Russia deploys drones against Ukraine’s energy facilities

State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Reuters
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at an energy facility damaged by a Russian missile strike in the Rivne region of Ukraine on Saturday.

WARSAW — Monday marked eight months since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. As winter approaches, Russian forces have launched numerous suicide drones, intensifying their attacks throughout Ukraine and primarily targeting energy-related facilities.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced Sunday morning that Russian forces had been attacking energy-related and other infrastructure facilities, including a thermal power plant, over the previous 24 hours.

Facilities were struck in nine regions, including southern Odesa, causing such damage as widespread power outages. Ukrainian forces intercepted 16 drones, the General Staff said.

Since Oct. 10, Russian forces have been launching large-scale attacks across Ukraine in retaliation for the explosion of a bridge linking the Russian mainland with Crimea, which Russia unilaterally annexed in 2014. Energy-related facilities are the main target of these attacks.

Ukrainian forces have retaken many settlements, and the Russians are believed to be at a disadvantage. Moscow’s move is being interpreted as an attempt to disrupt Ukraine by damaging the power supply ahead of winter, when energy demand is expected to rise.

On Saturday, a senior official in the Ukrainian Presidential Office said that about 1.5 million households had lost power and that the government was expediting work to restore service.

Later on the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech by video in which he said Russia’s main target was energy, but that it could not prevent Ukraine from defending itself. Zelenskyy called on the Ukrainians to unite through power-saving efforts.

Ukrainian forces are accelerating their counteroffensive in southern Kherson, one of the four regions unilaterally annexed by Russia. Ukraine’s General Staff has announced that Russian troops left two settlements in Kherson and that about 150 Russian soldiers were wounded.

There are also reports that about 25,000 people have been evacuated from the region at the request of administrative authorities set up by Russia.