KYIV, Ukraine: Ukraine said on Monday that Russia was preparing for a fresh wave of missile attacks on its energy grid that have plunged swathes of the country into the cold and dark.
The warning came as foreign ministers from several European countries, including Nato-hopefuls Finland and Sweden, arrived in Kyiv for unannounced visits in a show of support.
A Ukraine military spokesman said a Russian warship capable of firing cruise missiles had recently deployed to the Black Sea with Kalibr-type missiles on board.
“This indicates that preparations were under way,” said spokeswoman Natalia Gumeniuk.
“It’s quite likely that the beginning of the week will be marked by such an attack,” she added.
With temperatures dipping below zero, repeated Russian attacks have left Ukraine’s energy grid teetering on the brink of collapse and have disrupted power and water supplies to millions over recent weeks.
In its most recent barrage, Russia fired dozens of cruise missiles at targets across Ukraine last week, and an official in Kyiv said on Monday that residents in and around the capital were still suffering disruptions as a result.
“Emergency electricity shutdowns are ongoing in the Kyiv region. About 40 per cent is currently without power. These are the consequences of the massive rocket attack that happened last week,” governor Oleksiy Kuleba told local media.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has increased the threat from weapons of mass destruction including chemical munitions, the head of the world’s toxic arms watchdog said on Monday. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, its chief Fernando Arias told the regulator’s annual meeting. — Agencies