Friday, July 19, 2024

At least 19 injured as Russia hits Ukraine’s power grid with fresh barrage

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russia pummeled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with a large-scale drone and missile attack Saturday, injuring at least 19 people, local officials said.

The Ukrainian military reported that it had downed 35 out of the 53 missiles launched at targets across the country overnight on June 1, as well as 46 out of 47 attack drones.

Injuries were reported by officials across the country, including in Ukraine’s western Lviv region and the central Dnipropetrovsk region.

Twelve people, including eight children, were hospitalized after a strike close to two houses where they were sheltering in the Kharkiv region, said Gov. Oleh Syniehubov.

The strikes were part of a series of sustained attacks by Russia against Ukraine’s power grid, which has been ongoing since March.

Ukraine’s largest private energy firm, DTEK said that two of its power plants had been seriously damaged in what it said was the sixth attack on the company’s plants in two and a half months.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Energy Minister, Herman Halushchenko, said in a statement on social media that energy infrastructure in the Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kirovohrad and Ivano-Frankivsk regions had also been targeted.

Damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in recent weeks has forced leaders of the war-ravaged country to institute nationwide rolling blackouts. Without adequate air defenses to counter assaults and allow for repairs, the shortages could still worsen as need spikes in late summer and the bitter-cold winter.

In response to the strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated Kyiv’s need for additional air defense systems from its Western allies.

“Civilians, infrastructure and energy facilities. This is what Russia is constantly at war with,” he said in a post Saturday on X, formerly Twitter.

“Our partners know exactly what is needed for this. Additional Patriot and other modern air defense systems for Ukraine. Accelerating and expanding the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine. Providing our warriors with all the necessary capabilities.”

Elsewhere, five civilians died amid Ukrainian shelling in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region, said the area’s Moscow-installed leader Denis Pushilin. Another three people were injured, he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said that it had shot down two Ukrainian drones on Saturday morning over Russia’s Belgorod region. No casualties were reported.

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