KHARKIV, Ukraine – First, the electricity went out. Then, in the Kharkiv regions, the taps dried up. Fire and smoke billowed through the streets.
The sudden counterattack of the Ukrainian army in the northeast of the country recaptured hundreds of square miles of territory, captured abandoned Russian military vehicles and entered strategically important towns. One Russian response was a series of long-range attacks on infrastructure far from the front, seemingly an attempt to dampen the Ukrainian army’s joy of victory.
Strikes don’t seem to have a direct effect on teamfights. For example, a missile attack on a power station on the edge of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is dozens of miles away from Ukrainian combat operations.
Ukrainian and US officials are calling the attacks retaliation for defeats on the battlefield, complicating the lives of tens of thousands of Ukrainians with power outages and water shortages. “Russia’s clear response to Ukraine’s liberation of cities and villages in the east: sending missiles to try to destroy critical civilian infrastructure,” said Bridget A. Brink, US Ambassador to Ukraine, wrote on Twitter.
An adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said that two cruise missiles hit elements of critical infrastructure in Kharkiv, including a large power plant, cutting power to the city. and some other areas. “The Russians want to leave us without light, water and heat,” he said in a statement on the messaging app Telegram.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, called the attack an act of revenge for Ukraine’s military advances. “This is a despicable and mocking revenge of the Russian aggressor for the successes of our troops at the front, especially in the Kharkiv region,” he said on Telegram.
Air strikes on the city, the provincial capital in which Ukraine’s military have achieved the most significant successes, killed at least one person on Monday, a 37-year-old man, and wounded six others. . Air raid sirens sounded, and every few hours there was a clacking of windows.
Electricity kept going on and off throughout the day in the city on Monday, but by evening officials said they had restored power to most residents who lost power the previous day.
Andriy, 41, whose apartment building was severely damaged in a rocket attack, said: “It’s not payback but just terrorism, pure terrorism.
“I don’t know why this happened, I just know I don’t have a home anymore,” said Vita, another resident of the building. She had been saving for years to buy the now demolished house, she said.
As the sun set on Monday during a pink and orange sunset over Kharkiv, a long line of people carrying plastic water bottles formed at a still-working faucet in a neighborhood. It was a small problem, said Dmytro, 26.
“I never thought of leaving the city, even when the Russian army was fighting in the suburbs,” he said. “And now that we’ve pushed them back, I’m definitely not leaving.”
In a speech to the nation on Sunday evening, Mr Zelensky criticized the Russian government for the strikes and said it would fail to convince the Ukrainian people to go to war.
“Read our lips,” he said. “No qi or no friends? Have no friend. No electricity or no friends? Have no friend. No water or no friends? Have no friend.”