Russian missiles bombard Ukraine’s power system, forcing power outages

By Olena Harmash

KIEV (Reuters) – Russia on Friday unleashed a fresh wave of missile attacks on energy infrastructure across Ukraine, causing emergency power outages for millions and sparking new calls by Kiev for Western weapons.

Ukraine’s Air Force said Russia fired 71 cruise missiles, 61 of which were shot down, and local officials across the country, including in the capital Kiev, reported explosions.

At least 17 rockets hit the southeastern city of Zaporizhia in an hour in the worst attack since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, local officials said.

Energy Minister German Galushchenko said thermal and hydroelectric power plants and high-voltage infrastructure had been hit in six regions, forcing emergency power shutdowns in most of the country.

“The most difficult situation is in the Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Khmelnytskyi regions,” he said, referring to the regions in the south-east, north-east and west of Ukraine.

“Thanks to the successful work of the Air Defense Forces and early technical measures, it was possible to preserve the integrity of the energy system of Ukraine. Energy workers are constantly working to restore energy supplies.”

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy company, said four of its thermal power plants were damaged and two energy workers injured. Water supplies have also been affected in some areas, local officials said.

There was no immediate news of any deaths, but Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synehubov said eight people were injured.


The fresh Russian attacks followed a rare trip abroad by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week, which included talks with European Union leaders in Brussels to secure more weapons for Ukraine, including warplanes.

“Russia has been attacking Ukrainian cities all night and morning,” Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter. “Enough talking & political hesitation. Only quick key decisions: long-range missiles, fighter jets, operational logistics for Ukraine.”

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, supreme commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, said two Russian Kalibr missiles launched from the Black Sea flew through the airspace of Moldova and NATO member Romania before penetrating Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said these missiles posed a challenge to the military alliance and collective security.

“These missiles are a challenge to NATO and collective security. This is terror that can and must be stopped,” he said in a video via messaging app Telegram.

Russia did not comment immediately. Moldova confirmed that its airspace had been violated by a Russian missile and called on the Russian ambassador to protest. Romania said a Russian missile launched from a ship near Crimea crossed Moldovan airspace before hitting Ukraine but failed to enter Romanian airspace.

Ukraine could have launched the missiles but didn’t because it didn’t want to endanger civilians abroad, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said.

In recent months, Russia has launched repeated waves of attacks on Ukrainian power plants, which at times have left millions of people without light, heating or water during the cold winter.

(Additional reporting by Dan Peleschuk, Max Hunder and Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Timothy Heritage)


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