Russia has launched new, “wide scale” missile strikes on Ukraine’s civilian energy sites, causing power outages nationwide, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his regular video address late Saturday.
Zelenskyy’s comments come as the war approaches its eight-month mark on Monday, October 24.
Ukrainian authorities say nearly 1.5 million households across the country have been left without electricity.
But Zelenskyy said most of the Russian missiles and drones were being shot down, reiterating an earlier statement by the Ukrainian military that it had downed 18 out of 33 cruise missiles launched from the air and sea on Saturday.
“Of course we don't yet have the technical ability to knock down 100 percent of the Russian missiles and strike drones. I am sure that, gradually, we will achieve that, with help from our partners," Zelenskyy said.
Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukraine's power stations, water supply systems, and other key infrastructure over the past two weeks.
The areas targeted by the latest strikes include Khmelnytskiy and Lutsk in the country’s west and the central city of Uman.
Khmelnytskiy, which was home to some 275,000 people before the war, was left with no electricity, shortly after local media reported several loud explosions on Saturday, regional officials said.
Uman, which had some 100,000 residents before the war, was also plunged into darkness after a rocket hit a nearby power station.
In Lutsk, a city of 215,000, electricity had been partially knocked out after Russian missiles slammed into local energy facilities, according to local officials.
Authorities in Khmelnytskiy and Lutsk urged residents to store water, “in case it’s also gone.”
Air strikes and power disruptions were also reported from Odesa in the south, the central city of Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia in the country’s southeast.
The national energy company, Ukrenerho, continued to urge all Ukrainians to conserve energy.
In his address later on Saturday, Zelenskyy said authorities had managed to restore power in multiple regions where electricity had been cut off as a result of the attack.
"The main target of the terrorists is energy," he said.
In the capital, Kyiv, and surrounding regions rolling blackouts came into effect on Saturday in response to the reduced power supplies.
Ukrainian officials said about 40% of the country's electric power system has been severely damaged since Russia increased attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.
Zelenskyy had earlier said 30% of Ukraine's power stations have been destroyed by Russian strikes since October 10.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal warned that the intensifying missile and drone strikes will create a new wave of refugees from Ukraine.
"If there is no more electricity, no more heating, no more water in Ukraine, this can trigger a new migration tsunami," he told the Sunday edition of Germany's broadsheet Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.