Russia hits Ukrainian hydropower plants in new missile strikes
KYIV — Russia fired dozens of missiles at Ukrainian energy facilities including hydroelectric power stations on Monday, causing widespread blackouts, mobile phone outages, and reductions in water supplies.
Explosions rocked Kyiv and thick black smoke billowed over the capital in a wave of attacks on Monday morning that Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said targeted 10 Ukrainian regions and damaged 18 mostly energy-related facilities.
A major hydroelectric power plant at Kremenchuk in central Ukraine came under attack, the regional governor said, without making clear whether it had been hit or damaged.
Unconfirmed reports on social media and local media reports suggested hydroelectric power plants had also been attacked in the Kyiv region, in the southern regions of Odesa and Zaporizhzhia, and in the central Cherkasy region.
“Another barbaric attack on Ukraine’s energy system took place this morning. Electric substations, hydropower, and heat generation facilities were hit by rocket fire,” Energy Minister German Galushchenko wrote on Facebook.
He said there had been partial blackouts in some areas and emergency blackouts had been imposed in others to reduce the load on the energy system.
Russia did not immediately comment on the latest air strikes.
Shmyhal said hundreds of settlements lost power in attacks on “civilian critical infrastructure”, but that the consequences could have been worse because air defenses knocked out 44 of the more than 50 missiles that were fired on Monday morning.
‘Missile terror’ on Halloween
“On the occasion of Halloween, the Russians decided to carry out another act of missile terror,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
Referring to US-supplied anti-tank and long-range missile systems, it added: “Saint Javelin and Saint HIMARS will subdue the evil spirits.”
There was no immediate word on casualties though the governor of Kyiv said there had been “one victim” in what he described as “massive shelling” of the region.
Kyiv authorities said 350,000 apartments were left without electricity, water supplies were affected and mobile phone systems were down in some areas.
The mayor of Kharkiv said missiles had targeted “a critical infrastructure facility” in the northeastern city.
Ukrainian officials gave no details of damage to hydroelectric power stations, which produced about 5% of Ukraine’s electricity before Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
Russia has stepped up attacks on energy infrastructure and cities since blaming Kyiv for an explosion that damaged a bridge linking southern Russia with annexed Crimea.