Over 1.5 million in Ukraine’s Odesa without power after Russian drone attack

Zelensky says region around Black Sea port ‘in darkness’ following strike that used Iranian drones; air defenses manage to knock down two UAVs

Workers repair high-voltage power lines cut by recent missile strikes near Odessa on December 7, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (OLEKSANDR GIMANOV / AFP, file)
Workers repair high-voltage power lines cut by recent missile strikes near Odessa on December 7, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (OLEKSANDR GIMANOV / AFP, file)

KYIV, Ukraine — Over 1.5 million people were without power in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa on Saturday after a night attack by Russian “kamikaze drones,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The region’s energy authority warned that repairs after the Friday strikes would take weeks, perhaps up to three months.

“After the night strike by Iranian drones, Odesa and other cities and villages of the region are in darkness,” Zelensky said.

“As of now, more than one and a half million people in Odessa region are without electricity.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the presidential administration, said only critical infrastructure including hospitals and maternity wards had access to electricity.

“The situation remains difficult, but is under control,” Tymoshenko said.

The Black Sea port of Odesa was a favorite holiday destination for many Ukrainians and Russians before President Vladimir Putin sent troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24.

Maksym Marchenko, the governor of the region of Odesa, said Russia had attacked the city with “kamikaze drones” overnight.

A view of buildings of local resort destroyed following recent Russian missile attacks in Odesa region, Ukraine, August 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Nina Lyashonok, File)

“As a result of the strike, there is no electricity in almost all districts and communities of our region,” he said.

Two drones were shot down by Ukrainian air defense units, Marchenko added.

On Friday, Kyiv said southern regions of the war-scarred country including Odesa were suffering the worst electricity outages days after the latest bout of systematic Russian assaults on the Ukrainian energy grid.

Russia fired dozens of cruise missiles at key infrastructure in Ukraine on Monday, piling pressure on the country’s already ailing grid after repeated attacks.

Russia began targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure during humiliating military defeats.

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin vowed to keep battering Ukraine’s energy grid despite an outcry against the attacks that have plunged millions into cold and darkness.

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