Iran is likely to step up its backing for Russia’s military, according to the UK government, as the Kremlin seeks to expand missile strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 1.5 million people in the Odesa region lost power after Russian strikes with Iranian-made drones Saturday night.
NATO’s chief civilian warned of the risk that other European countries might be dragged into a “full-fledged” war. The city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region has been destroyed, Zelenskiy said earlier.
More than 1.5 million lose power in Odesa area
More than 1.5 million people were without power in the Odesa area after Russian attacks with Iranian-made drones, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
“Unfortunately the hits were critical, so it takes more than just a period of time to restore electricity,” he said in his nightly video address. “It doesn’t take hours, but a few days. The power system is now, to put it mildly, very far from a normal state.”
Kyiv and eight regions, from Lviv in the west to Sumy in the northeast, have the most widespread blackouts, Zelenskiy said. “Energy facilities are hit almost every day,” he said.
Ukraine urges Red Cross to help war prisoners
Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, met with Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in Kyiv.
He urged the Red Cross to help ensure the rights of Ukraine’s prisoners of war, to ensure medical help is provided to them and to make every effort that Russians “stop using forceful methods of influence on captured Ukrainians.”
Yermak was accompanied by relatives of prisoners of war captured by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine, the president’s office said in a statement.
Duolingo sees spike in people learning Ukrainian
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, over 1.3 million people around the world took up learning Ukrainian in a show of solidarity, language app company Duolingo said. Interest soared in the weeks after the invasion began, peaking in late March and remaining steady for the rest of 2022.
Ukrainian was the fastest-growing language in countries far away from the conflict, including Argentina, Japan, and Vietnam, and among Ukraine’s neighbors as well.
NATO chief warns of Russia-NATO war risk
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said there’s “no doubt that a full-fledged war is a possibility,” according to the Associated Press.
He told Norwegian broadcaster NRK in an interview that the conflict in Ukraine could “go horribly wrong” and spoke of the need to avoid dragging other European countries into a war.
“We are working on that every day to avoid that,” AP quoted Stoltenberg as saying.
Russian drone attacks cause widespread power failure in Odesa
Russian troops attacked energy facilities in the Odesa region with single-use Iranian-made drones, causing significant damage and leaving thousands of people without electricity, local authorities said on Facebook. Rocket attacks targeted settlements in Sumy and Zaporizhzhia as well as southern region of Kherson, killing at least two people and wounding eight.
Ukraine’s air defense said on Facebook it shot down 10 out of 15 Iranian-made loitering drones over the southern regions of Kherson, Mykoaiv and Odesa. No casualties were reported, though residential buildings were also damaged.
“The situation is quite difficult as power was cut in Odesa and almost the whole region,” Bratchuk said. Only hospitals, maternity wards and critical facilities have electricity.