Friday, September 22, 2023
The power supply was halted in several Ukrainian regions after a powerful missile attack from the Russian forces hit the energy facilities of its smaller neighbour Thursday, making it one of the biggest air strikes in weeks, as world leaders are meeting in New York under the auspices of UNGA 78.
The power cuts were reported in 5 regions of the western, central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces struck multiple missile assaults on the Kiyv’s critical infrastructure last year amid severe winter, leaving millions without electricity.
The Russian attack injured at least 18 people, according to officials as the regional governor in Ukraine noted that Moscow’s separate overnight shelling also claimed the lives of two people.
"Winter is coming. Tonight [Russia] renews missile attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure," lawmaker Andrii Osadchuk wrote on platform X.
Grid operator Ukrenergo said it was the first Russian attack on power infrastructure in six months, and reported damage to facilities in western and central regions.
"The attack caused blackouts in the Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv regions," it noted.
According to a statement from the Russian Defence Ministry, it hit military industry facilities, radio intelligence installations and centres for the training of sabotage groups. It said it struck all its targets.
After the deadly and potent attacks by Moscow, Ukraine has been repairing the infrastructure that ransacked its energy facilities forcing power cuts.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, visiting the US following the UN General Assembly, condemned what he called "another massive attack".
Outlining Ukraine's needs before a meeting with US President Joe Biden, he wrote on Telegram: "More air defence. More sanctions. More support for Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines."
Biden was set to announce a new $325 million military aid package for Kyiv, which was expected to include a second tranche of cluster munitions fired by a 155-millimetre howitzer cannon.
Russia, which sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, had focused its air strikes since mid-July on port and grain infrastructure, hampering efforts by Kyiv — a major global grain producer — to export food products.
Many of the attacks have also killed civilians, although Moscow denies deliberately targeting them.
Russia said Ukraine has been attacking targets inside Russia as Kyiv presses on with a counteroffensive in the east and south against Russia's 19-month-old special military operation.
Ukraine said Russia had fired 43 cruise missiles at targets overnight in several waves, and that Ukrainian air defences shot down 36 of them.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said seven people, including the nine-year-old girl, were injured in the capital. Missile debris fell in the city centre, damaging several buildings and a Pepsi plant in the region was damaged," the defence ministry said.
The interior ministry and regional officials reported blasts in Cherkasy, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskiy, Rivne, Vinnytsia, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.
Maksym Kozytskyi, Lviv's regional governor, said three Russian missiles hit the western city of Drohobych and that an infrastructure facility and warehouses were hit.
In a separate overnight attack, two people were killed by Russian shelling of a dormitory in the southern city of Kherson, governor Oleksandr Prokudin said.
The Ukrainian military said its forces had struck the Saky air base in Russian-occupied Crimea overnight.
It gave no details but a Ukrainian intelligence source said the attack inflicted "serious damage" on equipment at the base.
An adviser to Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-installed head of Crimea, said none of Ukraine's missiles had hit their target.