Russia launches more than 50 missiles and 20 drones in major air attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

The aerial assault is Russia’s largest against Ukraine’s energy industry in weeks

Arpan Rai
Wednesday 08 May 2024 16:45 BST
Ukraine has the right to strike inside Russia, says David Cameron on visit to wartorn country

More than 50 missiles and 20 attack drones have rained down on Ukraine in Russia’s largest attack on the country’s energy industry in weeks.

The facilities targeted included power generation and transmission buildings in the Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia regions, Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko said on his Telegram channel. He called it “another massive attack on our energy industry”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said “Nazi Putin” had launched the onslaught on the same day that Ukraine joined the rest of Europe in marking the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in the Second World War.

“Over 50 missiles and more than 20 Shahed drones targeted infrastructure in Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, and Ivano-Frankivsk regions. All necessary services are already working to mitigate the consequences of Russian terror,” he said on Twitter/X.

“The entire world must understand who is who. The world must not give a chance to new Nazism,” the Ukrainian leader said.

Ukraine’s air force said it had shot down 39 of 55 missiles and 20 of 21 attack drones used in the attack.

All missiles targeting Kyiv were destroyed, according to Serhiy Popko, head of the city’s military administration. Two people were injured in the Kyiv region, and one in the Kirovohrad region, interior minister Ihor Klymenko said.

Some 350 rescuers were racing to minimise the damage to energy facilities, 30 homes, public transport vehicles, cars, and a fire station, the interior ministry said.

Ukrenergo, the wartorn country’s national grid operator, confirmed damage from Russian strikes to one of its facilities in central Ukraine, but did not share more details in a bid to avoid revealing the impact of military attacks.

Officials in the central Poltava region said an energy infrastructure facility was hit by a drone attack, causing a fire.

In other targeted regions – Vinnytsia and Zaporizhzhia – governors said separately that critical civilian infrastructure facilities were damaged, without providing further detail.

Regional officials said that air defence systems were engaged in repelling the Russian attack over the Lviv region – bordering Nato member Poland – where several blasts took place.

Russia, which began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has launched a series of attacks on Ukrainian power facilities in recent months. After pounding the energy system in the first winter of the war, Russia renewed its aerial assault on the grid in March, as Ukraine was running low on stocks of sophisticated Western air defence missiles.

Ukraine has stepped up drone attacks on Russian refineries this year despite apparent objections by the United States, as it tries to find a pressure point against the Kremlin, whose forces are slowly advancing in the eastern Donbas region, which contains Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukrainian strikes on Russian refineries may have disrupted more than 15 per cent of Russian oil refining capacity, a Nato military alliance official has said.

Reuters contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in