15.6 C
New York
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Devastating Russian Air Raids Cripple Kyiv Power Infrastructure

Russian missiles and drones struck a major electricity plant near Kyiv and hit power facilities in several regions of Ukraine on Thursday, officials said, escalating pressure on the country’s embattled energy system as Kyiv runs low on air defenses.

The large-scale attack destroyed the Trypilska coal-fired thermal power plant near the capital, a senior official at the company running the facility told Reuters. This plant was a major supplier of electricity for Kyiv and the surrounding Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions.

“Everything is destroyed,” said Andriy Gota, head of the supervisory board of state-owned energy company Centrenergo, which operated the plant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes were a necessary response to recent Ukrainian attacks on energy targets inside Russia. The Russian defense ministry claimed the attacks were a “massive retaliatory strike” using drones and long-range precision weapons.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the strikes as “terror” and called for urgent air defense support from the West, saying “We need air defense and other defense support, not eye-closing and long discussions.”

Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 drones, but the attack still caused significant damage to the country’s energy infrastructure. The strikes sparked fears about the resilience of Ukraine’s energy system, which has been battered by a Russian campaign of aerial assaults over the winter.

Also Read: UN Reports Steep Increase in Civilian Casualties in Ukraine During March

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba bluntly urged the U.S. to provide Ukraine with Patriot air defense systems, saying “There is only a single question: Give us Patriot systems! If we had Patriots, we would not have lost all of this today.”

Putin framed the attacks as part of Russia’s objective of “demilitarizing” Ukraine, one of the stated goals of the 2022 invasion. He claimed Russia had refrained from such strikes in winter “out of humanitarian considerations” but was now forced to respond to Ukrainian attacks.

The destruction of the major Trypilska power plant marks a significant blow to Ukraine’s energy capabilities as the country battles to keep the lights on amid the Russian onslaught.

BIGGEST ENERGY SUPPLIER NEAR THE CAPITAL

  • The Trypilska power plant near Kyiv was the biggest energy facility in the region, with a capacity of 1,800 megawatts – more than the pre-war needs of Ukraine’s capital.
  • The attacks hit substations and power-generating facilities across multiple regions of Ukraine, including Odesa, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, and Kyiv.
  • Ukraine’s largest private electricity company DTEK lost 80% of its generating capacity in previous attacks on March 22 and 29.
  • Russian forces also attacked a thermal power station in the Sumy region with guided bombs, though the scale of damage was unclear.
  • The strikes hit two underground natural gas storage facilities, including some owned by foreign companies, but they continued to operate.
  • The attacks have left Ukraine’s electricity grid in a dire situation, with the grid operator urging Ukrainians to minimize usage during peak hours.
  • The Kharkiv region, bordering Russia, was forced to cut power for 200,000 people due to the damage.
  • Ukraine has warned it could run out of air defense munitions if the Russian strikes continue at this intensity, and is already having to make difficult decisions about what infrastructure to defend.
  • There has been a slowdown in Western military assistance, and a major U.S. aid package has been blocked by Republicans in Congress.

The rewritten article highlights the extensive and devastating impact these strikes have had on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and the growing challenges it faces in defending against the Russian assault.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.