Russia has launched its latest missile strike on Ukraine’s power infrastructure, resulting in significant damage to the country’s energy system.

Officials report that 34 missiles were launched overnight on Saturday 27 April, targeting four thermal power plants owned by Ukraine-based energy company DTEK.

The missiles were fired from air, land and sea at the targets, as stated on Telegram. Despite air defences intercepting 21 of these, 13 managed to penetrate, including all four Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles.

This is the fourth large-scale attack on its facilities that DTEK has experienced within a month. The attacks aim to disrupt energy supplies to millions of Ukrainians.

The company is currently assessing the extent of the damage and has not disclosed the precise locations of the affected plants.

However, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko indicated that the attacks occurred in the south-eastern Dnipropetrovsk region and the western Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, and have resulted in one energy worker being injured.

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DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko said on X: “The attacks were an attempt to destroy the lives of millions of people who rely on electricity to do things we take for granted: drink clean water, refrigerate food, reach apartments, talk to family members or light a child’s bedroom.”

The escalation of missile and drone attacks by Russia has had a severe impact on civilians and infrastructure, with Ukrainian air defences depleting their ammunition reserves.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has reiterated calls for more air defences and weapons from Ukraine’s allies.

The attacks have led to Ukraine losing 80% of its thermal power generation and 35% of its hydroelectric capacity.

While nuclear power forms the core of the energy system, the lost capacity is crucial for grid balance, especially with expected consumption increases later in 2024.

In April 2024, the Trypilska thermal power plant, Ukraine’s largest power-generating facility in the Kyiv region, was destroyed by Russian forces using a combination of 82 missiles and drones, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

The Trypilska plant was a key energy source for the Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions. Its 1.8GW capacity exceeded the pre-war electricity needs of Ukraine’s capital.