Russia targets Ukrainian energy infrastructure in overnight airstrikes — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Russia targets Ukrainian energy infrastructure in overnight airstrikes

The aftermath of a missile strike on a house in the town of Balakliya, in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, 1 June 2024. Photo: Ukrainian National Police

The aftermath of a missile strike on a house in the town of Balakliya, in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, 1 June 2024. Photo: Ukrainian National Police

Russia launched over 100 drones and missiles at targets across Ukraine overnight in what the Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) on Saturday morning called a “powerful missile and aviation strike on critical infrastructure targets” around the country.

The UAF said that Russia had used 53 “air-launched, sea-launched and land-based” missiles, as well as 47 Shahed attack drones, in an attempt to “destroy the country’s fuel and energy sector”.

Five of the missiles were launched from Russian-annexed Crimea, while another 10 were fired from Russia’s Black Sea coast, the UAF said. Both areas have come under increasingly frequent attack by Ukraine in recent weeks as Kyiv targets Russia’s military infrastructure.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday that it had conducted a “group strike with long-range precision weapons” on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in response to “attempts by the Kiev regime to damage Russian energy and transport facilities”.

The UAF reported that it had successfully intercepted 46 of the drones and 35 of the missiles launched by Russia in the overnight attack.

Ukraine’s national grid operator Ukrenergo said on Saturday morning that energy facilities in the country’s Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kirovohrad and Ivano-Frankivsk regions had been damaged in the attack, which it called Russia’s “sixth mass combined missile and drone strike on civilian energy infrastructure since March”.

Hydropower company Ukrhydroenergo also said that Russia had caused “critical damage” to two hydroelectric plants in what it called “another extremely difficult night for the Ukrainian energy sector”, while private energy provider DTEK reported damage to two of its thermal power plants.

Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said in a statement that the country had been forced to rely on electricity imports from neighbouring Romania, Poland and Slovakia in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said that 20 people had been injured in the Kharkiv, Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk regions in the attacks, which President Volodymyr Zelensky described as attempts “normalise terror” by exploiting Ukraine’s lack of air defence systems amid insufficient “resolve from Ukraine’s partners”.

“This is a test of humanity and resolve for the free world. Either we pass this test together, or the world will plunge into even greater destabilisation and chaos”, Zelensky concluded.

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