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Ukraine power plant destroyed as Russia launches widespread attacks on energy grid

Russian missiles and drones destroyed a large electricity plant near Kyiv and hit power facilities in several Ukrainian regions on Thursday, officials said, ramping up pressure on the embattled energy system as Ukraine runs low on air defences.

Russian strikes destroy major power plant near Kyiv

16 hours ago

Duration 0:15

A large electricity plant near Kyiv was hit by Russian missiles and drones on Thursday. Videos obtained by Reuters showed the Soviet-era Trypilska coal-powered thermal power plant burning and black smoke billowing out of it.

Russian missiles and drones destroyed a large electricity plant near Kyiv and hit power facilities in several regions of Ukraine on Thursday, officials said, ramping up pressure on the embattled energy system as Ukraine runs low on air defences.

The major attack completely destroyed the Trypilska coal-powered thermal power plant near the capital, according to a senior official at the company that runs the facility.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had to launch the strikes in response to Ukrainian attacks in recent weeks on energy targets inside Russia.

Footage on social media showed a fire raging at the large Soviet-era facility and black smoke belching from it. Reuters was able to confirm the location of the video as the Trypilska station.

"We need air defence and other defence support, not eye-closing and long discussions," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on the Telegram messaging app, condemning the attacks as "terror."

Dozens of people are seen in outerwear, sitting on chairs or on the ground inside a structure that looks like a transit station.

Russia's Defence Ministry said it hit fuel and energy facilities in Ukraine in what it described as a massive retaliatory strike using drones and high-precision, long-range weapons from air and sea.

The strikes were a response to Ukrainian drone attacks on Russia's oil, gas and energy facilities, it said.

Calls for air defence supplies

Kyiv's appeals for urgent air defence supplies from the West have grown increasingly desperate since Russia renewed its long-range aerial assaults on the Ukrainian energy system last month.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was blunt in repeating calls for more U.S.-made Patriot missile systems.

"What is there to discuss?" he told the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform. "There is only a single question: Give us Patriot systems! If we had Patriots, we would not have lost all of this today."

The attacks, which hammered thermal and hydroelectric power plants, have sparked fears about the resilience of an energy system that was hobbled by a Russian air campaign in the war's first winter.

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'Everything is destroyed'

Ukraine's air force commander said air defences took down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 drones. The attack used 82 missiles and drones in total, the military said.

The destroyed power plant outside Kyiv, a major power supplier for the Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions, is the third and last facility owned by state-owned energy company Centrenergo.

"Everything is destroyed," Andriy Gota, head of the supervisory board of the company, said when asked about the situation at Centrenergo.

The Trypilska plant was the biggest energy facility near Kyiv and was built to have a capacity of 1,800 megawatts, more than the pre-war needs of Ukraine's biggest city.

The Ukrenergo grid operator said its substations and power generating facilities had been damaged in attacks on the regions of Odesa, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv and Kyiv.

Ukraine's largest private electricity company, DTEK, which lost 80 per cent of its generating capacity during Russia's March 22 and March 29 attacks, said Russia's attacks hit two of its power stations.

On Thursday afternoon, Russian forces attacked a thermal power station in the Sumy region in northern Ukraine with guided bombs. The scale of damage was not immediately clear.

Kharkiv electricity supply also affected

The strikes also attacked two underground storage facilities where Ukraine stores natural gas, including some owned by foreign companies, energy company Naftogaz said. The facilities continued to operate, it added.

"The situation in Ukraine is dire; there is not a moment to lose," said U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink, adding that 10 missiles struck critical infrastructure in the Kharkiv area alone.

Several one-story buildings are shown destroyed, with smoke rising and wooden and concrete debris littering the ground.

The region of Kharkiv, which borders Russia and already has long, rolling blackouts in place, was forced to cut electricity for 200,000 people, presidential aide Oleksiy Kuleba said.

Ukraine has warned it could run out of air defence munitions if Russia keeps up the intensity of its strikes and that it is already having to make difficult decisions about what to defend.

There has been a slowdown in vital Western assistance and a major U.S. aid package has been blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Mobilization bill awaits president

Ukraine is also struggling to support its fatigued troops. Parliament passed a bill on Thursday to overhaul its army mobilization rules as Kyiv tries to generate fresh manpower.

The bill must be signed by Zelenskyy — who on Thursday secured a defence partnership with Lithuania — before it becomes law. Zelenskyy said in December that the military wanted to mobilize up to 500,000 more troops, leading to the push for changes in laws.

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Is Ukraine running out of soldiers? | About That

7 days ago

Duration 10:01

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lowered the minimum conscription age from 27 to 25, in an effort to replenish the country's depleted military. Andrew Chang explains why lowering the conscription age is so controversial, two years into a war of attrition.

Here is an overview of what the changes entail:

  • Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years of age would be required to update their personal data with the military authorities, allowing draft offices to see more easily who can be called up in any given region.
  • The bill does not set any time limit for wartime military service, meaning that soldiers who have been fighting since the beginning of the full-scale invasion still have no sense of when they will be demobilized. An earlier draft of the bill had proposed setting a time limit.
  • The bill proposes offering financial perks for people who volunteer to fight in the army and sign an army contract. In particular, those bonuses could include a certificate to buy a vehicle and financial assistance for first mortgage payments.
  • The bill would abolish mandatory conscription for Ukrainian men aged 18 or older, and replace it with basic military training for all men starting from September 2025.
  • One new provision in the bill would allow people who have been convicted and given a suspended sentence to serve in the army. Convicts are currently banned from any type of military service.
  • After being mobilized, all men must undergo compulsory training before being sent to a combat area.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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