Nuclear power plant knocked off grid in wave of Russian missile strikes in Ukraine
nuclear power plant in Ukraine was knocked off the electricity grid in a wave of Russian missile strikes leaving it with just ten days of power from generators, energy chiefs said on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant which is under Russian control, lost electric power supply due to a Russian missile attack on the remainder of Ukraine, the Energoatom state company said in a statement on Thursday.
“The last link between the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and the Ukrainian power system was cut off,” it said.
It came as Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles across Ukraine cities, including Kyiv, early on Thursday , leaving at least five dead and wounding several others.
The missiles have targeted energy infrastructure in the first attack on such a scale in three weeks. Ukrainian officals report hits on residential buildings as well.
Air raid sirens wailed for hours across Ukraine and defence systems were activated around the country. It’s unclear how many missiles struck targets or were intercepted.
At least 40 per cent of residents in the capital Kyiv were left without heating because of emergency power cuts following the blasts.
Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko condemned the missile strikes as “another barbaric massive attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine,” saying in a Facebook post that facilities in Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions had been targeted.
Ukrainian Railways reported power outages in certain areas, with 15 trains delayed up to an hour.
Governor of the western Lviv region Maksym Kozytskyi said four people were killed there after a missile hit a residential area in the Zolochivskyi district.
Emergency workers were combing through the rubble, he said, under which more people could be trapped.
One person was killed in the Dnipropetrovsk region, its Gov. Serhii Lysak reported, adding that two more were wounded in multiple strikes across the region.
The Kyiv mayor reported damage in two districts, and the Kharkiv and Odesa governors said residential buildings were hit there.
People react at the site of a Russian missile strike in Kyiv
In eastern Ukraine, 15 missiles struck Kharkiv and the outlying northeastern region, hitting residential buildings, according to Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Syniehubov.
He promised to reveal more details about the scale of the damage or any casualties in Ukraine’s second-largest city.
“Objects of critical infrastructure is again in the crosshairs of the occupants,” he said in a Telegram post.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov reported on Telegram that there were “problems with electricity” in some parts of the city.
The governor of the southern Odesa region, Maksym Marchenko, also reported strikes on Odesa, saying that energy facilities and residential buildings were hit. Marchenko warned on Telegram for people to stay in shelters.
Emergency workers respond after a missile strike in Kyiv
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is occupied by Russian forces, lost power as a result of the missile attacks, according to nuclear state operator Energoatom.
It was the sixth time the plant was in a state of blackout since it was taken over by Russia months ago, forcing it to rely on 18 diesel generators that can run the station for 10 days, Energoatom said. Nuclear plants need constant power to run cooling systems and avoid a meltdown.
Preventive emergency power cuts were applied in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Odesa regions, supplier DTEK said.
More explosions were reported in the northern city of Chernihiv and the western Lviv region, as well as in the cities of Dnipro, Lutsk and Rivne. Ukrainian media also report explosions in the western regions of Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil.
Russia has been hitting Ukraine with these massive missile attacks since last October.
Initially, the barrages targeting the country’s energy infrastructure took place weekly, plunging the entire cities into darkness, but became more spread out in time, with commentators speculating that Moscow may be saving up ammunition.
The last massive barrage took place on February 16.