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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Daniel Boffey in Zaporizhzhia

Russian strikes fail to disable Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

Cars and buildings were damaged in Zaporizhzhia but the strikes did not affect the city’s electricity supply
Cars and buildings were damaged in Zaporizhzhia but the strikes did not affect the city’s electricity supply. Photograph: Léo Corrêa/AP

Russia has continued to try to hit Ukrainian’s energy infrastructure but Vladimir Putin’s forces did not appear to have enjoyed any significant success.

One missile seriously damaged a key energy facility in the region around Ukraine’s capital and 10 missiles and four drones hit locations in the south-eastern city of Zaporizhzhia.

There were periodic electricity blackouts in Kyiv but fires set off in Zaporizhzhia and subsequent damage to electricity substations did not appear to affect supply in the city.

Evidence on the ground suggested that a number of the missiles launched at Zaporizhzhia had badly misfired, damaging only cars and smashing the windows of apartment blocks rather than disabling the critical infrastructure.

Russia has waged a campaign to destroy Ukraine’e energy system as winter fast approaches, prompting calls in recent days from Ukraine’s government for a nationwide effort to save energy.

The Russian forces continue, however, to be on the defensive on the frontlines, with Ukrainian forces continuing to make ground in the strategically important Kherson region.

To the north and east of Kherson, Russian shelling killed two civilians in the Dnipropetrovsk region, according to the local governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.

On Saturday, a British defence intelligence update suggested that Putin’s “partial mobilisation” of Russian reservists was unlikely to turn the tide.

It was claimed that the new soldiers were poorly equipped and were being asked to buy their own body armour, including a 6B45 vest, which is supposed to be part of general issue.

It was suggested that part of the reason behind the Russian army’s comparatively poor performance in the first seven months of the war was corruption.

The intelligence briefing said: “Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine.”

The first Russian soldiers to take part in a new joint force with Belarusian troops arrived in Belarus, Minsk’s defence ministry said on Saturday.

“The first convoys of Russian servicemen from the regional force group have arrived in Belarus,” the ministry said, adding that their mission was “exclusively to strengthen the protection and defence of the border”.

Meanwhile, an oil depot in Russia’s Belgorod region bordering Ukraine was said by the local governor to be on fire after being shelled on Saturday.

“We’re getting bombed again. One of the shells hit the oil depot in the Belgorod region,” the regional governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said.

Gladkov said emergency services were already on site, adding there was “no risk” of the fire spreading, as he posted a photo showing flames and plumes of black smoke rising above a building.

The state-run news agency Tass cited a source in the emergency services who said the burning depot was located in the village of Razumnoye-71, near the city of Belgorod.

The area has been regularly targeted by Ukraine. A munition depot in the region was also destroyed on Thursday. Earlier in the week, Ukrainian strikes knocked out power in the town of Shebekino, in the same region. A 74-year-old woman died and several others were wounded in the attack.

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