Ukrainians suffer in cold, darkness as president implores UN to punish Russia

KYIV, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy demanded the United Nations punish Russian air strikes on civilian infrastructure, after a missile barrage caused the worst nationwide power outages yet, plunging cities into freezing darkness.
With millions of Ukrainians enduring below zero temperatures at home, authorities were working hard on Thursday to get the lights and heat back on. Russia’s latest missile barrage killed 10 people, shut down Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and knocked out most power nationwide.
By Thursday morning, regional authorities in Kyiv said power had been restored to three quarters of the capital and water was working again in some areas. Transport was back up and running in the capital, with buses replacing electric trams.
Authorities hoped to restart the three nuclear power plants in Ukrainian-held territory by the end of the day.
Since early October, Russia has launched huge barrages of air strikes around once a week at energy targets across Ukraine, each time firing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of missiles to knock out Ukraine’s power grid.
Moscow acknowledges attacking basic infrastructure, saying its aim is to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and push it to negotiate. Kyiv says such attacks are clearly intended to harm civilians, making them a war crime.
“Today is just one day, but we have received 70 missiles. That’s the Russian formula of terror. This is all against our energy infrastructure,” Zelenskiy said overnight via video link to the U.N. Security Council chamber.
“Hospitals, schools, transport, residential districts all suffered,” he said, calling on the United Nations to act to halt the attacks.
There was no prospect of action from the Security Council, where Russia wields a veto. Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, said it was against council rules for Zelenskiy to appear via video, and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.
In an overnight address to Ukrainians, Zelenskiy said: “We’ll renew everything and get through all of this because we are an unbreakable people.”
Ukraine says it is shooting down most of the missiles and restoring most power within a day, but that each such assault causes worse damage and greater hardship for civilians.
“If Moscow really believes that power outage will make Ukrainians overthrow government and beg for mercy, then after nine months of war Kremlin still does not know a damn thing about Ukraine,” tweeted Zelenskiy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak.
“Each new attack only strengthens our character.”
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