Ukraine Situation Report: Russian Attacks On Power Plants Spur Emergency Actions

With Russian missile and drone strikes hitting nearly a third of his nation’s power plants, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday called an emergency meeting to figure out the best ways to protect the energy infrastructure and provide Ukrainians with power while his office ordered electricity supply restrictions starting Thursday.

Zelensky and Ukrainian officials discussed “necessary steps to eliminate the consequences in the event of a breakdown of the energy system of Ukraine,” Zelensky said on his Telegram channel. “We are working to create mobile power points for the critical infrastructure of cities, towns and villages.”

Providing power will become increasingly critical with the approach of the bitter Ukrainian winter, when temperatures average below freezing and often much lower further inland.

“We are preparing for various scenarios of possible consequences,” said Zelensky. “Ukraine will defend itself. No matter what the enemy plans and does.”

As a result of the attacks, Ukraine will introduce electricity supply restrictions across the country tomorrow, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelensky’s office, announced on his Telegram channel.

“Tomorrow…electricity supply restrictions will be introduced throughout Ukraine,” Tymoshenko said. “Today, the enemy again destroyed energy-generating facilities. Please take this seriously. Starting from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., it is necessary to minimize the use of electricity. This applies to residents of ALL regions of the country. If this is not done, you should prepare for temporary shutdowns. Also, from tomorrow, the use of street lighting will be limited in cities. These are forced steps. Therefore, we all work together on our front!”

The announcements from Kyiv came on a day when three more Ukrainian power plants were hit by Russian strikes.

The latest was in the Ivano-Frankivsk region in western Ukraine, where Svitalana Onyshchuk, the head of regional military administration, said the coal-fired power plant at Burshtyn had been hit, CNN reported.

“Unfortunately today our region came under missile attack. Our Burshtyn TPP [Thermal Power Plant] was hit today. As a result of the hit a fire started,” Onyshchuk wrote in a Facebook post.

“All emergency services are working on site. Thank God there are no casualties,” Onyshchuk added.

Earlier on Wednesday, officials in the Vinnytsia region in central Ukraine and the Kryvyi Rih district of the east-central Dnipropetrovsk region reported strikes on energy facilities, CNN reported.

Before we head into more from a busy day in Ukraine, The War Zone readers can get caught up on our previous rolling coverage here.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday introduced sweeping new martial laws across four Ukrainian regions that participated in sham referendums calling for them to be annexed by Russia.

The law, published on the Kremlin website, gives far far-reaching emergency powers to the Russian-installed heads of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson provinces, The Guardian reported.

Putin also ordered an “economic mobilization” in eight provinces bordering Ukraine, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. “Putin said he was granting additional authority to the leaders of all Russian provinces to maintain public order and increase production in support of Moscow’s war, which is entering its eighth month. The law also limits the freedom to move in and out of eight Russian provinces bordering Ukraine,” according to The Guardian.

Some of those authorities are already acting. Russian-installed officials in Kherson have started evacuating citizens from the region, the timing of which is somewhat peculiar considering it just finished its pontoon bridge spanning the banks of the Dnipro River, as you can read more about in our earlier report.

As Ukrainian forces push closer to Kherson City, officials in Kyiv say Russia is continuing to launch attacks in Bakhmut and Avdiiv in Donetsk, as well as in Kharkiv and Luhansk. Russia says it has blunted Ukrainian attempts to advance in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk.

In its latest assessment, the Institute for the Study of War said while Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast counteroffensive continues, there have been no major battlefield changes.

ISW offered several key takeaways:

  • Russian troops conducted a limited ground attack in northern Kharkiv Oblast, seemingly suggesting that Russian forces may retain territorial aspirations in Kharkiv Oblast despite massive losses during recent Ukrainian counteroffensives.
  • Belarus continues to provide its territory and airspace to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine but remains highly unlikely to enter the war on Russia’s behalf.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast to regain lost positions.
  • Russian sources stated that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations across the entire frontline in Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) and ammunition depots in central Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks near Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian authorities are struggling to cope with their reduced logistics capacity through Crimea following the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge.
  • Russian occupation authorities kidnapped Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) personnel, likely to strengthen physical control over the ZNPP’s operations.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that mobilization ended on October 17 in Moscow Oblast, and Russian civilians continue to express their dissatisfaction with Russian mobilization.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday shot down any suggestion that Israel will provide weaponry to Ukraine, but said his country will help Ukraine develop an air defense “early warning system.”

During a meeting with European Union (EU) ambassadors to Israel, Gantz said that “Israel is maintaining a policy of supporting Ukraine through humanitarian support and delivery of life-saving and defensive equipment,” Haaretz reported. “Israel will not transfer weapon systems to Ukraine for a variety of operational considerations.

As part of aiding Ukraine, Gantz continued, Israel asked Ukraine to send “data that would allow us to help construct and deliver a smart warning system like Israel has against aerial and other threats.”

Earlier Wednesday, Ukraine had officially submitted a request for a wide range of air and missile defense systems, including its Iron Beam, Barak-8, Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Patriot and Arrow systems.

Coincidentally, Israel has sent a version of the Barak system to the United Arab Emirates for the first time, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

The decision by Israel not to sell weapons to Ukraine is not playing well there, particularly because Iranian drones, like the Shahed-136 have been causing havoc. And Iranian officials have admitted they will sell Russia short-range ballistic missiles as well as more drones.

But former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also opposes the sale of Israeli weapons to Ukraine, said the issue is one of concern that they could fall into the hands of Iranians and be used against Israel. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp is reportedly already in Crimea, training Russians on how to use its drones.

Meanwhile, air raid sirens continued to go off across Ukraine Wednesday as Russia continued its missile and drone barrage.

Ukraine, however, continues to defend back against Russia’s aerial attacks, claiming several kills against Iranian-made drones, including in this case a Buk air defense system apparently taking out an Iranian Shahed-136 drone. There is also evidence that the German-built IRIS-T SLM air defense system is now active near Kyiv.

Ukraine continues using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) system to great effect, in this case apparently destroying a Russian BM-27 Uragan multiple launch rocket system transport and loading vehicle.

Ukraine is also destroying Russian troop concentrations as well.

Contributions from Russia, meanwhile, continue to flow in, like this rare KAMAZ-43269 Vystrel armored personnel carrier captured in the Kherson Oblast. According to the Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group, it is only the second documented Russian loss of a Vystrel.

Ukraine is also continuing to add to its tank collection, capturing another T-62MV and a T-62M in Kherson Oblast, according to Ukraine Weapons Tracker.

Along with liberating villages in Kherson, Ukraine captured or damaged a T-62 main battle tank, and destroyed an armored personnel carrier and a  ZU-23-2 23mm autocannon.

Putin’s mobilization effort continues to not go so well, with parents of reservists complaining that their children are being “abandoned like dogs” with “no ammunition, no food, not water,” according to author Chris Owen.

Though Moscow’s mayor announced the mobilization there was over Monday, apparently local residents are still worried about future efforts, according to New York Times Russia and Ukraine correspondent Valerie Hopkins.

The mobilization has apparently left a dearth of men in the Russian capital, Hopkins reports.

Things don’t seem to be going much better for the troops of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, referred to by Ukrainians derisively as Kadyrovites.

Despite those woes, Russia continues to inflict damage on Ukrainian civilians and troops, including from the sea.

A Russian anti-tank guided missile struck a group of Ukrainian soldiers near Gorlovka in the Donetsk Oblast, according to the pro-Russian LogKa milblogger.

We will continue to update this story until we state otherwise.

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Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard’s work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.