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Ukraine warns of outages after ‘massive’ attack on power plants

Russia says seized 400 square km of Ukrainian land
Source: Pixabay

Ukraine on Wednesday said it was limiting power supplies across the country and warned of possible blackouts after a “massive” wave of Russian missiles and drones targeted the country’s battered energy system.

Moscow also said its forces had taken control of two more frontline villages, as it ups its attacks on land and from the skies with Ukrainian troops struggling more than two years into the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia’s attack “deliberate, calculated and sneaky.”

“Almost 60 missiles and more than 20 ‘Shahed’ drones targeting life-supporting civilian infrastructure. Not a single military target. Life itself was the target overnight, as it has been for hundreds of other similar days in this war,” he said in a social media post.

The intensified strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure triggered fresh warnings of blackouts as state power operator Ukrenergo said it was limiting supplies.

“Ukrenergo’s dispatch centre is forced to limit power supply to industry and business from 18:00 to 23:00. The scope of the restrictions will be distributed evenly among all regions,” it said in a statement.

“The reason for the restrictions is the shortage of electricity caused by a massive Russian missile and drone attack on energy facilities,” it added.

Russia’s defence ministry said its strikes were in retaliation.

“In response to the Kyiv regime’s attempt to damage Russian energy facilities, this morning the armed forces of the Russian Federation launched a group strike against energy facilities and enterprises of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex,” it said in a briefing.

Kyiv has hit Russian oil refineries and storage depots in drone attacks over recent months.

The strikes targeted energy infrastructure facilities in at least six regions.

“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.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said Wednesday that Kyiv had created a new government task force to “coordinate work on overcoming the consequences of Russian energy terror.”

With the war showing no signs of ending, he said it would focus on preparing Ukrainian homes and businesses to get through the next fall and winter.

“More than 800 heating facilities have been destroyed or damaged. We have lost up to eight gigawatts (GW) of power generation,” he said in a post on Telegram.

Russia said Wednesday its forces had captured two more frontline villages in Ukraine, including in the northeast Kharkiv region from where it was forced to retreat in 2022.

Russian army units “liberated the village of Kyslivka in the Kharkiv region” and Novokalynove in the eastern Donetsk region, the defence ministry said.

Kyslivka is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the embattled Ukrainian stronghold of Kupiansk, while Novokalynove is about 10 kilometres north of Avdiivka, captured by Moscow in February.

Moscow has notched up a number of territorial gains since seizing Avdiivka as it presses an advantage in manpower and ammunition on the battlefield.

Kyiv says the arrival of long-delayed US military supplies will help it stabilise the situation on the front lines.

Ukrainian lawmakers on Wednesday approved a controversial bill that — if signed by Zelensky — will allow prisoners to fight, the latest move to try to boost the ranks of its stretched army.

In the southern frontline region of Kherson, Russian shelling overnight killed a 65-year-old woman, the regional Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said.

Injuries were also reported in the Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kirovograd regions.

In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, a Russian aerial attack during the day hit a school sports facility, injuring seven, including four children.

Kyiv says Moscow has escalated attacks from the air and on land in a bid to secure a slew of successes ahead of May 9, when Russia marks victory in World War II.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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