Russia Unleashes 'Massive' Attack on Ukraine's Power Grid

Russia sent barrage of missiles and explosive drones overnight
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2024 9:55 AM CDT
Ukraine Suffers 'Massive' Attack on Its Power Grid
In this photo, rescuers work at a damaged building after a Russian missile attack in the Kyiv region of Ukraine on Wednesday.   (Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP Photo)

Russian forces unleashed a nighttime barrage of 55 missiles and 21 explosive Shahed drones at Ukraine's power grid on Wednesday, in what President Zelensky called a "massive" attack. The Ukrainian air force said it managed to down 39 of the missiles and 20 of the drones, but the bombardment blasted targets in seven Ukrainian regions, including the Kyiv area and parts of the south and west. DTEK, Ukraine's biggest energy supplier, said the attack—the fifth in the last six weeks targeting the company's facilities—"seriously damaged" equipment at three of its thermal power plants. Its assets have come under attack nearly 180 times since Russia invaded in February 2022.

The BBC reports DTEK stated its teams were working to restore power, though all but 20% of its generating capacity has been damaged or destroyed. "The energy these power stations produce allow millions of Ukrainians to live with dignity," said CEO Maxim Timchenko. "We will not stop working to restore power at our facilities."

Russia has repeatedly pounded Ukraine's energy infrastructure during the war in an effort to rob Ukrainian manufacturing, especially military plants, of its energy supply. To that end, Reuters cites Russia's Defense Ministry as saying that, due to the overnight strike, "Ukraine's capabilities for the output of military products, as well as the transfer of Western weapons and military equipment to the line of contact, have been significantly reduced."

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Russian bombardments, though frequent, have become less regular in recent weeks, and Ukrainian officials suspect Moscow is stockpiling resources ahead of a major battlefield offensive that could come within weeks, reports the AP. Vladimir Putin has framed the attacks as retaliation for Ukrainian long-range strikes on Russian oil refineries, though the BBC suggests those strikes only began in recent weeks. Russian attacks have damaged nearly half of Ukraine's power infrastructure since the start of the Kremlin's full-scale invasion, officials say. The damage is estimated at $12.5 billion. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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