Credit…Brendan Hoffman for The Sunday Review

Ukraine is grappling with energy supply problems as Moscow relentlessly takes aim at the country’s infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine says — a crisis that is taking on increased urgency as temperatures drop into the 30s Fahrenheit and winter closes in.

Nearly half of Ukraine’s energy grid has been knocked out by recent Russian missile strikes.

Russia seems to be trying to make winter more difficult for Ukrainian troops and civilians, in an attempt to reduce morale.

Late Friday, Mr. Zelensky addressed the nation and stated that 17 of them faced an a “difficult situation with energy supply,” However, he said that workers from the energy utility were working to restore power. He also stated that there were fewer emergency shut downs on that day.

Russia’s aerial attacks on the energy grid come as Moscow’s forces have been pulling back to the east side of the Dnipro River, across from the city of Kherson, on the southern front and digging in for the winter, according to Britain’s defense intelligence agency. Russian forces left behind a trail of destruction, leaving little food, water, and power.

Mr. Zelensky stated that officials had established centers in Kherson where people could charge their phones or warm up.

“We know that it is very difficult for people, because the occupiers destroyed everything before fleeing,” He said. “But we will connect everything, restore everything.”

Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, noted on Friday that on Tuesday alone Russia had fired 100 missiles at Ukrainian cities, hitting vulnerable points in the grid, like power plants and substations.

“Almost half of our energy systems has been taken out of service,” He spoke at a news conference together with a visiting official of the European Commission. He described Russia’s strategy as “fighting against the civilian population and depriving them of light, water supply, heat and communications during the winter.”

Credit…Emile Ducke The Sunday Review

The United Nations has said that the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system could cause a humanitarian disaster.

Mr. Shmyhal stated that Ukraine required more support from its European allies in order to help its energy sector weather the winter. He also suggested money to buy gas and equipment.

His estimate that nearly half of the grid has been disabled was higher than an assessment given by Mr. Zelensky on Nov. 1, when the president said that 30 to 40 percent of the country’s critical energy infrastructure had been damaged in waves of drone and missile strikes. Since then, Russia has carried out further attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

Utility workers are in a race against the clock, trying to repair the system while supplies run out and Moscow continues to strike.