Russia launched a major missile attack on energy facilities in Ukraine, marking its largest attack in weeks. Ukrainian officials believe this is the beginning of a new air campaign against the national power grid. The attack resulted in power cuts in five regions of Ukraine, reminiscent of the multiple air strikes on critical infrastructure last winter that caused widespread outages. At least 18 people were wounded in the strikes, including a nine-year-old girl, and two people were killed in separate Russian shelling. This renewed attack on Ukrainian energy infrastructure has raised concerns about the upcoming winter. Ukrenergo, the grid operator, reported damage to facilities in western and central regions. The blackouts affected the Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv regions. Ukraine has been working to repair its infrastructure after the attacks last winter severely damaged its energy system and led to regular power cuts. Despite having better air defenses supplied by the West, Ukraine still faces significant challenges in defending against attacks across its large territory. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during his visit to the United States, condemned the attack and called for more air defense, sanctions, and support for Ukrainian soldiers. In response, President Joe Biden was expected to announce a new $325 million military aid package for Ukraine. The attacks by Russia have not only targeted energy facilities but also port and grain infrastructure, affecting Ukraine’s ability to export food products. These attacks have resulted in civilian casualties, although Moscow denies deliberately targeting them. Russia has not commented on the recent air strikes, claiming that Ukraine has been attacking targets inside Russia. Ukraine reported that Russia fired 43 cruise missiles in several waves, with Ukrainian air defenses successfully intercepting 36 of them. The attacks caused loud blasts in Kyiv and the surrounding region, injuring several people and damaging buildings. Missile debris fell in the city center, and a Pepsi Co Inc plant was also damaged. Blasts were reported in various regions of Ukraine, including Cherkasy, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskiy, Rivne, Vinnytsia, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk. Lviv’s regional governor confirmed that three Russian missiles hit the city of Drohobych, causing damage to infrastructure facilities and warehouses. In a separate attack, two people were killed by Russian shelling in Kherson. The Ukrainian military also launched an attack on the Saky air base in Russian-occupied Crimea, causing significant damage. Russia did not comment on this attack but claimed to have destroyed 19 Ukrainian drones over Crimea and the Black Sea. The situation remains tense, with both sides engaged in military actions.
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