(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – All non-critical infrastructure in the Ukrainian port of Odessa was left without power after Russia used Iranian-made drones to strike two energy plants, officials said on Saturday, adding the damage could take months to repair.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said more than 1.5 million people in the southern port city and the surrounding region have no electricity and described the situation as very difficult.
Since October, Moscow has targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with large waves of missile and drone strikes.
The regional administration said people who rely solely on electricity to power their homes should consider leaving. Officials said Russian strikes hit major transmission lines and equipment in the early hours of Saturday.
“According to preliminary forecasts, it will take much longer to restore energy facilities in the Odessa region than in previous attacks,” the administration said.
“We are not talking about days, but also weeks and maybe even two or three months,” reads a Facebook post.
Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port city, had a population of over 1 million before the February 24 Russian invasion.
Kiev says Russia has launched hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones against targets in Ukraine and describes the attacks as war crimes due to their devastating effect on civilian lives. Moscow says they are militarily legitimate.
In a video address, Zelenskiy said there was a significant shortage in the amount of power being generated.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said two power plants in the Odessa region were hit by Shahed-136 drones.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook that 15 drones were fired at targets in the southern regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv, and 10 were shot down.
Tehran denies supplying drones to Moscow. Kiev and its Western allies say it’s a lie.
The British Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it believes Iran’s military support for Russia is likely to increase in the coming months, including possible deliveries of ballistic missiles.
(Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Editing by Ros Russell and Daniel Wallis)
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