For weeks, Russian forces have rained missiles and explosive drones onto Ukraine’s infrastructure, as a major Ukrainian ground offensive – propelled by Western arms deliveries – has pushed Russian troops back in swathes of the country.
“We are also aware of the fact that the terrorist state is concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of massive attacks on our infrastructure, primarily energy,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening speech, referring to Russia.
“In particular, Russia needed Iranian missiles for this. We are getting ready to respond,” Zelenskyy said.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said he does not rule out a full blackout in Ukraine’s capital. “We are calculating various scenarios in order to withstand this and be prepared,” he said.
Russian strikes over the past month have destroyed around a third of Ukraine’s power stations and the government has urged Ukrainians to conserve electricity as much as possible.
But until now, Ukraine had only rarely struck Russian-held civilian energy infrastructure in territory annexed by Moscow, preferring to target Russian army supply lines.
As Ukraine presses a counteroffensive in the south, Moscow’s occupational forces in Kherson have vowed to turn the city into a “fortress”.
Russian forces have for weeks organised a civilian pull-out from the Kherson region as Ukrainian troops advance, which Kyiv has called “deportations”.
Moscow-installed Kherson governor Vladimir Saldo said he was moving people further into the region or to Russia because of the risks of a “massive missile attack”.
The dam’s destruction would lead to flooding of the left bank of the Dnipro River, he said.
Zelenskyy said last month that Russian forces had mined the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant with the intent of blowing it up.
Its destruction could cause flash-flooding for hundreds of thousands of people, he warned.
He said cutting water supplies to the south could also impact the cooling systems of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe.
Meanwhile a Taiwanese man who volunteered to fight in Ukraine has died on the battlefield, Taipei’s foreign ministry said, in what is believed to be the first person from the island killed in the conflict.
And in a final address on his visit to Bahrain, Pope Francis on Sunday urged congregants to pray “for Ukraine, which is suffering so much”, and for an end to the war.