April 17, 2024

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Ukraine: At least five killed in massive Russian attacks

Ukraine: At least five killed in massive Russian attacks

Ukraine suffered massive overnight strikes on Friday that killed at least five people and led to major blackouts, while the Kremlin admitted Russia was “at war” after two years of rhetoric.

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Eight Russian missiles specifically hit a long river crossing Ukraine that is home to Ukraine's largest hydroelectric power station, the Dnieper, causing “very significant” damage but no immediate danger of the dam breaking, the prosecutor's office said.

The attacks specifically targeted the Ukrainian energy grid, leaving a total of 1.5 million people without electricity, according to the United Nations Ukraine Monitoring Mission.

The Russian military said it acted in retaliation for Kyiv's recent military operations against areas bordering Ukraine.

According to local and national authorities, at least five people were killed and around thirty injured in the Zaporizhia (south) and Khmelnytsky (west) regions.

In Moscow, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov publicly acknowledged for the first time that Russia was “in a state of war.”

Since the invasion began in February 2022, the Kremlin has clamped down on the use of the word “war” to impose the term “special military operation” through fines and prison terms.

Russian officials sometimes use the term, but they are referring to the conflict over Ukraine, which they blame on the West against Russia.

“It started as a special military operation, but … the collective West took part in all this together with Ukraine, and for us it turned into a war,” Peskov said in an interview with “Argumenti i Facti” media.

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power cut

Russian forces launched more than 60 Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones and 90 missiles of various types into Ukraine overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The targets of the attack were “power stations, high voltage lines, a hydroelectric dam, residences and even a trolley,” he asserted.

According to Yuriy Beloussov, an official at the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office, 136 energy installations were targeted, including Ukraine's largest hydroelectric plant, DniproHES, which was taken out of service.

“The damage is very significant,” he said on television, noting that “the site is very important for Ukraine.” However, he said there was no danger to the public.

The large-scale strikes led to blackouts in at least seven Ukrainian regions and damaged “dozens” of other installations, Ukrainian operator Ukrenergo noted.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, which had nearly a million and a half people before the war, is without electricity and heat as the blasts “severely damaged” energy infrastructure, its mayor Igor Derekov lamented. He considered it the “most powerful” attack against the city since the beginning of the war.

One of the two power lines supplying the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, which is in the hands of Russian forces, was cut by the blast before being restored.

As Congress continues to block $60 billion in aid, the US has condemned the “brutal” Russian attacks that demonstrate the need to support Ukraine.

Paris condemned them “in the strongest possible terms”.

One person died in Belgorod

The Russian military said it hit “energy and military-industrial infrastructure, railway terminals, weapons depots” in response to recent Ukrainian bombings on Russian territory.

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One person was killed and several others injured in an attack in the Russian border region of Belgorod on Friday morning.

Russia had already launched a massive attack on Kyiv in the early hours of Thursday, the first attack against the capital since early February.

The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces on Friday ruled that a Russian summer offensive involving 100,000 men was “possible”, while insisting that these were “gloomy predictions” and that the group was intended to cover human losses. .

The Russian military said it had captured villages in recent months in the face of ammunition-starved Ukrainian soldiers, but the front has been largely frozen for more than a year, with neither side making real progress.

Mr. Zelensky, for his part, was again irritated by the slowness of Western aid, with US aid blocked for months due to political rivalries between Republicans and Democrats and the European Union taking a critical delay.

“The Russian missiles are not behind schedule, unlike the aid package for our country. He quipped that Shaheds are not indecisive like some political leaders.