Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy urge residents to be frugal with power use

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Nov. 22 (UPI) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged its citizens to be mindful of its energy use in light of Russia’s continued effort to knock out as much of the country’s civilian infrastructure during its 10-month invasion.

Zelensky made his comments Tuesday during his nightly broadcast to fellow Ukrainians. Kyiv has accused Moscow of an infrastructure campaign for more than a month to rob much of the country of electricity, clean water, natural gas and other civilian needs going into the usually harsh winter season.

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“Of course, energy workers, utility workers, rescuers and everyone involved are working at their maximum,” Zelensky said. “But the systemic damage to our energy sphere by the attacks of Russian terrorists is so significant that all our people and businesses should be very frugal and spread consumption by hours of the day.”

He said current electricity usage levels are forcing energy workers to conduct unscheduled shutdowns to keep the entire system going.

“Therefore, I would like to appeal to all representatives of regional authorities and local communities: please do not stop communicating about the rational consumption of electricity,” Zelensky said.

The United Nations’ Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Sunday it has verified 6,595 civilian deaths during Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, 415 of them being children.

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The Office said another 10,189 sustained injuries during the fighting. The OHCHR said the real number could be higher.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian government started preparing to evacuate many of the remaining residents in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions over civilian infrastructure concerns.

Ukraine‘s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called for the residents in those areas to move to the central and western parts of the country where most infrastructure services remained functional.

Kyiv was organizing transportation, accommodation and medical care for those willing to move. The urging of evacuations comes after Ukraine recaptured the city of Kherson a week ago. Kherson, though, remains close to the fighting frontline.

Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, said about half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed. He said that damage has put the health of all Ukrainians at risk.

“This is already having knock-on effects on the health system and on people’s health,” Kluge said in a statement. “Continued attacks on health and energy infrastructure mean hundreds of hospitals and health-care facilities are no longer fully operational — lacking fuel, water and electricity to meet basic needs.

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“Maternity wards need incubators; blood banks need refrigerators; intensive care beds need ventilators, and all require energy.”

More than 10 million Ukrainians have left the country entirely since the start of Russia’s invasion in February. Some 10 million who have stayed currently are living with no power as a result of Russian strikes on energy facilities.

“I want everyone to understand: Ukrainians will most likely have to live in a shutdown mode until at least the end of March,” Serhiy Kovalenko, CEO at Ukrainian power provider Yasno, said on Monday.