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Pockets of Shelling Across Ukraine     11/27 09:17

   

   KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) -- Shelling by Russian forces struck several areas in 
eastern and southern Ukraine overnight as utility crews continued a scramble to 
restore power, water and heating following widespread strikes in recent weeks, 
officials said Sunday.

   With persistent snowfall blanketing the capital, Kyiv, Sunday, analysts 
predicted that wintry weather -- bringing with it frozen terrain and grueling 
fighting conditions -- could have an increasing impact on the direction of the 
conflict that has raged since Russian forces invaded Ukraine more than nine 
months ago.

   But for the moment, both sides were bogged down by heavy rain and muddy 
battlefield conditions in some areas, experts said.

   After a blistering barrage of Russian artillery strikes on at least two 
occasions over the past two weeks, infrastructure teams in Ukraine were fanning 
out in around-the-clock deployments to restore key basic services as many 
Ukrainians dealt with only a few hours of electricity per day -- if any.

   Ukrenergo, the state power grid operator, said Sunday that electricity 
producers are now supplying about 80% of demand. That's an improvement from 
Saturday's 75%, the company says.

   The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that has been closely 
monitoring developments in Ukraine, said reporting from both sides indicated 
that heavy rain and mud have had an impact -- but wider freezing expected along 
the front lines in coming days could play a role.

   "It is unclear if either side is actively planning or preparing to resume 
major offensive or counter-offensive operations at that time, but the 
meteorological factors that have been hindering such operations will begin 
lifting," it said in a note published Saturday.

   ISW said Russian forces were digging in further east of the city of Kherson, 
from which they were expelled by Ukrainian forces more than two weeks ago, and 
continued "routine artillery fire" across the Dnipro River.

   In the eastern Donetsk region, five people were killed in shelling over the 
past day, according to governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Overnight shelling was 
reported by regional leaders in the Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk areas to 
the west.

   Kharkiv governor Oleh Syniehubov said one person was killed and three 
wounded in the northeastern region.

   A day earlier, a long column of cars, vans and trucks caravanned away from 
the recently liberated city of Kherson after intense shelling in recent days 
and amid concerns more pummeling from the Russian forces nearby could loom 
again in coming days.

   Galina Lugova, head of the city's military administration, said in an 
interview Sunday that evacuation trains had been lined up and bomb shelters set 
up in all city districts with stoves, beds, first aid kits and fire 
extinguishers.

   "Everything you need," she said.

   "We are preparing for a winter in difficult conditions, but we will do 
everything to make people safe," Lugova said. Her biggest worry, she said, was 
"shelling that intensifies every day. Shelling, shelling and shelling again."

   On the roads out of the city, some residents felt they had no choice but to 
leave.

   "The day before yesterday, artillery hit our house. Four flats burned down. 
Windows shattered," said Vitaliy Nadochiy, driving out with a terrier on his 
lap and a Ukrainian flag dangling from a sun visor. "We can't be there. There 
is no electricity, no water, heating. So we are leaving to go to my brother."

 
 
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