Ukraine said Friday, Nov. 17, that thousands of people living in towns and villages near the frontline had been left without electricity by recent Russian strikes on energy facilities.

President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters this week that Russian forces were likely stockpiling missiles for systemic strikes on his country's electricity grid during winter.

The energy ministry said in a statement that the frontline regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson in the south had been hardest hit by recent outages.

"As a result of shelling in Kherson city, more than 28,000 consumers were cut off," it said, without specifying when the outages occurred in the city routinely shelled by Russian forces.

"Almost 3,000 consumers were left without electricity in the region over the past day due to shelling," it added.

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In the eastern Donetsk region, which the Kremlin claimed to have annexed last year along with three other regions -- including Kherson -- the energy ministry said fighting had left dozens of places without electricity.

"As a result of the shelling, an overhead line was damaged, and the city of Kostyantynivka was cut off. In total, 122 settlements remain without electricity in the region," it said.

In the Kharkiv region, which borders Russia, the energy ministry said the building of a private energy distributor had been hit by shelling and that 17,600 consumers had lost power.

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Systemic Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy grid last year left millions with disrupted heating and lighting, prompting Kyiv to request more air defence systems from Western allies.

Zelensky told reporters this week that the country had a better aerial defence network this year compared to last, but warned that Ukraine did not have "100 percent protection."

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