KYIV, Dec 10 (Reuters) – All critical infrastructure in the Ukrainian port of Odesa was without power, leaving 1.5 million people without power after Russia used Iranian-made drones to attack two energy facilities, officials said on Saturday.
“The situation in the Odessa region is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
“Unfortunately, the hits are critical, so it will take a long time to restore power… It won’t take hours, but days, unfortunately.”
Since October, Moscow has targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with large waves of missile and drone strikes.
Zelensky said Norway is sending $100 million to restore Ukraine’s energy system.
Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for Odesa’s regional administration, said power to the city’s residents would be restored “in the coming days,” while full restoration of networks could take two to three months.
Bratchuk said an earlier Facebook post by the regional administration, which advised it to consider expelling some people, was being investigated by Ukraine’s security services as “an element of hybrid warfare” by Russia.
The record has since been deleted.
“Not a single representative of the authorities in the region called for the evacuation of residents of Odessa and the region,” Bradchuk said.
Odessa had more than 1 million residents before the February 24 invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation” to “reduce” its tiny neighbor.
Kiev says Russia has launched hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones at targets in Ukraine, describing the attacks as war crimes with devastating consequences for civilian life. Moscow says its strikes are militarily legitimate and do not target civilians.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said two power stations in the Odesa region were hit by Shahed-136 drones.
Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook that 15 drones were launched against targets in the southern regions of Odesa and Mykolaiv, and 10 were shot down.
Tehran denies supplying drones to Moscow Kiev and its Western allies say that is false.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday it hoped Iran’s military support for Russia would increase in the coming months, including the supply of ballistic missiles.
Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Editing by Ross Russell, Daniel Wallis and William Mallard
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