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Ukraine restores power after Russian barrage

Ukraine's capital has had most of its power supply restored as the country again responded defiantly to the latest Russian missile and drone barrage targeting critical infrastructure.

In what has become a familiar Russian tactic since early October, the Kremlin's forces struck Ukraine from afar while the ground battles in the country's east remained mired in a grinding stalemate.

Ukrainian authorities scrambled to counter the consequences of the latest bombardment, part of a recurring cycle of urban smash-and-repair that has brought little change in the course of the war, which recently entered its second year.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said in an assessment that "these missile strikes will not undermine Ukraine's will or improve Russia's positions on the front lines."

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said the Russians are striking civilian infrastructure, because they can't efficiently target Ukrainian military assets.

"The Russians lack data about the location of Ukrainian troops and weapons, so they are targeting civilian infrastructure and using the same old methods of attacking civilians to sow fear and panic in the society," he said. "Ukraine has survived the winter and Russia's strikes on the energy system in the spring hardly make any sense."

Power and water were restored in Kyiv, said Serhii Popko, the head of the city's military administration. Popko said that about 30 per cent of consumers in the capital remained without heating and that repair work was ongoing.

Power supplies were fully restored in Ukraine's southern Odesa region, private provider DTEK said Friday afternoon.

Around 60 per cent of households in the city of Kharkiv that were knocked off grid by Russia's missile strikes on Thursday were also back online, authorities said, though significant damage remained in the Zhytomyr and Kharkiv regions in Ukraine's northwest and northeast.

Meanwhile, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Friday.

Marin accompanied President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and senior military officers at the funeral of one of Ukraine's best-known fighters and commanders who was killed in fighting near the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut.

The service for Dmytro Kotsiubailo, 27, was held at the cathedral of Kyiv's St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery.

Zelenskyy and Marin also laid flowers at a nearby memorial to fallen Ukrainian soldiers.

The prime minister echoed other Western leaders who've accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine and said Russian soldiers and leaders would be held accountable in a courtroom.

"Putin knows he will have to answer for his crime of aggression," the Finnish leader said during a news conference. "The future tribunal must bring justice efficiently and answer Ukrainians' rightful demands."

On the battlefield Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said the fighting in Bakhmut had "escalated," with another push by Russian forces to break through Ukrainian defence lines that have largely held firm for the past six months.

Just west of Bakhmut, shelling and missile strikes hit the Ukrainian-held city of Kostiantynivka. The regional prosecutor's office said eight people were injured and more than a dozen homes were damaged or destroyed in the attacks.

The onslaught, much of which took place before dawn, was the largest such attack in three weeks, deploying more than 80 missiles and exploding drones.

Even so, the bombardments on energy infrastructure that gathered pace last autumn have become less frequent.

"The interval between waves of strikes is probably growing, because Russia now needs to stockpile a critical mass of newly produced missiles directly from industry," the UK Ministry of Defence said in an assessment Friday.

The Russian Defence Ministry said the strikes were in retaliation for a recent incursion into the Bryansk region of western Russia by what Moscow claimed were Ukrainian saboteurs. Ukraine denied the claim.