Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed Russia launched a “massive attack” overnight, targeting critical infrastructure in several regions.
Over a million Ukranians have been left without power as Russian strikes targeted energy facilities across the country.
Mr Zelensky announced that 36 air strikes had occurred on Saturday night and while most were shot down, some had impacted the country’s energy grid.
The Ukrainian President condemned the “massive act” as “typical” of terrorists trying to intimidate their opposition.
“The aggressor continues to terrorise our country. At night, the enemy launched a massive attack: 36 rockets, most of which were shot down … These are vile strikes on critical objects. Typical tactics of terrorists,” Zelensky said on social media.
“Of course, we do not yet have the technical ability to shoot down 100% of Russian missiles and attack drones. We will gradually come to this – with the help of our partners, I’m confident of this.”
According to Ukrainian officials, almost a third of Ukraine’s power states and energy generating facilities have been destroyed by Russian airstrikes since Monday last week.
The deputy head of the Ukrainian presidency confirmed that 1.5 million are now disconnected from the main grid and having to make do without electricity.
“As of now, 672,000 subscribers have been disconnected in Khmelnytskyi region, 188,400 in Mykolaiv region, 102,000 in Volyn region, 242,000 in Cherkasy region, 174,790 in Rivne region, 61,913 in Kirovograd region and 10,500 in Odessa region,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on social media.
The move to destroy infrastructure is perceived as a change in Russia’s strategy to cause damage before winter in retaliation for Ukraine’s advancing forces.
Ukrainian troops have continued to advance after breaking through Russia’s defences on the west bank of the Dnieper River in Kherson.
The Russian occupied city of Kherson is expected to be the site of the next major showdown in the conflict with warnings for civilians to leave an indicator that Ukrainian troops are closing in.
“Due to the tense situation at the front, the increased danger of massive shelling of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the left [east] bank of the Dnipro!” said a statement posted on Telegram.
“Take care of the safety of your family and friends! Do not forget documents, money, valuables and clothes.”
Thousands of civilians have fled Kherson in recent days across the Dnieper River as the city prepares itself.