Russia unleashes ‘massive’ barrage targeting Ukraine energy infrastructure

Ukraine continues to call for more weapons as Russia seeks to batter industry and resistance.

Emergency services work at a damaged building after a Russian missile attack in Kyiv region, Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 [Ukrainian State Emergency Service/AP]Published On 8 May 20248 May 2024

Russia has launched more than 70 missiles and drones overnight in one of its largest barrages against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

The attack on Tuesday night was directed at facilities in Kyiv and six other cities, authorities said. Moscow continues to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in the hope of denting industry and public appetite for fighting back against its invasion.

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Russia launched more than 50 missiles and 20 Iranian-made “Shahed” drones – long-range unmanned vehicles with built-in warheads – authorities said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy slammed the “massive missile attack,” which was also reported to have damaged homes and the railway network.

Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, and parts of southern and western Ukraine were among the targets. Three people, including an eight-year-old girl, were injured during the attack.

Nine Ukrainian regions experienced power cuts on Wednesday morning following the strikes. Grid operator Ukrenergo warned that power cuts across the country were likely on Wednesday evening.

“The enemy has not abandoned plans to deprive Ukrainians of light,” Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.

Moscow has pummelled Ukraine’s power plants in an attempt to hamper the production of weapons for the military and diminish public morale, analysts say.

The attack came ahead of Victory in Europe Day. May 8 marks the surrender of Germany in World War II.

Russia celebrates Victory Day, marking the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, on May 9. Ukraine changed its celebration to May 8 last year.

“On Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II Day, Nazi Putin launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine,” President Zelenskyy said in a post on X.

Desperately seeking Patriots

Ukraine is desperately awaiting weapons deliveries from Western allies, warning that its defence capabilities are running low. The United States and European Union have both committed to new aid packages in recent months.

However, Kyiv continues to plead for more air defence systems, such as the US-built Patriot which intercepts drones and missiles.

Washington has promised to deliver more Patriot systems, as well as more munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS defence systems which it delivered in 2022.

In the meantime, Russia is racing to bombard the country, while its ground forces seek to extend progress on the front line in eastern Ukraine. As well as targeting energy facilities, Moscow’s military is also reported to be sending growing numbers of missiles and drones in a bid to exhaust Ukraine’s air defences.

Ukraine’s energy firms have all but exhausted their finances, equipment and spare parts fixing the damage Russia has already wrought. The country’s power plants urgently need specialist equipment that Ukraine can no longer make at sufficient speed and scale.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said earlier this month that half of the country’s energy system had been damaged by Russian attacks.

DTEK, Ukraine’s biggest private electricity supplier, said it has lost 80 percent of its electricity-generating capacity in almost 180 aerial attacks since the start of Russia’s invasion in 2022.

Source: News Agencies