Two weeks after surpassing the 365-day mark, Ukraine was hit Thursday by dozens of Russian missiles. These massive Russian strikes in Ukraine, the largest in weeks, have killed at least six people and left part of the population without power, as well as the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

Moscow called the bombings "retaliation" for an incursion into its territory on March 2 as Ukrainian "saboteurs." Russia also claims to have carried out these strikes using new Kinjal hypersonic missiles. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced Russian "miserable tactics" after bombings that hit nine regions of the country and its capital Kiev, and targeted energy infrastructure. According to the Ukrainian military, air defense shot down 34 of the 81 missiles launched by Moscow, and four Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones.

In Kharkiv, no electricity, water or heating

Meanwhile, pro-Russian separatists in Moldova's Transdniestria claimed to have foiled an attack Kiev allegedly planned against its leaders, raising fears of new tensions in the volatile territory in southwestern Ukraine.

Since October, after several military setbacks, Russia has regularly bombed key energy facilities in Ukraine with missiles and drones, plunging millions into darkness and cold.

In the Lviv region, a shooting at a residential area killed at least five people, the governor said, while the governor of the Dnipro region said a 34-year-old man was killed. Russian artillery also shelled Kherson, killing two people at a transport stop and a third at a nearby store, local authorities said.

The mayor of Kharkiv, a large city in the northeast near the Russian border, Igor Terekhov, announced that the entire city was without electricity, water and heating. "Russia is trying to completely destroy Ukraine's civilian infrastructure, that's why we have to provide (it) with something to defend itself," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said from Stockholm.

In Kiev, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko reported several explosions in the south and then west of the city, where police said at least three people were injured. The military administration claimed that 40 per cent of users in the capital were without heating. Preventive power cuts, according to the authorities, are also still in force in some neighborhoods. Power cuts were also reported in the Odessa region.

Risk of nuclear accident in Zaporozhye

The gigantic Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russian army in southern Ukraine, was also cut off from the Ukrainian power grid on Thursday, after a Russian strike, Ukrainian operator Energoatom said. "We are playing with fire and if we allow this situation to continue, one day our luck will turn," warned the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.

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According to Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator, Russian "missile attacks" have led to the disconnection of the last line still connecting the plant to the grid, and emergency diesel generators have been switched on to ensure minimal power to security systems.

But the operator warned of a risk of a nuclear accident if the external power supply was not restored. Early on Thursday, the power supply was finally "restored", the Ukrainian electricity operator announced.

  • War in Ukraine
  • Russia
  • Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Vladimir Poutine
  • Conflict
  • Kiev (Kyiv)
  • Odessa
  • IAEA
  • Kherson
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