Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has blamed attacks by “Russian terrorists” for sweeping electricity cuts across east of the country, accusing Moscow of deliberately targeting civilian infrastructure.
Zelenskiy said Russian forces were responsible for “a total blackout in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, a partial one in the Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions”.
“No military facilities,” he said in a statement on social media. “The goal is to deprive people of light and heat.”
The blackouts affected regions with an estimated combined population of nine million people, including territory controlled by Russia.
The loss of power came as Ukrainian forces claimed to have recaptured dozens of towns and villages in eastern Ukraine.
Officials in the Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava regions announced that power had been restored after a short time.
Train services throughout the east also experiences major disruption.
Senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said that the Kharkiv CHPP-5 electricity station was among the facilities hit.
Footage distributed from an attack in Kharkiv by Kyrylo Tymoshenko in the Ukrainian presidential administration showed emergency services fighting to tackle a large fire at an industrial site.
Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said the Russian attacks were an “act of desperation following Russia’s immense losses and retreat in eastern Ukraine.”