Russia launches ‘massive’ attack on Ukrainian power grid

Ukraine says its energy facilities have come under a “massive” attack from Russia overnight, in the latest onslaught targeting the country’s power grid.

It is the eighth time Russia has launched an attack on energy infrastructure facilities in the past three months, Ukraine’s energy ministry said.

Air defence systems shot down 12 of 16 missiles and all 13 drones launched by Russia at several regions through the night, the Ukrainian air force said.

Later on Saturday officials in Kharkiv in north-eastern Ukraine said two people were killed and at least 18 injured by Russian guided bombs, with at least four explosions heard in the city.

The overnight attacks on energy infrastructure wounded two energy workers in the central Zaporizhzhia region, and damaged energy equipment in the western city of Lviv, officials added.

In the south-western region of Ivano-Frankivsk, the authorities also reported damage to houses and a kindergarten.

Russia has renewed its campaign of strikes on Ukrainian energy targets over spring and early summer, causing frequent blackouts across the country. President Volodymyr Zelensky recently said Moscow had destroyed half of his country’s electricity-generating capacity since it began pummelling its energy facilities in late March.

Saturday night’s attack is the second to target energy infrastructure this week.

On Thursday, Ukrainian authorities said seven employees were wounded and energy infrastructure, including a power station, had been damaged in a major overnight attack.

Ukraine is buying energy from the European Union, however, this is not enough to make up the deficit.

This means that most days involve a planned nationwide blackout to protect critical infrastructure such a hospitals and military facilities.

“We urgently need to close our skies or Ukraine faces a serious crisis this winter,” the chief executive DTEK, of one of Ukraine’s largest private energy companies, Maxim Timchenko said.

“My plea to allies is to help us defend our energy system and rebuild in time.”

Mr Zelensky has repeatedly called on Ukraine’s allies to send more air defence systems. He has specifically requested seven sophisticated air defence systems called Patriots from the US.

Ivan Fedorov, Zaporizhzhia’s governor, echoed Mr Zelensky’s message on Saturday morning in a message posted to Telegram.

“We can say for sure: the enemy will not stop. Ukraine needs air defence systems.” he said.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that Washington would put Ukraine at the top of the queue for Patriot deliveries, ahead of other countries that have ordered them.

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