The Russian strikes caused massive blackouts in various parts of Ukraine, affecting more than a million people.
On Saturday, officials in several regions reported attacks on energy facilities and outages as engineers struggled to restore the network. The inhabitants were invited by the governors to supply themselves with water.
Since October 10, Moscow has crippled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, affecting at least half of the country’s thermal power generation and up to 40% of the entire system.
Moscow has admitted targeting energy infrastructure but denies targeting civilians.
The latest round of missile attacks knocked out power to more than a million people, presidential adviser Kyrylo Tymoshenko said.
Parts of Kyiv suffered power cuts in the evening, and a city official warned that strikes could leave the capital without electricity or heating for “several days or weeks”.
As the war threatens to enter its ninth month, with winter approaching, there are fears that Ukrainians could freeze to death if energy supplies are cut off.
In his evening speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Russian attacks had struck on a “very large” scale. He promised that his army would improve its already good record of missile destruction with the help of its partners.
Moscow fears ‘dirty bomb’
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday for the second time in three days and held a series of calls with three other counterparts from the countries of the NATO.
Moscow did not provide any details of the conversation with Mr Austin, which took place after the pair spoke on Friday for the first time since May. According to a Pentagon reading, the call came at the request of Mr. Shoigu.
“Secretary Austin rejected any pretense for Russian escalation and reaffirmed the value of continued communication amid Russia’s illegal and unwarranted war on Ukraine,” the Pentagon said.
Mr. Austin spoke with Mr. Shoigu on Friday to “emphasize” the need to “maintain lines of communication in the ongoing war against Ukraine,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Russian Defense Ministry said of Mr Shoigu’s call with French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu: “They discussed the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ukraine.”
“It tends towards a further uncontrolled escalation,” he said.
Mr. Lecornu also said he spoke to Mr. Shoigu on Sunday. Mr Shoigu told him of the Kremlin’s fears that Ukraine would use a “dirty bomb” on Russian territory.
He said he told Mr Shoigu that France would not allow itself to be drawn into any form of escalation in Ukraine, particularly with regard to nuclear options. He said France wanted to see a peaceful resolution to the war and that he planned to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart soon.
Previous Russian claims that Ukraine may resort to the use of banned weapons such as biological weapons have raised concerns in the West that Moscow may be preparing to stage ‘false flag’ attacks and blame them on Kyiv.
Shoigu also held talks with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and British Defense Minister Ben Wallace.
Britain said Mr Wallace had ‘refuted’ Mr Shoigu’s claims that Western countries were facilitating a plan by Kyiv to escalate the conflict.
Residents of Kherson said “hang on”
Civilians continued to flee the Russian-occupied city of Kherson on Sunday.
Footage filmed in secret showed people carrying bags preparing to board a passenger boat on the Dnipro River.
Russian authorities in the area urged people to leave the city.
In a message posted on Telegram, the occupation authorities said that “due to the tense situation at the front, the increased danger of heavy bombardment of the city and the threat of terrorist attacks, all civilians must immediately leave the city and cross to the [east] bank of the Dnipro!
Residents arrived in the town of Oleshky across the river, laden with boxes, bags and pets.
A woman said she ‘really didn’t want to’ leave Kherson where she worked, but said the situation changed her mind.
“We wanted to stay here in the area, but now we don’t know,” she added.
The Ukrainian army said it continued to win on the battlefield as its troops moved south through the Kherson region. The army said it recaptured at least two villages it said had been abandoned by Russian soldiers.
Kherson connects Ukraine to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on Telegram: “Kherson region! Just a little more. Hang on. The Ukrainian armed forces are at work.
Russian fighter jet crashes
A Russian military plane crashed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on Sunday, killing both pilots, officials said.
It was the second such fatal incident in six days involving a Sukhoi fighter jet.
In a message on Telegram, Irkutsk Governor Igor Kobzev said the plane crashed into a two-story house in the city. He posted a video showing firefighters climbing the wreckage and aiming water jets at the still-smoldering rubble.
No one on the ground was injured, the governor said.
Officials said the plane was a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter on a test flight. Last Monday, a Sukhoi Su-34 crashed into an apartment building in the southern city of Yeysk, near Ukraine, and at least 15 people were killed.
Videos of Sunday’s incident shared on social media showed the plane dove almost vertically before crashing into a ball of fire, sending thick black smoke into the sky.
The Russian State Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal investigation into violations of aviation safety rules.
Ukraine’s last war – in pictures
Updated: October 23, 2022, 7:33 p.m.