Russia blew up Ukrainian power plants overnight in a ‘coward’s revenge’ for a humiliating rout of its armies in the east of the country, as Kyiv’s men chased Putin’s forces back across the border.
Electrical stations in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk were struck late Sunday, plunging around a third of the country into darkness, while other missiles blew up water supply networks. Three people died in the explosions.
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to President Zelensky, said the attacks were a coward’s response to the escape of [Russia’s] own army from the battlefield’ after a stunning weekend offensive by the Ukrainian military saw Kremlin forces retreat in disarray from the entirety of the Kharkiv region.
Videos emerged online Sunday and Monday appeared to show Ukrainian troops seizing unguarded border checkpoints – stamping on Russian flags while raising their own over the crossings.
President Zelensky condemned what he called ‘terrorist’ strikes on power plants designed to deprive civilians of heat and light, while vowing Russia would never break the spirit of the Ukrainian people.
‘Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst – for us not as scary and deadly as your ‘friendship and brotherhood’,’ he wrote on social media. ‘History will put everything in place. And we will be with gas, lights, water… and WITHOUT you!’
Russian missiles struck Ukraine’s power plants overnight, plunging around a third of the country into darkness
Firefighters tackle a blaze at Kharkiv’s largest power station – one of the largest in Ukraine – after it was hit by Russian missiles
Ukraine says Russia attacked civilian targets overnight as ‘revenge’ for its military suffering a humiliating rout in the east
Videos have emerged appearing to show Ukrainian troops at Russian border crossings, having chased Putin’s troops all the way back into their own country (left and right)
Ukrainian troops raise their flag at a border crossing with Russia – reportedly in the village of Strilecha, north of Kharkiv – after troops in the region fled in the face of a counter-attack
Ukraine’s counter-attack in the east has caused the Russian frontline to collapse, with Britain saying commanders appear to have ordered a retreat from the whole of the Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, in the south, Ukraine says some Russian troops stuck west of the Dnipro River are trying to negotiate their surrender
Meanwhile Nataliya Humenyuk – spokesman for Ukraine’s southern military command – said some Russian troops stranded west of the Dnipro River were trying to negotiate their surrender this morning.
Ukraine has also been attacking in this region, slowly but steadily pushing Putin’s men back towards the city of Kherson with the aim of re-taking it.
A report by British intelligence on Monday morning said: ‘In the face of Ukrainian advances, Russia has likely ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the entirety of occupied Kharkiv [region].
‘Isolated pockets of resistance remain in this sector, but since Wednesday, Ukraine has recaptured territory at least twice the size of Greater London.
‘In the south, near Kherson, Russia is likely struggling to bring sufficient reserves forward across the Dnipro River to the front line.
‘An improvised floating bridge Russia started over two weeks ago remains incomplete; Ukrainian long-range artillery is now probably hitting crossings of the Dnipro so frequently that Russia cannot carry out repairs to damaged road bridges.
‘The rapid Ukrainian successes have significant implications for Russia’s overall operational design. The majority of the force in Ukraine is highly likely being forced to prioritise emergency defensive actions.
‘The already limited trust deployed troops have in Russia’s senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further.’
Russia’s defence ministry has attempted to play off the defeat as a ‘regrouping’ of troops from the cities of Balakliya and Izyum to nearby Donetsk in order to ‘boost efforts in the area’.
But typically pro-Russia military bloggers and allies of the Kremlin reacted with fury, with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov vowing to make the situation plain to military chiefs and the government.
‘They have made mistakes and I think they will draw the necessary conclusions,’ Kadyrov said.
‘If they don’t make changes in the strategy of conducting the special military operation in the next day or two, I will be forced to contact the leadership of the Defense Ministry and the leadership of the country to explain the real situation on the ground.’
President Zelensky vowed that energy shocks, blackouts, attacks on water and food supplies will not break the will of the Ukrainian people to resist Russia’s invasion
A third of Ukraine was left without electricity overnight after Russia struck power stations with missiles, in apparent revenge for its latest military humiliation
Firefighters tackle flames at Kharkiv’s largest power station after it was blown up in a Russian missile strike overnight Sunday
Fire crews dampen flames at one of Ukraine’s largest power stations after it was damaged by a Russian missile strike overnight
Petro Kuzyk, a commander whose troops participated in the offensive, told the Financial Times that the Russians fled so fast that meals were still laid out on tables when his men arrived.
‘We hoped for success but didn’t expect such cowardly behaviour,’ he said. ‘They abandoned their tanks and equipment . . . even grabbed bicycles to escape.
‘That the Russian army is completely degraded made our work easier; they fled like Olympic sprinters.’
The sensational Kharkiv counter-attack has been hailed by analysts as one of the greatest counter-offensives in modern history which would be studied for years to come.
It leaves Russia’s forces across the entire eastern front at risk of being routed, piles pressure on troops fighting a second Ukrainian counter-attack in the south, and leaves Vladimir Putin facing the risk of total defeat in Ukraine.
In the midst of the power cuts, Zelensky told Putin: ‘Even through the impervious darkness Ukraine and the civilized world clearly see these terrorist acts.
‘Deliberate and cynical missile strikes on civilian critical infrastructure. Not a single military facility.
‘Do you still think we are one people? Do you still think you can intimidate, break us, make us into action? Do you really not understand anything?
‘Don’t understand who we are? What are we for? What are we talking about? Read my lips: Without gas or without you? Without you.
‘Without light or without you? Without you.
‘Without water or without you? Without you.
‘Without food or without you? Without you.
‘Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst – for us not as scary and deadly as your ‘friendship and brotherhood.’
‘But history will put everything in place. And we will have gas, lights, water and food.. and WITHOUT you!’
Smoke rises over power stations on Kharkiv’s outskirts after attacks by Russian which were braded a ‘coward’s revenge’ for its latest battlefield humiliation
Ukraine says power was restored just a few hours after the strikes, as Zelesnky vowed the attacks will not break the morale of his people
Videos show strikes which plunged almost one third of Ukraine into darkness from power cuts.
Footage highlighted a strike on a key power plant in Kharkiv region, and more showed the city’s underground train system at standstill.
Flames were seen at a power plant in Vilnohirsk, Dnipropetrovsk region.
US ambassador to Kyiv Bridget Brink, denounced the strikes calling them Putin’s ‘apparent response to Ukraine liberating cities and villages in the east’.
Russia had used missile strikes ‘to attempt to destroy critical civilian infrastructure.’
The attacks struck the largest thermal power plants in eastern and central Ukraine – Kharkovskaya and Zmievskaya in Kharkiv region, leading to a lack of generating capacity, according to Russian sources.
The plants provide central heading to Ukrainian homes, meaning the attack was aimed at harming civilians.
‘The collapse of the power system has spread to the networks of Kharkiv, Sumy, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Odessa regions,’ said Rybar pro-war channel.
‘It also affected the areas of Donetsk regions controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Kyiv region and the capital of the country.’
Electric trains stopped ‘almost all over the country’, and in Poltava several trolleybuses caught fire right on the streets, claimed Rybar pro-war Telegram channel which echoed demands from other hardliners for more savage attacks.
A counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces has seen troops push to within 30 miles of the border, amid reports panicked Russian troops have been abandoning tanks, weapons and supplies
A Ukrainian soldier passes by a Russian tank damaged in a battle in a just freed territory on the road to Balakleya in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine
Ukrainian troops stand in a group, amid Russia’s invasion of the country, at a location given as Hoptivka, Ukraine in this picture obtained from social media and released on September 11
‘This measure is a good signal for hotheads making loud statements against the background of the success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region.
‘So the impact on the critical infrastructure of the enemy must continue.
‘And not only at substations and thermal power plants, but also at bridges across the Dnieper.’
In the worst defeat for Moscow’s forces since being ousted from the outskirts of Kyiv in March, thousands of Russian soldiers left behind ammunition and equipment as they fled Izium city, used by Putin’s forces as a logistics hub.
Putin propagandist Margarita Simonyan posted: ‘What happened to your energy and light, neighbours?
Russian state TV propagandists started a blame game over the failure of the war amid the crushing defeat in Kharkiv region.
Former MP Boris Nadezhdin bluntly told viewers: ‘People who convinced President Putin that the special operation will be fast and effective [and] we won’t strike the civilian population, we’ll come in, and our National Guard…. will bring things to order — these people really set all of us up.’