Two weeks after having exceeded the milestone of 365 days of conflict, Ukraine was hit on Thursday by several dozen Russian missiles. These massive Russian strikes in Ukraine, the largest in weeks, killed at least six people and deprived part of the population of power, as well as the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
Moscow called the bombings “reprisals” to an incursion into its territory on March 2 by Ukrainian “saboteurs”. Russia also claims to have carried out these strikes using new Kinjal hypersonic missiles. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced for his part the Russian “miserable tactics” after bombings which affected nine regions of the country and its capital Kiev, and targeted energy infrastructure. According to the Ukrainian army, the anti-aircraft defense shot down 34 of the 81 missiles launched by Moscow, and four Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones.
In Kharkiv, no electricity, water or heating
At the same time, the pro-Russian separatists of Transdniestria, in Moldova, claimed to have foiled an attack that kyiv would have prepared against its leaders, raising fears of new tensions in this unstable territory located in the south-west of Ukraine.
Since October, after several military setbacks, Russia has regularly bombarded Ukraine’s key energy facilities with missiles and drones, plunging millions into darkness and cold.
In the Lviv region, a shooting in a residential area killed at least five people, the governor said, while the governor of the Dnipro region told him that a 34-year-old man had been killed. Russian artillery also shelled Kherson, killing two people at a transport stop and a third at a nearby store, local authorities said.
The mayor of Kharkiv, a large city in the northeast near the Russian border, Igor Terekhov, announced that the entire city was without electricity, water and heating. “Russia is trying to completely destroy the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine, that’s why we have to provide (it) with what to defend itself,” reacted the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, from Stockholm.
In kyiv, Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported several explosions in the south and then the west of the city, where police said at least three people were injured. The military administration claimed that 40% of users in the capital were deprived of heating. Preventive power cuts, according to the authorities, are also still in effect in some neighborhoods. Power cuts were also reported in the Odessa region.
Risk of nuclear accident in Zaporozhye
The gigantic Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russian army in southern Ukraine, was also cut off from the Ukrainian electricity grid on Thursday after a Russian strike, announced the Ukrainian operator Energoatom. “We are playing with fire and if we allow this situation to continue, one day our luck will change,” warned from Vienna the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.
According to Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator, Russian “missile attacks” led to the disconnection of the last line still connecting the plant to the network, and emergency diesel generators were started to ensure a minimum supply of security systems.
But the operator warned of a risk of nuclear accident if the external power supply was not restored. In the early afternoon of Thursday, the power supply was finally “restored”, announced the Ukrainian electricity operator.