Russia Takes Aim at Ukraine’s Energy Sector

( – Russia has launched a fresh wave of attacks targeting Ukraine’s power grid, leaving at least five dead and a million people experiencing power cuts across the country. Ukrainian officials said on Friday, March 22, that the overnight attacks involved the firing of 90 missiles and 60 drones and damaged the country’s biggest hydroelectric plant amongst other facilities. Russia is reported to have targeted thermal as well as hydropower plants and wreaked havoc on both energy production and distribution.

Dnipro Hydroelectric Station, home to Ukraine’s largest dam, was set alight by the attack and its main power line rendered non-functional. According to officials, the fire also spread to a trolleybus travelling over the dam at the time, killing its driver. The station, which is reported to have been hit by eight missiles in the night-time assault, supplies the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with electricity and has since had to rely on a back-up power line to sustain the flow of electricity to its reactor cooling system. During the attack on the Zaporizhzhia region, seven buildings are reported to have been destroyed, with a further 35 suffering damage.

Following the large-scale assault on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure the country halted all exports of electricity on Sunday, March 24, and increased its energy imports. The nation’s primary energy production company, DTEK, said that it was forced to run at half capacity due to Russian-inflicted damage.

Moscow claimed that the attacks were retribution for a previous set of assaults by Ukraine against Russia, including a strike against the Belgorod region on Thursday, March 21, that Russian officials say killed a woman who had been walking her dogs when the missiles hit. Two other Russians are reported to have been injured in the attack.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to Russia’s energy grid strikes as being the work of “Russian terrorists” and said that Ukraine needed further help from Western allies in the face of Russian threats, adding that there would be “no delays” to Russian missiles, even while there were delays in “assistance” to Ukraine.

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