February 21. 2024. 7:00

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Ukraine restores power to regions and nuclear plant after deadly Russian missile strikes

Ukraine restored electricity to several regions and to Europe’s biggest nuclear power station after Russia launched scores of missiles at the country, killing at least six people and damaging energy infrastructure.

Kyiv said the attack in the early hours of Thursday was unprecedented in terms of the spectrum of weapons used by Russia, which included six hypersonic Kinzhal rockets and other missiles that Ukraine cannot shoot down.

“The enemy fired 81 missiles in an attempt to intimidate Ukrainians again, returning to their miserable tactics. The occupiers can only terrorise civilians… But it won’t help them. They won’t avoid responsibility for everything they have done,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, adding that nine regions and the capital Kyiv had been targeted.

By Thursday evening, electricity had been restored to many of the affected areas, including Kyiv, and to the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant that Russian troops occupied when they seized parts of the southeastern province a year ago.


Ukraine restores power to regions and nuclear plant after deadly Russian missile strikes

Thursday’s images of the day

Thursday’s images of the day

Bakhmut: Ukrainian losses may limit capacity for counter-attack

Bakhmut: Ukrainian losses may limit capacity for counter-attack

German investigators confirm search of yacht suspected of role in Nord Stream sabotage

German investigators confirm search of yacht suspected of role in Nord Stream sabotage

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has monitors at the six-reactor plant, which has been damaged repeatedly by shelling since Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine last February, and the organisation’s director general, Rafael Grossi, said that early on Thursday it had switched to using backup diesel generators.

“This is the sixth time … that [the plant] has lost all off-site power and has had to operate in this emergency mode… Each time we are rolling dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time, then one day our luck will run out,” he told IAEA governors.

“We must commit to protect the safety and security of the plant. And we need to commit now,” added Mr Grossi, who has been pushing for the creation of a demilitarised “security zone” around the facility.

Drone footage released by the Governor of Lviv Maksym Kozytskyi shows the destruction in a rural Lviv village after a reported Russian missile strike.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that “the risk of a nuclear accident has increased a lot in the last hours”.

“This is a serious breach to nuclear safety … and Russia is putting in danger the entirety of our joint European continent, Russia included,” he said.

Ukraine said it shot down 34 missiles and four of eight explosive drones – a much lower strike rate for the country’s air defences than during other recent attacks.

“The enemy used a wide range of weapons today – almost all the missiles they often use separately, they decided to use together in a massive attack,” said Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat.

He said Ukraine did not have the means to intercept ballistic missiles used by Russia – including the S-300, X-22 and Kinzhal (“Dagger”) – a total of 25 of which were fired on Thursday.

“I don’t recall this happening before. The Russians used six Kinzhal at once,” Mr Ihnat said, referring to one of Russia’s most expensive weapons, only a few dozen of which are believed to be in the Kremlin’s armoury.

Moscow described its missile attack as retaliation for an alleged raid by Ukrainian gunmen on a Russian village near the two countries’ border last week, and said the strike hit energy facilities that serve Ukraine’s war effort and disrupted the movement of arms and troops. Kyiv has denied involvement in the incident in Russia’s Bryansk region.

Poland said on Thursday it had delivered 10 more German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, after sending four late last month, and Warsaw reiterated that it was ready to give its ageing MiG-29 warplanes to Ukraine. Slovak defence minister Jaroslav Nad said his country was prepared to do the same with its own stock of the Soviet-era jets.

Heavy fighting continued for control of the eastern road junction of Bakhmut, where senior Ukrainian commander Oleksandr Syrskyi said the situation was “very difficult”, but that Kyiv’s forces were still thwarting Russia attempts to encircle the ruined city.