Russia batters Ukrainian power grid in overnight strikes

The attacks targeted electricity sites in central and eastern Ukraine, including in the Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Donetsk regions, according to the Energy Ministry.

Russian forces launched another barrage of strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities overnight, damaging power infrastructure even as Kyiv’s air defences managed to shoot down dozens of drones and missiles, authorities said Thursday.

The attacks targeted electricity sites in central and eastern Ukraine, including in the Dnipropetrovsk, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Donetsk regions, according to the Energy Ministry. Ukraine’s largest private power utility DTEK said three workers were wounded when one of its thermal plants suffered serious damage.

Ukraine’s Air Force said its air defences downed 27 explosive drones and five of nine missiles fired by Russia during the overnight bombardment. However, it acknowledged that ballistic Iskander-M missiles launched from Russia’s Voronezh region were not intercepted.

The latest strikes underscore Ukraine’s vulnerability to Russian missile barrages despite receiving advanced Western air defence systems like the Patriot. With a limited supply, Kyiv cannot cover the entire nation.

Russia has pummeled Ukraine’s power grid with rocket and drone attacks since last October, causing rolling blackouts as utility crews race to make repairs ahead of winter’s peak energy demand.

The bombardments are part of a wider Russian strategy to degrade Ukraine’s infrastructure and sap civilian morale after a series of battlefield setbacks for Moscow’s forces over the past year.

Despite the damage, Ukrainian officials insist the power grid is holding up through contingency plans and mobile repair crews working around the clock. They have accused Russia of terrorism for the indiscriminate attacks on civilian infrastructure.

The overnight strikes came as Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Vietnam in an attempt to shore up support from a traditional ally amid his nation’s increasing isolation over the invasion of Ukraine.

The diplomatic outreach represented a rebuke of U.S. criticism that no country should give Putin a platform to promote his war of aggression.

While strengthening ties abroad, Moscow also said Ukraine launched its series of drone attacks across Russian territory overnight. Officials claimed shooting down 14 Ukrainian drones, one of which killed a woman when it crashed into a home.

As the war nears the 16-month mark, neither side shows willingness to engage in serious peace talks to end the conflict, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.