KYIV, Dec. 10 (Reuters) – All non-critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s port of Odessa was without power after Russia used Iranian-made drones to hit two power installations, leaving 1.5 million people without power, it said officials Saturday.
“The situation in the Odessa region is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.
“Unfortunately, the hits were critical, so it takes more than just time to restore the electricity… It won’t take hours, but a few days unfortunately.”
Since October, Moscow has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with large waves of missiles and drone strikes.
Norway sent $100 million to help repair Ukraine’s energy system, Zelenskiy said.
Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional administration, said electricity for the city’s population will be restored “in the coming days”, while full restoration of the networks could take two to three months.
Bratchuk said an earlier Facebook post by the region’s government advising some people to consider evacuating was being investigated by Ukraine’s security services as “part of the hybrid war” by Russia.
That message has since been removed.
“No representative of the authorities in the region has called for the evacuation of the residents of Odessa and the region,” Bratchuk said.
Odessa had a population of more than 1 million before the February 24 invasion that Russia calls a “special military operation” to “denazify” its smaller neighbor.
Kiev says Russia launched hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones at targets in Ukraine, describing the attacks as war crimes because of their devastating effect on civilian life. Moscow says its attacks are militarily legitimate and do not target civilians.
The prosecutor’s office of Ukraine said that two power plants in the Odessa region have been hit by Shahed-136 drones.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Facebook that 15 drones had been launched against targets in the southern regions of Odessa and Mykolaiv, and 10 had been shot down.
Tehran denies supplying the drones to Moscow. Kiev and its Western allies say that is a lie.
Britain’s defense ministry said on Saturday it believes Iran’s military aid to Russia is likely to increase in the coming months, including possible ballistic missile deliveries.
Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Edited by Ros Russell, Daniel Wallis and William Mallard
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