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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Russian drone, missile attacks damage power facilities

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KYIV: Massive Russian missile and drone attacks hit thermal and hydro power plants in central and western Ukraine overnight, officials said on Friday, in the latest barrage targeting the country's already damaged power infrastructure.


Kaniv hydropower plant and Dnister plant, which is located on the Dnister River, flowing through neighbouring Moldova, were among the targets, President Volodymyr Zelensky said. "The terrorist state of Russia wishes to repeat the ecological disaster in the Kherson region following Russia’s destruction of the Kakhovka HPP (blown up by Russian forces last year). This time, not only Ukraine but also Moldova are at risk," he said on X.


Last week, Russia also hit Ukraine's largest dam, the DniproHES in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, eight times during a massive overnight attack. "We urge our partners to respond quickly and decisively to Russia's intensified bombing campaign against Ukraine's critical infrastructure," Zelensky said in a call for more air defences.


Regional officials said Russian forces had also attacked infrastructure overnight into Friday in the Kamianske district near the city of Dnipro. At least one person was wounded, they added. Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said power facilities in the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Cherkasy had similarly come under attack.


"Electricity generation facilities were targeted by drones and missiles," Gelushchenko said on Facebook. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that energy facilities in total of six regions had been damaged.


"Again, the attack was directed both against electricity generation facilities and against its distribution system," he added.


Power grid operator Ukrenergo said on Telegram it had to apply power cuts schedules up till the evening in three regions - Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kirovohrad. The largest private power firm, DTEK, said its three thermal power plants had come under attack on Friday, and equipment was severely damaged.


"Attacks destroyed half of DTEK’s available generating capacity. Five of the six DTEK power stations that had been operating prior to this week have now sustained serious damage," it said in a statement. It added that Russian strikes on energy facilities were becoming more "accurate and concentrated".


The Ukrainian military said its air force had destroyed 58 Russia-launched attack drones overnight from a total of 60, along with 26 of 39 missiles of various types. Reuters could not independently verify the report.


Ukrainian television said explosions were heard in the regions of Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytskyi as well as the city of Dnipro as Russian cruise missiles were spotted in Ukrainian air space.


Ukrainian power distributor Yasno said this week that DTEK lost about half its capacity following Russian missile and drone attacks. Ukrainian state-run Naftogaz oil and gas firm said its facilities had come under attack on Friday morning. "(Russian attacks) targeted Naftogaz Group's facilities, but there was no serious damage," it said in a statement, giving no more details.


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