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Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Alamy Stock Photo

Russia launches overnight assault on Ukraine's energy system, striking nuclear plant power line

Energy facilities were targeted by Russian missile, drone, and artillery strikes in multiple cities across Ukraine.

RUSSIA LAUNCHED A large-scale assault on Ukraine overnight involving over 90 missiles and 60 drones, one of which hit a power line to the country’s largest nuclear power plant. 

“As of now there are two dead and at least 8 wounded in Khmelnytskyi … There are also 6 injured in Zaporizhzhia, 3 people are missing at the sites of the attacks,” Ukraine’s interior ministry said in a statement.

Many of the attacks targeted energy infrastructure, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The world sees the targets of Russian terrorists as clearly as possible: power plants and energy supply lines, a hydroelectric dam, ordinary residential buildings, even a trolleybus.”

“There were more than 60 ‘Shaheds’ and almost 90 missiles of various types overnight,” he said. Shaheds are Iranian-made drones.

Energy facilities were targeted by Russian missile, drone, and artillery strikes in multiple cities across Ukraine this morning, including Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, and Kryvyi Rig.

“The goal is not just to damage, but to try again, like last year, to cause a large-scale failure of the country’s energy system,” said energy minister Galushchenko.

A strike took out one of two power lines running into the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, the country’s energy minister German Galushchenko said on Facebook.

“The enemy is now carrying out the largest attack on the Ukrainian energy industry in recent times,” Galushchenko said.

The facility, Europe’s largest nuclear energy site, was seized by Russian troops in the first days of the war but is powered by Ukrainian lines.

“This situation is extremely dangerous and risks sparking an emergency situation”, said Ukraine’s atomic energy operator Energoatom.

In the event that the final power line is cut, it said the plant will be “on the verge of another blackout, which is a serious violation of the conditions of safe operation of the plant”.

Since the beginning of the war, the Zaporizhzhia power plant has suffered multiple blackouts, falling back on emergency diesel generators and safety systems.

“In case of their failure, a threat of a nuclear and radiation accident will emerge,” said Energoatom.

According to Zaporizhzhia’s governor, 12 Russian missiles hit the region early this morning, destroying several houses and injuring an unknown number of people.

“According to initial reports, seven houses were destroyed, 35 were damaged,” Ivan Fedorov wrote on Telegram, adding that people had been injured.

Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian mayor of the city of Mariupol, under Russian control since 2022, said on Telegram that a Russian missile had hit a trolley in the Dnipro hydroelectric station, killing civilians travelling on it.

Oleksandr Symchyshyn, mayor of the western city of Khmelnytskyi, described “a horrible morning” with damage to infrastructure and residential buildings.

“There are victims and casualties among civilians,” he wrote on Telegram.

Zelenskyy once again appealed for more Western arms.

“Russian missiles do not have delays, as do aid packages to our country. The ‘Shahed’ have no indecision, like some politicians. It is important to understand the cost of delays and postponed decisions,” he said.

“We need air defence to protect people, infrastructure, homes and dams. Our partners know exactly what is needed. They can definitely support us… Life must be protected from these non-humans from Moscow”.

 - © AFP 2024