Blackouts Hit Three Ukrainian Regions After Russian Air Attack

President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the attacks "energy terrorism" and the United Nations has described them as illegal.

Rescuers are seen working at the site of a missile attack in Mykolaivka, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. AFP


Ukraine said on Friday it had imposed emergency blackouts on three regions after Russia fired dozens of missiles and drones at its power stations overnight.

Moscow has stepped up its aerial bombardment of Ukraine in recent weeks, targeting energy infrastructure in response to deadly Ukrainian assaults on Russia’s border regions.

National grid operator Ukrenergo said its dispatch centre was “forced to apply emergency blackout schedules in the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kirovograd until the evening”.

Restrictions were already in place in the major cities of Kharkiv and Kryvyi Rih following a Russian strike last week.

“Consumers in other regions are asked to use electricity sparingly and consciously,” Ukrenergo warned.

The attacks come at a difficult time for Ukraine, which is facing critical shortages of air defences to protect its skies and ammunition to defend the front lines.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the air attacks were “becoming more frequent and massive, posing an increasing threat to Ukraine’s energy security”.

“Ukraine needs more air defence systems to secure critical infrastructure and protect the population,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said in a renewed plea to Kyiv’s Western allies.

The Russian defence ministry acknowledged it had used “long-range air, sea and land-based precision weapons” to target energy facilities but said the latter were being used by Ukraine’s “armed forces”.

Both sides accused each other of attacking civilian areas deep behind enemy lines on Friday.

A Russian drone killed a 39-year-old man and wounded another person near Ukraine’s southeastern city of Nikopol, while an air attack on Kamianske further north injured five people, including a child, authorities in Ukraine said.

Another 50-year-old man, a farmer, was found dead in the southern region of Kherson, its Ukrainian governor said, apparently after the tractor he was operating hit a mine.

Rescuers are seen working at the site of a missile attack in Mykolaivka, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian aerial attacks killed three people in frontline Ukrainian regions on March 28, 2024, local officials said. AFP


In Russia, a Ukrainian drone crashed into an apartment building in the border city of Belgorod, killing a man and wounding two others, the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said.

‘Use electricity sparingly’

Russia has battered Ukrainian energy infrastructure throughout the war, now in its third year.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has called the attacks “energy terrorism” and the United Nations has described them as illegal.

The air force said Moscow had targeted Ukraine’s “fuel and energy sector” with 99 missiles and drones overnight, 84 of which were shot down.

“Russian missiles hit thermal and hydroelectric power plants,” Ukrenergo said.

One of the country’s main energy providers, DTEK, said three thermal power stations had been attacked in the barrage, leaving facilities “severely damaged”.

“After the attack, the power engineers promptly started to deal with the consequences,” the company said in a statement online, adding that one employee had been wounded.

The energy ministry said the attack damaged power infrastructure in four regions across central and western Ukraine, causing power cuts and disrupting train traffic.

On the front lines, Ukraine has been forced onto a defensive footing in the past few months, struggling with ammunition shortages amid delays to a $60-billion aid package from the United States.

Its armed forces commander, Oleksandr Syrsky, said on Friday the situation in some areas of the battlefield was “tense”.

“The Russian occupiers continue to increase their efforts and have a numerical advantage in personnel,” he said.

“In addition, the enemy is conducting heavy artillery and mortar fire,” he added.

“Just a few days ago, the enemy’s advantage in terms of ammunition fired was about six to one.”