Kharkiv, which is Ukraine's second largest city and is the biggest population center closest to Russia's border, has been plunged into total darkness Sunday night amid alleged Russian attacks on key infrastructure sites, including large power stations.
"The center of Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv was plunged into darkness on Sunday evening by an electricity blackout," Reuters has confirmed of the large-scale outage. It's further being reported that some city districts are also without water, creating a severe crisis for residents.
"The cause and extent of the blackout in the northeastern city were not immediately clear. There were also unconfirmed social media reports of blackouts in other places and regions," the report said initially.
However, Ukrainian officials are pointing to stepped up and deliberate Russian attacks on civilian electrical facilities crucial to the city's operations. They are viewing it as punishment for the at this point largely successful Ukrainian military counteroffensive which has regained at least 40 towns and villages to the north and east of Kharkiv.
President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a brief statement to social media along with footage of destroyed infrastructure, denouncing "Deliberate and cynical missile strikes on civilian, critical infrastructure." He stressed they were not "military facilities" that were attacked. "Kharkiv and Donetsk regions were cut off. In Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy there are partial problems with power supply."
Zelensky just posted this video with brief statement: “Deliberate and cynical missile strikes on civilian, critical infrastructure. No military facilities. Kharkiv and Donetsk regions were cut off. In Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy there are partial problems with power supply.” pic.twitter.com/8BullYcdAr— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) September 11, 2022
The governor of the eastern Kharkiv region said that both electricity and water supplies had been disrupted Sunday, citing ongoing Russian attacks on "critical infrastructure" had disrupted electricity and water.
Additionally, a top Ukraine offical of the Dnipropetrovsk region blamed the Russian military for hitting "energy infrastructure" - calling it retaliation for "defeat on the battlefield."
⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data show a major internet disruption in #Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine; the incident is attributed to a Russian strike on TEC-5 thermal power plant as Ukrainian forces recover Russian-occupied territory 📉— NetBlocks (@netblocks) September 11, 2022
📰 Background: https://t.co/S0qJQ7CbNv pic.twitter.com/5sXDAwjbS7
Global network monitoring site NetBlocks also confirmed a mass disruption in internet access across Kharkiv oblast, citing a "Russian strike on TEC-5 thermal power plant" amid pro-Moscow forces being pushed back.