Ukraine warns of outages after 'massive' attack on power plants

Ukraine warns of outages after 'massive' attack on power plants

Ukraine on Wednesday warned of possible power shutdowns across the country after a "massive" wave of Russian missiles and drones targeted the country's battered energy system.

rescuers working next to a crater following a missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow also said its forces had taken control of two more frontline villages, as it ups its attacks both on land and from the skies with Ukrainian troops struggling to hold the front line more than two years into the war.

"On the Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in World War II, Nazi (President Vladimir) Putin launched a massive missile attack on Ukraine," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The intensified strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure triggered fresh warnings of blackouts and electricity rationing.

"There may be power cuts for household and industrial consumers across Ukraine... due to new damage to the equipment of Ukrainian power plants caused by Russian strikes," power operator Ukrenergo said.

Russia's defence ministry said its strikes were in retaliation.

"In response to the Kyiv regime's attempt to damage Russian energy facilities, this morning the armed forces of the Russian Federation launched a group strike against energy facilities and enterprises of Ukraine's military-industrial complex," it said in a briefing.

Kyiv has hit Russian oil refineries and storage depots in drone attacks over recent months.

- 'Particularly difficult situation' -

Ukrenergo said it was working on overcoming power shortages in the face of a "particularly difficult situation", including by using emergency supplies from European countries.

The strikes targeted energy infrastructure facilities in at least six regions, the ministry said.

"The enemy has not abandoned plans to deprive Ukrainians of light," Energy Minister German Galushchenko said, condemning what he called "another massive attack on our energy industry".

At least three thermal power plants were "seriously damaged" overnight according to Ukraine's largest private energy operator DTEK.

This was the fifth attack on the company's energy facilities in a month and a half, DTEK said.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said Wednesday that Kyiv had created a new government task force to "coordinate work on overcoming the consequences of Russian energy terror."

With the war showing no signs of ending, he said it would focus on preparing Ukrainian homes and businesses to get through the next fall and winter.

- Battlefield advances -

Russia said Wednesday its forces had captured two more frontline villages in Ukraine, including in the northeast Kharkiv region where it was forced to retreat from in 2022.

Russian army units "liberated the village of Kyslivka in the Kharkiv region" and Novokalynove in the eastern Donetsk region, the defence ministry said.

Kyslivka is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the embattled Ukrainian stronghold of Kupiansk, while Novokalynove is about 10 kilometres north of Avdiivka, captured by Moscow in February.

Moscow has notched up a number of territorial gains since seizing Avdiivka as it presses an advantage in manpower and ammunition on the battlefield.

Kyiv says the arrival of long-delayed US military supplies will help it stabilise the situation on the front lines.

Even with Washington signing off a $61 billion package of aid to Kyiv, Zelensky has been urging his allies to supply more air defences amid continued aerial attacks.

Russia launched 55 missiles and 21 attack drones at Ukraine overnight, the air force said on Telegram, adding it intercepted 39 missiles and 20 drones.

Russian forces launched several cruise missiles towards the capital, putting Kyiv on alert for over three hours, according to the local administration.

ALSO READ: Kyiv, Moscow trade accusations of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant attacks

Moscow has launched some of its biggest ever strikes on Ukraine's energy facilities in recent months, knocking out a significant chunk of production.

Around 200,000 households in the northeastern Kharkiv region are facing power restrictions.

In the southern frontline region of Kherson, Russian shelling overnight killed a 65-year-old woman, the regional Ukrainian prosecutor's office said.

Injuries were also reported in the Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kirovograd regions.

Kyiv says Moscow is escalating attacks from the air and on land in a bid to secure a slew of successes ahead of May 9, when Russia marks victory in World War II.

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