Russia launched its most significant missile assault on Ukraine in weeks, targeting energy facilities in what appears to be the opening salvo of a fresh air campaign against the Ukrainian power grid.
Power outages were reported in five Ukrainian regions spanning the west, center, and east, reminiscent of last winter’s multiple airstrikes on critical infrastructure that left millions of Ukrainians without electricity during the bitter cold.
Officials reported at least 18 casualties from the airstrikes, including a 9-year-old girl, with a regional governor confirming two deaths resulting from separate overnight Russian shelling incidents.
Lawmaker Andrii Osadchuk expressed concern, stating, “Winter is coming. Tonight (Russia) renews missile attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.”
Ukrenergo, the grid operator, revealed that this was the first Russian attack on power infrastructure in six months, noting damage to facilities in western and central regions.
Telegram messenger conveyed their message: “There were partial blackouts in the Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv regions.”
Ukraine has been striving to repair its infrastructure over the past few months after last winter’s attacks severely damaged almost half of the nation’s energy system, leading grid operators to implement regular rolling power cuts.
Although Ukraine now boasts improved Western-supplied air defenses, defending such a vast territory remains a daunting challenge.
Since mid-July, Russia had primarily focused its air strikes on port and grain infrastructure, disrupting Kyiv’s efforts to export food products.
Tragically, many of these attacks have resulted in civilian casualties, although Moscow denies intentionally targeting civilians.
Russia offered no comment on the fresh airstrikes, which coincided with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to the United States for talks following the U.N. General Assembly, where he sought to bolster support for Ukraine.
Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, reported that Russia fired 43 cruise missiles in multiple waves overnight, with Ukrainian air defenses successfully intercepting 36 of them.
Witnesses in Kyiv described loud blasts that rocked the city and its surroundings at dawn.
The capital, Kyiv, experienced injuries to seven individuals, including a nine-year-old girl, as missile debris fell in the city center, damaging infrastructure and causing fires.
Reports also emerged of damage and injuries in other regions, including Cherkasy, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskiy, Rivne, Vinnytsia, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and a western city, Drohobych, near the Polish border.
In a separate incident, Russian shelling resulted in two fatalities in the southern city of Kherson, with Ukrainian intelligence sources reporting a counterattack on the Saky air base in Russian-occupied Crimea, causing substantial damage.
The Russian military announced the destruction of 19 Ukrainian drones over Crimea and the Black Sea, along with three additional drones over other parts of Russia, without providing specific details on casualties or damage.