Kiev: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has blamed Russia of “depriving people of light and heat” by causing power cuts across the eastern part of the war-torn nation to seek revenge for a counter-offensive launched by Kiev.
Blackouts have reportedly affected around nine million people in eastern regions including Kharkiv, Donetsk, Poltava, Sumy and Dnipropetrovsk.
It comes after Ukraine said it had retaken over 3,000 sq.km during the rapid counter-offensive in the east, reports the BBC.
Taking to social media on Sunday night, the President said: “Even through the impenetrable darkness, Ukraine and the civilized world clearly see these terrorist acts.
“Deliberate and cynical missile strikes on civilian critical infrastructure. No military facilities. Kharkiv and Donetsk regions were cut off. In Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Sumy there are partial problems with power supply.”
He further said that “cold, hunger, darkness and thirst are not as terrible and deadly for us as your ‘friendship and brotherhood'”.
“But history will put everything in its place. And we will be with gas, light, water and food.. and without you.”
Zelensky also asked Russia if it still believed that it can intimidate Ukrainian people, break their will, or force them to make concessions; if it has failed to grasp the real state of affairs.
He also shared footage of the aftermath of Russian attacks on Sunday evening, reports Ukrayinska Pravda.
Regarding the counter-offensive, the President claimed that 1,000 sq.km had been retaken on September 8 evening, adding that figure rose to 2,000 sq.km on September 10, then to 3,000 the following day.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces entered the key town of Balaklyia on September 9, which was later confirmed by Russia saying it withdrew troops, to “bolster efforts” on the Donetsk front, the BBC reported.
The vital Russian-held supply towns of Izyum and Kupiansk were taken by Ukraine on September 10. Russia also confirmed its forces’ retreat from both towns, which it said would allow them to “regroup”.
Speaking to the BBC, Izyum Mayor Valerii Marchenko said residents should be able to return to the town in about 10 days for the first time since it was captured by Russia in March.
According to the Mayor, the city was probably the biggest logistical hub for the Russian army as it is a gateway to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in the Donbas region, where Moscow wanted to advance.
Regardless of the retaking of cities an regions, Russia still holds around a fifth of Ukraine.