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Energy Minister: Russia damaged 80% of Ukraine’s thermal power plants, half of hydroelectric ones

Russia has damaged 80% of Ukraine’s non-nuclear power plants, including half its hydroelectric ones, and multiple substations over recent weeks, Ukraine’s Energy Minister says.
Ukrainian PM: "We need 24 hours" to restore power for 1 million left in dark by Russian strikes
The Dnipro Hydroelectric Plant after overnight Russian strikes on 22 March 2024. Photo: Ukrinform
Energy Minister: Russia damaged 80% of Ukraine’s thermal power plants, half of hydroelectric ones

As reported by Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko highlighted the severity of the situation during a meeting with his Danish counterpart, Lars Aagaard, in Kyiv on 8 April, stating that the ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy system are the most extensive to date, with a large number of substations targeted, affecting the transmission of electricity.

“This is the largest attack, and it is happening every night,” he said.

The minister noted an increase in the scale and intensity of the attacks, with more than 150 aerial weapons, including Iranian-designed Shahed explosive drones and missiles, used in a single day on 22 March, compared to an average of about 100 during 2022-2023. The increase has significantly amplified the damage caused by each attack.

On 22 March, Russia launched a new phase of massive bombardments on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, firing 88 missiles and 63 Shahed drones in what became the largest attack on the energy system since the war began. Notably, the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station (DniproHES) was among the targets. Consequently, emergency power outages were implemented in seven regions to manage the crisis.

In recent weeks, Russian strikes have escalated, causing damage to 80% of Ukraine’s thermoelectric power plants and half of its hydro plants, as per Halushchenko. The capital city, Kyiv, and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, have experienced blackouts due to these attacks.

Ukrainian energy grid under attack

Ukraine’s largest electricity producer, DTEK Group, reported that the damage from Russian missile attacks in March was twice as high as after the winter of 2022, with critical equipment destroyed at six main thermal power plants and an estimated $230 million needed for replacements, aiming to repair five of the six plants before winter.

Earlier, Ukraine’s state power operator Ukrenergo said the only way to protect Ukraine’s energy system from the severe effects of Russian attacks is to decentralize electricity production throughout the country by building hundreds of small power plants.

Between March 22 and 29, Russia targeted at least seven thermal power plants in regions with less robust air defenses compared to Kyiv, which boasts one of the country’s most effective air defense systems. Additionally, Russian missiles struck two hydroelectric power plants.

Following the 22 March attack, the Ukrainian hydropower operator Ukrhydroenergo stated that the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, suffered severe damage from Russian missile strikes, with its HPP-2 plant critically damaged, HPP-1 offline, and significant restoration challenges, although there was no risk of a dam breach.

Russia targets Ukraine’s energy infrastructure: explosions rock multiple cities in Ukraine (updates)

The Ukrainian intelligence HUR has claimed today that Russia has enough missiles for one or two more massive attacks in the coming weeks. Earlier, HUR chief Kyrylo Budanov said Russia had been accumulating Kalibr cruise missiles, which could be used to strike Ukraine soon as their Kh-101 missile stocks decrease. Kh-101 is an air-launched cruise missile used by Russia most widely in its attacks against Ukraine.

The Russian air attacks occur every day. For instance, today, 8 April, local authorities reported that a Russian missile struck an industrial facility in Zaporizhzhia City, injuring eight people, following a Russian missile attack on an unspecified industrial site in the city on 5 April, which also damaged residential buildings and resulted in four fatalities.

Russian airstrikes on Sumy and Zaporizhzhia regions leave civilians dead and injured

On 7 April, Russia claimed that a Ukrainian drone ostensibly attacked the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant, occupied by Russians since 2022. Ukrainian authorities have denied any involvement in drone strikes on the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

In late March, Ukraine’s Security Service SBU announced the detention of two suspected Russian agents spying on potential missile strike targets like the capital’s TV tower, thermal power plant, and military units on orders from Moscow’s FSB intelligence agency.

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