This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian forces have launched fresh strikes on targets in Kyiv and the city of Zaporizhzhya, the military and officials said on October 27, as Ukrainian forces repelled attacks near two towns in the eastern region of the Donbas and the Moscow-installed administration left Kherson.
A Russian drone attack early on October 27 hit an energy facility in the capital, causing a fire, said Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv region. The latest attacks inflicted “very serious damage,” he said.
“The Russians are using drones and missiles to destroy Ukraine’s energy system ahead of the winter and terrorize civilians,” Kuleba said in televised remarks.
Ukrainian officials said the attacks on Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure have made it difficult to set an accurate schedule for outages, and the damaged caused by the latest strikes could mean Kyiv and four regions may have to cut electricity supplies for longer than planned.
In Zaporizhzhya, the Russians used Smerch rockets to strike the city overnight, the head of the regional military administration, Oleksandr Starukh, wrote on Telegram.
“At night, the enemy attacked the outskirts of the regional center. According to preliminary information, these were three projectiles of the Smerch multiple-launch rocket systems. There are no casualties,” he wrote.
Starukh said infrastructure was destroyed and a fire broke out but it was extinguished by emergency services.
Part of the southeastern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhya is under Russian occupation, but the homonymous regional capital remains in Ukrainian hands.
Zaporizhzhya is one of four regions partially occupied by Russia that Moscow claims to have annexed last month following illegal referendums rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies as sham votes.
Ukraine’s General Staff said on October 27 that Kyiv had boosted its forces in the northern region near Belarus to counter any possible renewed Russian attack across the border.
Belarus is Moscow’s main ally in the war against Ukraine and has allowed Russian forces to use its territory as a launching pad for the invasion.
“At the current time the creation of a strike force (in Belarus) is not observable. (But) there are and will be threats. We are reacting, we have already increased our troops in the northern direction,” Oleksiy Hromov, deputy head of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, told a regular briefing.
In the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian troops are holding out against attacks near the towns of Avdiyivka and Bakhmut, where fierce battles were under way, Zelenskiy said on October 26.
Russian forces have repeatedly tried to seize Bakhmut, which sits on a main road leading to the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said that on one single day Russian forces launched eight separate attacks on Bakhmut before noon and had been pushed back on each occasion.
British intelligence has said Moscow may see the capture of Bakhmut as a prerequisite for advancing to the two cities — the most significant Ukrainian-controlled parts of the Donetsk region.
The reports could not be independently verified.
Ukraine has pushed ahead with an offensive to reclaim the Kherson region and its capital of the same name, which Russian forces captured during the first days of the war.
Zelenskiy described reports of Russian troops’ possible withdrawal from the city as disinformation.
“I don’t see them fleeing from Kherson,” Zelenskiy said in an interview with an Italian newspaper. “This is an information attack, so that we go there, transfer troops from other dangerous directions there.”
The Russian-appointed governor of Ukraine’s Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said on October 27 that more than 70,000 people have left the region’s capital, the strategic city of Kherson.
Saldo’s deputy, Kirill Stremousov, said members of the Moscow-installed regional administration were included in the evacuation.
Saldo also said the remains of Grigory Potemkin, the Russian general who founded Kherson in the 18th century that had been kept at the city’s St. Catherine’s Church, have also been moved along with his monument.