At least six dead in ‘largest ever’ Russian attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

Russia launched over 60 drones and nearly 90 missiles at power stations and energy infrastructure across Ukraine overnight Thursday in what the CEO of the country’s national grid called Russia’s “largest ever” attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

There were “limitations on energy supply” across the country as a result of the strikes, Ukrenergo head Volodymyr Kudrytskyi told privately owned broadcaster ICTV on Friday morning, adding that while there was “no danger” of the dam at the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station breaking, experts had been dispatched to assess damage it sustained after a fire reportedly broke out at the facility.

Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency Energoatom also reported that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant — Europe’s largest and currently under Russian control — was “on the verge of blackout” following damage to a power line connecting it to Ukraine’s national grid.

A Ukrainian rescue worker at the scene of a missile in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, 22 March 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/KATERYNA KLOCHKO

A Ukrainian rescue worker at the scene of a missile in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, 22 March 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/KATERYNA KLOCHKO

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said that two people had been killed and at least eight others injured in attacks on the western Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi, with a further 14 injured and three others killed in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia. One person was killed in the attack on the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said rescue operations and efforts to restore power supplies were ongoing in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Sumy, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia and Ivano-Frankivsk regions of the country, and that the attack showed the “cost of delays and deferred decisions” over Western aid to Ukraine.

“Russian rockets do not experience delays, unlike aid packages to our country”, Zelensky said, adding that Ukraine urgently needed Patriot missile systems to protect the country’s Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions from airstrikes. The country’s Western allies “know exactly what is needed and can definitely provide support”, Zelensky stressed.

Ukraine’s Air Force said that Russia had launched 63 Shahed drones and 88 missiles of various types in the attack, with Ukrainian air defences able to down 92 of the 151 missiles and drones launched at the country in total.

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