KYIV, Dec 10 (Reuters) – All non-critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s Odesa port was without power, leaving 1.5 million people without power after Russia used Iranian-made drones to strike two energy facilities, officials said on Saturday.
“The situation in the Odesa region is very difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his late-night video address.
“Unfortunately, the hits are critical, so it will take more than time to restore the electricity … It will not take hours, but a few days, unfortunately.”
Since October, Moscow has targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with a wave of missile and drone attacks.
Zelensky said Norway is sending $100 million to help restore Ukraine’s energy system.
Serhii Brachuk, a spokesman for Odesa’s regional administration, said electricity would be restored to the city’s population “in the coming days,” but the full restoration of networks could take two to three months.
Brachchuk, in a Facebook post earlier by the region’s administration, advised some people to consider evacuating, saying Ukraine’s security services were investigating “an element of hybrid warfare” from Russia.
That post has since been deleted.
“Not a single representative of the authorities of the region made any calls to evacuate residents of Odesa and the region,” Brachuk said.
Odesa had more than 1 million residents before the Feb. 24 invasion, which Russia called a “special military operation” to “denazify” its tiny neighborhood.
Kyiv says Russia has launched hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones at targets in Ukraine, describing the attacks as war crimes because of their devastating impact on civilian life. Moscow says its strikes are military legal and do not target civilians.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said two power facilities in the Odesa region were hit by Shahed-136 drones.
Ukraine’s armed forces said on Facebook that 15 drones were launched against targets in the southern regions of Odesa and Mykolaiv, and 10 were shot down.
Tehran has denied supplying drones to Moscow. Kyiv and its Western allies say that is a lie.
Iran’s military support to Russia, including the delivery of ballistic missiles, is likely to increase in the coming months, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.
Reporting by Max Hunder and David Ljunggren; Edited by Ross Russell, Daniel Wallis and William Mallard
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