Two cities in Ukraine have lost their electricity and the Ukrainian government is ready to assist residents. and There are fears that the heating infrastructure could be in danger of becoming a humanitarian disaster as winter approaches inOfficials said this over the weekend.

Even though evacuations are being planned for the southern cities, Kherson and Mykolaiv It was just the beginning. However, more immediate concerns emerged on Sunday when at most a dozen shells exploded at a major nuclear plant. in It was the same region. International atomic energy authorities compared the shelling to “playing with fire.”

As Ukraine Be prepared for a challenging winter ahead in Cities on the frontline and The true cost of fighting in the past eight months became more apparent across the country.

The country’s prosecutor general reported on Sunday that some 437 children were now believed to be among the more than 8,300 civilians killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine Begin in February. The true death toll from Russian-occupied territories is unlikely to be lower, as there is not much reliable information, according to Andriy Kostin the prosecutor general. He said that more than 11,000 civilians were injured.

With Russia’s unrelenting bombardment of critical infrastructure, officials across the country are worried about how to help Ukrainians fare in Winters can be difficult because it is hard to get even the most basic necessities. But in KhersonThe authorities in Kiev say that many people may have to flee the city they found when the Ukrainian soldiers pushed out the Russian occupiers just over a week earlier.

Heat can be obtained from running water. and Precarious electricity in The newly liberated city Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that in The government will soon begin helping those who are wishing to move. However, she stressed that residents can decide for themselves whether they want to stay or leave.

“Currently, we are not talking about forced evacuation,” She said. “But even in the case of voluntary evacuation, the state bears responsibility for transportation. People must be taken to the place where they will spend the winter.”

In the days after Russian forces retreated Kherson and After Ukrainian forces invaded the city, the government scrambled for an assessment of the humanitarian situation and It is essential to rebuild infrastructure and restore basic services. As the temperatures drop, power traces have returned. in The city in recent days.

Speaking Saturday in The port city of MykolaivIt is located approximately 40 miles to the northwest KhersonMs. Vereshchuk stated that the government would also assist residents in their evacuation. Mykolaiv Russian missile strikes are frequent targets of this country. and She said that residents in both cities asked for safer places.

Many of those who are still around are either older or more infirm.

Even before Ukrainian forces took over the city, thousands of civilians were still occupying it. Kherson. Then, as the city was slipping through Russia’s fingers and Russian forces prepared to retreat, the occupation government said residents should leave for territory still under Moscow’s control east of the Dnipro River or into Russia itself.

The city has been shelled by Russian forces on its east bank. and The area is rife with landmines. Local officials warned of the possibility of Russian attacks on the area, including targeting civilians. and As if to underline the point, a rocket flew into an oil storage facility on Saturday night. in KhersonThis ignited a massive fire and emitted black smoke across the city.

Yaroslav Yanushevych was the head Kherson Regional military administration said that 80 tons of humanitarian aid were being delivered to the city by aid agencies on Sunday. It also includes thousands of hygiene products and Blankets, generators, water and Winter clothing for children. A video was posted by Mr. Yanushevych on his social media accounts showing eight ambulances which were delivered to the city from the Ministry of Health.

You can find the Zaporizhzhia area, approximately 175 miles northeast Kherson On Sunday, reports indicated that at least 12 shells were exploding at Zaporizhzhia’s power plant on the Dnipro River. The strike on the facility, which is the largest nuclear power plant in the world, was reported by the Dnipro River. in Europe’s equipment was damaged. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency called the shelling “extremely disturbing.”

Russian and Ukrainian nuclear energy authorities each blamed the other side’s forces for the strikes, the latest to hit a plant where a number of incidents in Recent months have raised alarm about the possibility of a nuclear accident. Russian forces are currently occupying the plant.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately,” Rafael Mariano Grossi is the director general of U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency. in a statement. “As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”

Water storage tanks were damaged by shelling. A steam purge system was installed to replace them. and Energoatom is another equipment Ukraine’s state nuclear company, said in A post on Telegram’s messaging app.

Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosenergoatom, blamed Ukraine’s military for the shelling. An adviser to the company’s director general, Renat Karchaa, told the state-owned Russian news agency Tass that 15 shells had landed, and A building where nuclear fuel is kept was struck.

“Any artillery strikes at a nuclear power plant jeopardize nuclear safety,” Mr. Karchaa said.

All of the reactors have been turned off to ensure safety. The extent of the damage to facilities was not immediately known.

After weeks of calm at the plant, U.N. nuke agency said that Sunday’s shelling was the latest. Grossi has renewed his appeals to make the plant a demilitarized area. He has had talks with the Russians in recent weeks. and Ukrainian leaders promote the plan but with no apparent success.

Power has suffered significant damage in the Zaporizhzhia Region. and Gas infrastructure and According to the regional military administration, thousands of people in dozens of communities were without heat or electricity by Sunday. in Make a statement.

Major concerns about the country’s power grid, though, extend far beyond the southern and Eastern parts of the country have been the focus of fighting. Russian forces have launched numerous missile strikes on the infrastructure in these areas. Ukraine Since mid-October

Oleksandr Kharchenko is the director of Energy Industry Research Center in UkraineAccording to, a string of strikes that occurred last week left the national grid severely damaged. and The authorities were aware “not yet had time to restore it to the level” If there were more attacks, the country would be able not to experience widespread blackouts.

“It’s hard on morale when you work, recover it, and they hit it again and again,” He said this at a Sunday news briefing. “However, the recovery works continue.”

According to Mr. Kharchenko, the situation is improving every hour. He said that the country still needs to be stable for 10 to 12 more days. “to restore stability of the grid so that we could look more confidently at the next attacks.”

There is no stopping the fighting in sight and The government is urging Ukrainians living outside Ukraine not to return due to the dropping temperatures. More than 7.8 million People have fled. Ukraine According to the United Nations refugee agency the largest displacement of people has occurred since February in Europe since World War II.

On Saturday, the head Ukraine’s biggest private energy firm, DTEK, said that others should consider leaving the country to reduce the demand on the power network.

“If they can find an alternative place to stay for another three or four months,” Maxim Timchenko (DTEK chief executive) told the BBC, “it will be very helpful to the system.”

Finbarr O’Reilly, Ben Shpigel and Cassandra Vinograd Contributed reporting