KYIV: Extreme weather that stormed through Ukraine’s south earlier this week killed 12 people, while bad weather and the war with Russia have left more than 800 villages without power, Kyiv said on Wednesday.
Hurricane winds and snowfall hit southern Ukraine, already severely affected by Russia’s invasion, on Monday.
The strong winds also swept through occupied Ukraine, Moscow-annexed Crimea and southern Russia.
“Twelve people died due to the weather,” Ukraine’s interior minister Igor Klymenko said, increasing the toll by one person since Tuesday. Klymenko said 23 people were injured.
Officials said the severe weather was over but that hundreds of villages were without power.
Intense repair works are underway in southern regions and Ukraine has imported electricity from three western neighbours, Kyiv added.
Ukraine’s energy ministry said that “812 settlements were without energy” due to the weather and the war.
It said 368 were cut off by the extreme storms, while another 444 had power cuts “due to hostilities and technical problems.”
Ukraine has been preparing for weeks for a feared renewed Russian campaign hitting its energy grid.
Such attacks left millions in the dark and cold last winter.
Ukraine’s state energy company Ukrenergo said the “most difficult situation” was in the southern Odesa and Kherson regions – regularly hit by Russian strikes.
It has imported electricity at night from neighbouring Slovakia, Romania and Moldova, said Ukrenergo.
Moscow has said four people were killed in Crimea and southern Russia by the storms.
The Kremlin-backed leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov on Wednesday said that an “emergency” regime was in force in 15 municipalities across the peninsula – including the main city of Simferopol and the seaside resort of Yalta.
He said some 43,000 people were without power and that “repair work” was underway.
When the storm hit on Monday, Moscow said almost two million people in southern Russia, annexed Crimea and occupied Ukraine were without power.