Vitali Klitschko says the Ukrainian capital may experience power outages until spring 2023
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko has warned there may be a partial evacuation of the Ukrainian capital, as the authorities expect more blackouts well into next year. Over the past several weeks, Russian missile strikes have significantly battered the country's power grid.
In an interview with media outlet RBK-Ukraine published on Monday, Klitschko said that following the latest Russian missile strikes on Wednesday, the Kiev authorities managed to restore water supplies and ensure that all residential buildings were being heated by Saturday morning. The power for most homes was also largely restored within a few days, the official said.
However, despite the authorities' efforts to prevent a massive, city-wide power outage, the city is "preparing for various scenarios."
When asked by journalists to comment on reports in the German media about evacuation contingency plans, Klitschko replied: "I don't rule out the worst scenario. There won't be a complete evacuation - maybe a partial one, but you can't really call it an evacuation." He explained that this would be a "temporary relocation of certain categories of people to the outskirts where there might be services."
The mayor, however, renewed calls for people to move to their summer houses "where there is water, a fireplace."
Klitschko also acknowledged that while the authorities in Kiev hope to restore damaged energy infrastructure in a matter of weeks with the help of Western equipment, "we should be prepared for the fact that outages could continue until the spring."
Last Wednesday, Russia's permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, claimed that "damage to residential buildings and civilian casualties are really happening because of the Ukrainian air defenses, which are deployed not in cities' suburbs, but rather in [city] centers."
He went on to cite as an example a missile strike on a residential building in the city of Vyshgorod earlier that same day, which claimed the lives of seven civilians, leaving dozens more injured.
Nebenzia claimed that the building had been hit with "American air defense missiles supplied to Kiev."
Russian officials have made similar claims before, suggesting that it was mostly faulty Ukrainian air defense missiles that caused civilian casualties.
Following the latest round of aerial bombardment in Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry insisted that it had not struck any targets in Kiev.
The Kremlin stated that Russian forces only hit targets that are connected with Ukraine's military capabilities.