Ukrainian officials were in defiant mood on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in the face of a possible new wave of Russian missile strikes, as officials nationwide announced preparations for renewed Kremlin attacks against the national power grid.
“Is there anything else you can scare us with?” said Yuriy Ihnat, senior Ukraine Air Force spokesman, in comments to media. “I want to remind you that we already experienced the worst in February-March, when hundreds of missiles flew at our heads every day. We’ve all seen it, how can we still scare something? This is (Russian) terrorism. Sometimes they use missiles, somewhere less. (In any case) the Air Force is ready to repel air attacks.”
Ukraine’s national electricity company DTEK said on Tuesday it would implement unplanned cut offs of power across the country, against widespread warnings of Russian missile strikes in coming hours or days.
The national power utility had only two hours previously announced that its technicians had finally completed repairs of all damage from a wave of missile strikes on Wednesday, Nov. 23, which left tens of millions of Ukrainians without electricity in the dark for 48-60 hours.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said in a Monday evening television interview that Ukraine would not allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to browbeat citizens, and that the holiday tradition of setting up “the national Christmas tree” in the capital’s central Maidan Square would take place as in the past.
Power shortages and electricity cuts are likely to continue throughout the winter, and Kyiv residents able to do so should move out of the city to rural villages with wood-burning heating, or go to live with relatives outside Ukraine, he said.
Ukrainian social media on Tuesday morning was widely predicting renewed Russian missile strikes in the coming hours or days. The military-focused Reala Voina channel reported, without offering evidence, the attacks would come over two days in waves of 200 missiles each. The power grid themed Trokha channel said the strikes would put Ukraine in blackout for at least two or three days.
Yevhen Karas, a high-profile Ukrainian political analyst, reported at midday that RF bombers had lifted off from a base in south-west Russia. He did not specify if the aircraft were training or readying a strike.
Some Ukrainian information platforms cautioned against panic. The usually-reliable Spravdi channel wrote “Rumors of a super-powerful missile strike being prepared by Russia. It’s not worth it to believe the rumors and panic. The Russians definitely can be getting ready to launch another massed strike on Ukraine…but the air defense forces are ready and they will do everything to defend the sky.”
Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat in Monday comments said the Russian military is running out of missiles, but is nonetheless likely to launch strikes aimed at Ukraine’s power grid at roughly weekly intervals, depending on the weather and missile readiness.