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Russian Missile Strike Hits Apartments in Central Ukraine, Killing at Least 4: Live Updates

Residents in Kharkiv went without power for weeks last year.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said on Sunday that he believes Russia will renew its attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the fall and winter, saying his administration was taking steps to secure the power grid and calling for every city and village in the country to be prepared.

Russia turned the last winter into a brutal weapon — seeking to shatter Ukraine’s resistance to its invasion, it relentlessly bombed Ukrainian energy systems and forced millions of weary civilians to endure the bitter cold without light or heat. Daily life unraveled: Doctors performed surgeries by flashlight, residents waited in long lines for clean water, desperate families bundled up indoors and improvised space heaters to stay warm, sometimes resulting in fatal carbon monoxide poisonings.

Round-the-clock work by the country’s energy crews, as well as international support, helped the Ukrainian power grid survive the winter and resume producing surplus energy by the spring.

But Russia should be expected to once again weaponize the winter as colder weather approaches, Mr. Zelensky warned on Sunday.

“It is obvious that in the autumn and winter the enemy will try to repeat the terror against the Ukrainian energy sector,” Mr. Zelensky told regional and local authorities from across the country at a meeting in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Ukrainian officials, both at the federal level and in “each community, each city, each of our villages and towns,” must be prepared for the energy attacks to resume, Mr. Zelensky added.

Ukraine has already amassed roughly 80 percent of the gas and coal supplies it planned to gather in storage facilities ahead of the season, and is working to increase the capacity of the country’s power grid, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal of Ukraine told officials at the meeting.

The country is receiving $897 million in American aid, including funds for generators and transformers, and nearly $183 million in European aid through the Ukraine Energy Support Fund, Mr. Shmyhal added.

The head of the Ukrainian state power company, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, said at a news conference on Thursday that the utility was doing everything it could to prevent residents from having to turn to generators this winter. Still, it could not guarantee there would be no blackouts, Mr. Kudrytskyi said, encouraging residents to keep working generators on hand just in case.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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