Russian drones knocked out the power grid in Odessa, leaving 1.5 million without power

KYIV, Dec 10 (Reuters) – All non-critical infrastructure in the Ukrainian port of Odessa was without power after Russia used Iranian drones to strike two energy facilities, leaving 1.5 million people without power, officials said on Saturday.

“The situation in the Odesa region is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his overnight video address.

“Unfortunately, the hits were critical, so it’s taking longer to restore power… It’s not hours, it’s a few days, unfortunately.”

It’s been Moscow since October targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with large waves of missile and drone strikes.

Norway is sending $100 million to restore Ukraine’s energy system, Zelensky said.

Sergey Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odesa regional administration, said electricity to the city’s population would be restored “in the coming days,” while full restoration of networks could take two to three months.

Bratchuk said an earlier Facebook post by the region’s administration advising some people to consider evacuation was being investigated by Ukraine’s security services as an “element of hybrid warfare” by Russia.

This post has since been deleted.

“No representative of the authorities in the region has called for the evacuation of the residents of Odessa and the region,” Bratchuk said.

Odessa had more than 1 million residents before the February 24 invasion, which Russia called a “special military operation” to “denazify” its smaller neighbor.

Kiev claims Russia has fired hundreds of Iranian Shahed-136 drones at targets in Ukraine, describing the attacks as war crimes because of their devastating effect on civilian life. Moscow maintains that its attacks are militarily legitimate and that they do not target civilians.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine reported that two energy facilities in Odesa region were hit by Shahed-136 drones.

Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook that 15 drones were fired at targets in the southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions and 10 were shot down.

Tehran denies supplying the drones to Moscow. Kiev and its Western allies say that is a lie.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday it believed Iran’s military support for Russia was likely to increase in the coming months, including possible deliveries of ballistic missiles.

Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Editing by Ross Russell, Daniel Wallis and William Mallard

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