Kyiv bolsters air defences as Ukraine’s capital faces rolling blackouts

Cars ride along a darkened Khreshchatyk central street in Kyiv  (AFP via Getty Images)
Cars ride along a darkened Khreshchatyk central street in Kyiv (AFP via Getty Images)

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko has announced the arrival of new air defence equipment in Ukraine’s capital as the city faces weeks of rolling blackouts following Russian airstrikes on key infrastructure.

“The military have assured me (during a recent meeting) that new air defence equipment has arrived in the capital and our sky will be safer,” Mr Klitschko said Friday on Ukrainian TV.

“We hope that there will be no more attacks and provocations with kamikaze drones and missiles,” Mr Klitschko added, in a reference to Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones spotted repeatedly over Ukrainian cities.

Earlier on Friday, Kyiv’s mayor said the Ukrainian capital’s power grid was operating in “emergency mode,” with electricity supplies down by as much as 50% compared to pre-war levels.

Authorities said Kyiv and the surrounding region will see rolling blackouts in the coming days.

Ukraine’s top diplomat called on Tehran to “immediately” stop arms deliveries to Russia during a phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart.

Writing on Twitter, Dmytro Kuleba said: “I received a call today from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, during which I demanded that Iran immediately stop supplying Russia with weapons that are used to kill civilians and destroy critical infrastructure in Ukraine.”

Iran has denied supplying Russia with explosive drones and other weapons used in the invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defence minister said Moscow has completed a partial mobilisation which has seen 300,000 reservists called up.

Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday the order has been fulfilled. He said that 82,000 reservists have already been deployed to Ukraine, while 218,000 others are still being trained.

Mr Putin issued the mobilisation order in September in a bid to beef up Russian troops along a 1,000-kilometer frontline in Ukraine. The move has fueled protests and prompted tens of thousands to flee the country.

Activists and Russian media reports have said that many of those called up have been told to procure basic items such as medical kits and flak jackets themselves and some have been given rusty weapons. Many were killed days after being called up without receiving even basic refresher training.