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Ukraine updates: Third of power stations 'destroyed'

Published October 18, 2022last updated October 18, 2022

The Ukrainian president says nearly 30% of the country's power plants have been destroyed in the past few days. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wants Kyiv to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran. DW has the latest.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
Firefighters work to put out a fire in a thermal power plant, damaged by a Russian missile strike in KyivImage: State Emergency Service of Ukraine via REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia's military has destroyed some 30% of Ukraine's power stations.   

Much of the damage has been done in the past week, with repeated strikes targeting energy infrastructure and causing blackouts across the country. 

"Since October 10, 30% of Ukraine's power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country," Zelenskyy said on Twitter.  

The Ukrainian president added there was "no space left for negotiations with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's regime." 

Over 1,100 cities and town in Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv, have seen power cuts after more strikes hit energy facilities on Tuesday. 

"As a result of today's attack on the critical infrastructure of Kyiv, three people were killed. These are employees of one of the critical infrastructure facilities," Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. 

Energy operator DTEK announced "interruptions" to the electricity and water supply to residents after an attack on a facility on the left bank of the city's river. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian missile strikes hit Ukrainian infrastructure in Kyiv and other areas, coming just a day after deadly Russian drone strikes hit the Ukrainian capital. On Monday, four people were killed in Kyiv due to a barrage of Russian attacks with so-called "suicide drones."

Meanwhile, the northern city of Zhytomyr was left without electricity and water supply after the Tuesday morning strikes, its mayor said. In Dnipro, an energy facility was hit twice and severely damaged, an official said.

Russian strikes target Ukraine's energy grid

Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on October 18.

Russia 'militarily bankrupt' for using Iranian drones — Zelenskyy

Russia's dependence on Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian targets exposes Moscow as "bankrupt" both politically and militarily, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a nightly video address.

Using Iranian weaponry amounted to an acknowledgement of failure by the Kremlin, he added.

"For decades, they spent billions of dollars on their own military industrial complex. And in the end, they bowed down to Tehran in order to secure quite simple drones and missiles," Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine says Russia's latest attacks on infrastructure have relied on Iranian-made Shahed-136 "kamikaze" drones. Iran denies supplying unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia.

In his address, Zelenskyy also thanked everyone who helps Ukraine with anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense. According to the president, the German "IRIS-T" has shown itself as "a really effective system."

"We are working with partners to provide even more protection to the Ukrainian sky," Zelenskyy added.

Ukraine moves to cut diplomatic ties with Iran 

Ukraine is considering cutting ties with Iran in response to Tehran allegedly supplying weapons to Russia.

On Monday, Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine were bombarded with a swarm of "kamikaze" drones that Ukrainian officials have said were supplied by Iran. 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a news conference that Tehran bore full responsibility for the destruction.

Kuleba said he submitted a proposal to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Kyiv to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

He also said Ukraine was sending an official note to Israel seeking immediate air defense supplies and cooperation in the sector.

Iran continues to deny supplying drones to the Russian military. However, according to the US, Iran is also supplying other arms to Russia including surface-to-surface missiles.

Ukraine says Russia uses Iranian-made drones

Ukraine to receive NATO anti-drone systems in coming days — Stoltenberg

Addressing a security conference in Berlin, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance should step up air defense deliveries to Ukraine to fend off Russian drone attacks. 

"NATO will in the coming days deliver counter-drone systems to counter the specific threat of drones, including those from Iran," he said.

"The most important thing we can do is deliver on what allies have promised, to step up and deliver even more air defense systems," he added.

The West accuses Tehran of supplying Russia with arms, which Iran has denied. 

"No nation should support the illegal war of Russia against Ukraine," Stoltenberg said.

Russia to evacuate civilians from Kherson region, citing 'tense' situation 

Russia's army is preparing toevacuate civilians from the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson, parts of which are currently occupied by Russian forces, the Russian military commander for Ukraine operations said on Tuesday.

"The Russian army will above all ensure the safe evacuation of the population" of Kherson, General Sergey Surovikin, who has been on the job for the past 10 days, told Russian state television, adding the combat situation there was "very tense."

Kherson is one of the four regions in Ukraine where Russia carried out an illegal annexation.

Meanwhile, Kremlin-appointed head of the area, Vladimir Saldo, announced the evacuation of civilians of four communities near the Dnipro river, citing the risk that Ukrainian shelling could damage a nearby dam.

"The Ukrainian side is building up forces for a large-scale offensive," he said.

UN: Russia is responsible for 'vast majority' of potential war crimes in Ukraine

A United Nations commission found Russian forces were responsible for the "vast majority" of human rights violations in the early weeks of the war in Ukraine, including attacks on civilians that were potential war crimes.

In a report covering events in four northern provinces, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine found that Russian forces had indiscriminately shelled areas they were trying to capture and "attacked civilians trying to flee".

"Russian armed forces are responsible for the vast majority of the violations identified, including war crimes. Ukrainian forces have also committed international humanitarian law violations in some cases, including two incidents that qualify as war crimes," the UN Human Rights Council said in a summary of the report.

The report covered events in Ukraine's northern Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Sumy regions in late February and March 2022, following Russia's February 24 invasion. All four of those provinces have since been fully recaptured by Ukraine, after Russia's assault on the capital failed.

Ukraine receives €2 billion in EU aid

Ukraine's prime minister said the country has received €2 billion ($1.96 billion) in financial help from the European Union.  

The sum is the first tranche of a €5-billion ($4.91-billion) EU package allocated after Russia's invasion. 

"The additional financial resource will help to cover urgent budgetary expenses, in particular for the social and humanitarian spheres," Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal wrote on the messaging app Telegram. 

Ukraine: Russia 'kidnapped' two officials at nuclear plant

Ukraine's state nuclear energy agency has accused Russia of "kidnapping" two of its senior employees at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the south of Ukraine. 

Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram on Tuesday that the power station's head of information technology, Oleh Kostyukov, and Oleh Oshek, an assistant to the plant's director, had been detained the previous day. 

"At present, nothing is known of their whereabouts or condition," the statement said.

Zelenskyy calls for air defense aid amid drone strikes

President Zelenskyy called on the international community to provide more air defense systems in the midst of renewed Russian airstrikes with so-called "suicide drones."

"The world can and must stop this terror. When we talk about Ukraine's need for air and missile defense, we are talking about real lives that are being taken by terrorists," he said in a statement published late Monday.

"And this is not only Ukrainian interest. The fewer terrorist opportunities Russia has, the sooner this war will end," Zelenskyy added.

His comments came after the latest barrage of Russian strikes on Ukrainian cities. Zelenskyy said Monday's attacks were primarily carried out with Iranian-designed combat drones, also referred to as "kamikaze drones."

Zelenskyy said that since Sunday evening Ukraine had intercepted 37 such drones and several cruise missiles.

Russia military aircraft crashes into apartments near Azov Sea coast

At least 15 people have been killed after a military plane crashed into a residential building in the port town of Yeysk in Russia's southwestern Krasnodar Krai region, Russian officials said on Tuesday.

Russia's Defense Ministry said the crash of the Su-34 bomber set off a fire covering some 2,000 square meters (21,500 square feet),  the state RIA news agency reported. 

Hours after the accident, Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev said emergency services had managed to douse the fire.

Yeysk lies on the Azov Sea coast, close to the country’s border with Ukraine, and is home to some 90,000 people, along with a Russian air base.

More from DW's coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

NATO has launched its annual series of nuclear preparedness drills on the heels of veiled threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin that he might consider a nuclear option after military setbacks in Ukraine.

Suicide drones are said to have been used to attack the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Tehran has denied supplying Moscow with the equipment. What do we know about drone imports?

dh,dvv/wmr,rs (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)