Heaviest Russian Barrage in Weeks Hits Critical Infrastructure

Attack left at least 6 dead, nuclear plant without power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2023 4:08 AM CST
Ukraine Hit by Heaviest Russian Barrage in Weeks
Police officers inspect a car after a rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 9, 2023.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Russia unleashed a massive rocket attack that hit critical infrastructure and residential buildings in 10 regions of Ukraine, the country’s president said Thursday, with officials reporting at least six deaths in the largest such night-time attack in three weeks. Volodymyr Zelensky described the barrage that came while many people slept as an attempt by Moscow "to intimidate Ukrainians again," the AP reports. "The occupiers can only terrorize civilians. That’s all they can do," Zelensky said in an online statement. Five people were killed in the Lviv region after a missile struck a residential area, Lviv Gov. Maksym Kozytskyi said. A sixth person was killed and two others wounded in multiple strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region that targeted its energy infrastructure and industrial facilities, Gov. Serhii Lysak said.

The war has largely ground to a battlefield stalemate over the winter. The Kremlin’s forces started targeting Ukraine’s power supply last October in an apparent attempt to demoralize the civilian population. The barrages later became less frequent, with analysts speculating Russia may have been running low on ammunition. The last massive barrage took place on Feb. 16. The latest attack left almost half of consumers in Kyiv without heating, with temperatures at around 48 Fahrenheit amid a spring thaw. In southern Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is occupied by Russian forces, lost power as a result of the missile attacks, according to nuclear state operator Energoatom.

It is the sixth time the plant has been in a state of blackout since it was taken over by Russia months ago, forcing it to rely on 18 diesel generators that can run the station for 10 days, Energoatom said. Nuclear plants need constant power to run cooling systems and avoid a meltdown. "The countdown has begun," Energoatom said. Air raid sirens wailed through the night across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, where explosions occurred in two western areas of the city. Defense systems were activated around the country. Overall, Russia launched 81 missiles and eight exploding Shahed drones, according to Ukraine’s Chief Commander of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Thirty-four cruise missiles were intercepted, as were four drones, he said.

(Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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