials acknowledged that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ban on talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised concerns in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the effects of the war on food and fuel prices are weighing on the economy. are felt the most.
“Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” he quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying.
Zelensky signed a decree on October 4 that declared the possibility of any Ukrainian talks with Putin “impossible” but left the door open to talks with Russia.
The White House’s National Security Council did not immediately comment on the accuracy of the report.
A State Department spokesman responded: “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Actions speak louder than words. If Russia is willing to negotiate, it must stop its bombs and missiles and withdraw its support from Ukraine. The forces should be withdrawn.”
Reuters Bureau reporting; Written by Michael Parry and Simon Lewis; Edited by William Mallard, William Maclean and Diane Croft
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