By Pavel Polityuk and Stefaniia Bern
KYIV (Reuters) – Russian forces attacked Ukrainian hydroelectric power stations and other energy facilities on Monday morning in missile strikes that left many people without electricity or running water.
Several explosions rocked Kyiv and black smoke hung over the capital after drone and missile attacks that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said targeted 10 Ukrainian regions and damaged 18 mostly energy-related facilities.
Shmyhal said hundreds of settlements lost power across Ukraine, despite the air force saying its air defences had knocked out 44 of 50 the missiles fired by Russia.
Long queues formed for water in some parts of Kyiv after Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 80% of residents were left without water and local authorities said 350,000 homes in the capital were without electricity.
Klitschko said several hours later that 270,000 apartments remained without electricity and 40% of residents still had no running water, and authorities announced emergency blackouts across the country to help save power and carry out repairs.
“Another barbaric attack on Ukraine’s energy system took place this morning. Electric substations, hydropower and heat generation facilities were hit by rocket fire,” Energy Minister German Galushchenko wrote on Facebook.
A hydroelectric power station at Kremenchuk in central Ukraine came under attack, the regional governor said, and footage on social media showed several similar plants were attacked in other parts of the country.
‘MISSILE TERROR’ ON HALLOWEEN
“On the occasion of Halloween, the Russians decided to carry out another act of missile terror,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
Referring to U.S.-supplied anti-tank and long-range missile systems, it added: “Saint Javelin and Saint HIMARS will subdue the evil spirits.”
In Kyiv, residents queuing for water were defiant.
“The rascists (Russians) have destroyed everything here. And they are happy about it. But we can stand in line, and they wouldn’t be able to handle this. Because we will hit them back, not the other way around,” said a 74-year-old woman who gave her name only as Tamara.
Anastasiia Barsukova said the cafe where she works as an administrator was left without water so she and her colleagues bought as much as they could, reconnected their coffee machine and started serving food in takeaway dishes.
“So, we are ready for anything. Nothing will frighten us,” Barsukova told Reuters television.
Russia has stepped up attacks on energy infrastructure and cities since blaming Kyiv for an explosion which damaged a bridge linking southern Russia with annexed Crimea. It says it has been hitting military and energy facilities, but many residential buildings have been damaged.
(Editing by Timothy Heritage)