Russian media reports that some of those mobilized were sent into battle without proper training and were quickly killed.
The authorities admitted that the mobilization was often poorly organized and promised to improve the situation.
Russia has lost ground almost seven weeks after the start of a counteroffensive by the armed forces of Ukraine in the south of the country. This week, the Kremlin launched what is believed to be the largest coordinated air and missile attack on key Ukrainian infrastructure since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
In continuation of these attacks, a missile strike on Saturday seriously damaged a key energy facility in the capital region of Ukraine, the country’s grid operator said. After mounting setbacks, the Russian military worked to cut off electricity and water in remote communities while repelling Ukrainian counterattacks in occupied areas.
The governor of the Zaporozhye region, Alexander Starukh, said that the Russian military had struck with suicide drones from Iran and S-300 long-range missiles. Some experts have said that the Russian military’s use of surface-to-air missiles may reflect a lack of specialized high-precision weapons to defeat ground targets.
Dmitrii Patishchuk, a medic at a hospital in the capital of Zaporozhye region who has treated dozens of people injured in Russian attacks in recent weeks, said people were seeking safety on the street or in the basement of his building when the familiar explosions began at 5:15 a.m. Saturday (Ukraine time ).
“If Ukraine stops, these explosions and killings will continue. We cannot give in to the Russian Federation,” Patishchuk said a few hours later. He attached a Ukrainian flag to the broken windshield of his heavily damaged car.
The governor of the Kyiv region, Alyaksei Kuleba, said that the rocket that hit on Saturday morning did not kill or injure anyone. Citing security concerns, Ukrainian officials did not identify the site, one of many infrastructure sites that the Russian military has been trying to destroy since a truck bomb on October 8 damaged a bridge connecting Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula.
The Ukrainian electricity transmission company Ukrenerga said that repair crews are working to restore power, but warned residents of possible further outages. The Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of Ukraine, Kirylo Tymoshenko, urged residents of the capital and three neighboring regions to conserve electricity.
“Putin may hope that by increasing the misery of the Ukrainian people, President (Vladimir) Zelensky may be more inclined to negotiate a settlement that would allow Russia to keep some of the stolen territories in the east or Crimea,” said Ian Williams, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. research, a political organization based in Washington. “A cursory review of history shows that strategic bombing of civilians is an ineffective way to achieve a political goal. »
Widespread retaliatory attacks this week, which included the use of self-destructive explosive drones from Iran, have killed dozens of people. The strikes affected residential buildings as well as infrastructure facilities such as power plants in Kiev, Lviv in western Ukraine and other cities that have seen relatively few strikes in recent months.
Putin said on Friday that Moscow saw no need for additional massive strikes, but that his army would continue with selective operations. According to him, of the 29 objects that the Russian military planned to destroy as a result of this week’s attacks, seven were not affected and will be eliminated gradually.
The Washington-based think tank Institute for the Study of War saw Putin’s remarks as countering criticism from pro-war Russian bloggers, who “largely praised the renewed strikes on Ukrainian cities but warned that the short campaign would be ineffective.” .”
In the southern Kherson region, one of the first areas of Ukraine to pass to Russia after the invasion and which Putin also illegally designated as Russian territory last month, Ukrainian troops launched a counteroffensive on Saturday.
Kiev’s army said it had recaptured 75 villages and towns there in the past month, but said the pace had slowed and the fighting had become attritional, typical of Russia’s months-long offensive to conquer Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region.
On Saturday, Ukrainian troops tried to push south along the banks of the Dnieper toward the regional capital, also called Kherson, but were unsuccessful, according to Kirill Stremusov, deputy head of the Moscow-based administration of the occupied region.
“The line of defense worked and the situation remained under the full control of the Russian army,” he wrote on his messaging app channel.
Local leaders backed by the Kremlin asked civilians to leave the region on Thursday to ensure their safety and give Russian troops more maneuverability. Stremausov reminded them that they could evacuate to Crimea and cities in southwestern Russia, where Moscow offers free housing to residents who agree to leave.
The official representative of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Major General Igor Kanashenkov, said that the military destroyed five crossings on the Ingulets River – another route by which Ukrainian militants could move towards the Kherson region.
Konashenkov claimed that Russian troops were also blocking Ukrainian attempts to breach Russian defenses near Liman, a town in eastern Ukraine’s annexed Donetsk region that Ukrainians retook two weeks ago in a major defeat for the Kremlin.