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Ukraine downs 5/9 missile, all 27 drones as Russia targets energy grid during nighttime attack

Russia launches massive overnight drone and missile strikes on Ukraine’s civilian energy infrastructure, damaging facilities in Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, and Kyiv oblasts. Ukraine says it has destroyed most missiles and all drones.
ukraine down 5/9 missile all 27 drones russia targets energy grid during nighttime attack air defence operation ukrainian mobile anti-air group february 2024
Air defence operation of a Ukrainian mobile anti-air group. February 2024. Photo: Suspilne Cherkasy / Daria Shevchenko
Ukraine downs 5/9 missile, all 27 drones as Russia targets energy grid during nighttime attack

In an overnight air assault on 20 June, Russia launched a massive strike against Ukraine, focusing on central and eastern regions and utilizing both air and ground-launched missiles as well as Iranian-made Shahed one-way attack drones.

The Commander of Ukraine’s Air Forces, Mykola Oleshchuk, provided details on the strike and Ukraine’s defensive response. According to him, Russia fired a total of 9 missiles of various types along with 27 Shahed-131/136 loitering munitions or “suicide” drones.

Ukraine’s air defenses, including fighter jets, surface-to-air missile units, electronic warfare assets and mobile fire groups were involved in repelling the attack. In the ensuing aerial battle, they successfully shot down 32 targets total.

Oleshchuk says Russia fired:

  • 4 Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles from Tu-95MS strategic bombers over the Caspian Sea (all 4 downed)
  • 3 Iskander-M ballistic missiles from Voronezh Oblast, Russia
  • 2 Kh-59 air-to-surface missiles from airspace over the Sea of Azov (1 downed)
  • 27 Shahed-131/136 loitering munitions from Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Russia (all 27 downed)

The strikes focused on targeting critical infrastructure in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, according to the commander. Air defenses were active across multiple oblasts including Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Cherkasy, Poltava, and Vinnytsia.

Energy infrastructure damaged in four regions

Russian forces carried out massive overnight drone strikes targeting civilian energy infrastructure across multiple regions of Ukraine. The attacks caused significant damage to equipment at power facilities in Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, and Kyiv oblasts, according to Ukraine’s state energy operator Ukrenergo.

The private energy company DTEK reported that one of its thermal power plants was hit, severely damaging equipment. Three DTEK employees were also injured while at the plant during the strike. Medical assistance was provided to the wounded workers.

Regional military administrations in Vinnytsia, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, and other regions had earlier reported explosions and drone attacks overnight within their regions.

DTEK highlighted that this was the seventh major air strike on its thermal power plants over the last three months. Since the full-scale Russian invasion began, DTEK’s plants have been shelled over 180 times, resulting in 53 employees being injured and three fatalities among its energy workers.

The overnight bombardment has further exacerbated the strain on Ukraine’s energy sector, which has been a prime target for Russian forces seeking to cripple the country’s critical infrastructure.

Russian attack leaves major Ukrainian hydroelectric station in critical condition

Starting March, Russia intensified its long-range strikes against Ukrainian power grid, multiple attacks inflicted significant damage on power generating facilities across Ukraine:

  • 22 March: Russia initiated a large-scale attack on Ukraine’s energy sector, firing 88 missiles and 63 Shahed drones. This was the largest attack on the energy system during the conflict, specifically targeting Dnipro Hydroelectric Station.
  • 29 March: A combined attack using strike drones and missiles across Ukraine, with 26 missiles of various types and 58 Shahed drones intercepted by Ukrainian Air Forces.
  • 11 April: Over 40 missiles and around 40 drones were launched at critical infrastructure in Kharkiv and its region, as well as Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, and Lviv oblasts. DTEK announced significant damage to equipment due to Russian strikes on two thermal power plants, with ongoing repair and recovery efforts. Centrenergo reported that the Tripilska Thermal Power Plant was completely destroyed by Russian shelling, causing a massive fire and 100% loss of generation capacity.
  • 8 May: Another massive air strike by Russia targeting power generation and transmission facilities in Poltava, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Vinnytsia oblast. Three Ukrainian thermal power stations suffered equipment damage.
  • 1 June: Russia attacked two DTEK thermoelectric power stations, damaging two hydroelectric stations and other equipment in Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kirovohrad, and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts.
  • 6 June: Russia targeted energy infrastructure again.

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