Russia’s biggest airstrike in weeks piles pressure on Ukraine power grid

A worker digs to uncover a gas pipe leading to a house that was destroyed during a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Krasylivka, Kyiv region, Ukraine, May 8, 2024. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

On Wednesday, a man surveys the damage of a house that was hit during a Russian missile strike in Krasylivka, Kyiv region, Ukraine. (Thomas Peter/REUTERS)

KYIV — Russian missiles and drones struck nearly a dozen Ukrainian energy infrastructure facilities on Wednesday, causing serious damage at three Soviet-era thermal power plants and blackouts in multiple regions, officials said.

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 39 of 55 missiles and 20 of 21 attack drones used for the attack, which piles more pressure on the energy system more than two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.


“Another massive attack on our energy industry!” Energy Minister German Galushchenko wrote on the Telegram app.

Two people were injured in the Kyiv region and one was hurt in the Kirovohrad region, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said.

Galushchenko said power generation and transmission facilities in the Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia regions were targeted.

Some 350 rescuers raced to minimise the damage to energy facilities, 30 homes, public transport vehicles, cars, and a fire station, the interior ministry said.

National power grid operator Ukrenergo said it was forced to introduce electricity cuts in nine regions for consumers and that it would expand them nationwide for businesses during peak evening hours until 11 p.m. (2000 GMT).

Ukrenergo CEO Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, interviewed by the Ukrainska Pravda media outlet, said electricity imports would not make up for power shortages. He said hydropower stations had also been hit, clarifying an earlier company statement omitting hydro stations from the list of affected facilities.

Power cuts for industrial users, he said, were “almost guaranteed” but interruptions for domestic users would depend on how well they reduced consumption.

“Many important power stations were damaged,” he said, citing three stations operated by DTEK, Ukraine’s biggest private company, as well as two hydropower stations.

“The damage is on quite a large scale. There is a significant loss of generating power, so significant that even imports of power from Europe will not cover the shortage that has been created in the energy system.”

Russia’s defence ministry said it struck Ukraine’s military-industrial complex and energy facilities in retaliation for Kyiv’s strikes on Russian energy facilities.

“As a result of the strike, Ukraine’s capabilities for the output of military products, as well as the transfer of Western weapons and military equipment to the line of contact, have been significantly reduced,” the ministry said.

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