Ukraine warns of outages after 'massive' attack on power plants

AFP , Wednesday 8 May 2024

Ukraine on Wednesday warned of possible power shutdowns across the country after a "massive" wave of Russian missiles and drones targeted the battered Ukrainian energy system.

Rescuers working next to a crater following a missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AFP


While Ukrainian troops struggle to hold the front line more than two years into the war, Moscow has intensified strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, triggering blackouts and electricity rationing across the country.

"Russians have launched a new massive attack on thermal and hydroelectric power plants," Ukrenergo said.

"There may be power cuts for household and industrial consumers across Ukraine... due to new damage to the equipment of Ukrainian power plants caused by Russian strikes," it added.

Ukrenergo said it was working on overcoming power shortages in the face of a "particularly difficult situation", including by using emergency supplies from European countries.

The strikes targeted energy infrastructure facilities in at least six regions, the ministry said.

"The enemy has not abandoned plans to deprive Ukrainians of light," Energy Minister German Galushchenko said, condemning what he called "another massive attack on our energy industry".

At least three thermal power plants were "seriously damaged" overnight according to Ukraine's largest private energy operator DTEK.

This was the fifth attack on the company's energy facilities in a month and a half, DTEK said.

 'Without electricity' 

"On the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II, Nazi (President Vladimir) Putin launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

He has been urging his allies to supply more air defences amid continued aerial attacks.

Russia launched 55 missiles and 21 attack drones at Ukraine overnight, the air force said on Telegram, adding it intercepted 39 missiles and 20 drones.

An eight-year-old child was wounded in the central Kirovograd region and falling debris wounded two in the region surrounding Kyiv, authorities said.

Russian forces launched several cruise missiles towards the capital, putting the city on alert for over three hours, according to the local administration.

"Missiles entered Kyiv from different directions" but "all (missiles)... in the area of the capital were destroyed," Kyiv city's military administration said.

Moscow has launched some of its biggest ever strikes on Ukraine's energy facilities in recent months, knocking out a significant chunk of production.

The city of Kharkiv, just 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Russian border in northeastern Ukraine, has faced a significant share of these attacks.

Around 200,000 households are facing power restriction in the Kharkiv region, the energy ministry said.

Also within reach of Russian fire is the southern city of Kherson, which Ukraine took back in November 2022.

After overnight strikes, the city was "partially left without electricity," the head of the region Oleksandr Prokudin said.

Russian attacks targeted Kherson's civilian railway infrastructure in the morning, damaging the city's station and tracks, Ukrainian Railways said.

"Ukrainian Railways is again in the enemy's sights!" the state monopoly said.

Russian forces have ratcheted up attacks on Ukrainian railway infrastructure in an attempt to disrupt military cargo.

Kyiv also says Moscow is escalating attacks from the air and on land ahead of May 9, when Russia marks victory in World War II, and while Ukraine awaits the arrival of crucial weapon supplies from the United States.

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