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Ukraine reels from massive Russian missile attack

Russia has carried out certainly one of its largest strikes on Ukraine together with with nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles that hit cities and knocked off back-up energy at Europe’s largest atomic plant.

Of the greater than 80 rockets fired, six had been nuclear-capable hypersonic Kh-47 Kinzhal air-to-surface missiles, in accordance with Ukrainian officers. The assault has left a lot of Kyiv with out electrical energy.

Russia has by no means earlier than fired so many Kinzhals in a single assault, mentioned Yuriy Ignat, spokesperson for Ukraine’s air power, who added that Russia solely had dozens of those missiles. The barrage included different kinds of missiles Ukraine was unable to intercept, akin to X-22 supersonic missiles.

Amongst Moscow’s targets had been residential areas in Kyiv and Europe’s largest nuclear energy plant at Zaporizhzhia, whose back-up energy was reduce off within the assault, in accordance with nuclear energy firm Energoatom.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, mentioned on Thursday that 40 per cent of Kyiv’s inhabitants was with out electrical energy because of the strikes, together with some blackouts in different elements of the nation.

The Zaporizhzhia plant was pressured to depend on diesel mills for cooling techniques, the corporate mentioned. Positioned in southern Ukraine and below Russian occupation since March 2022, the plant has been repeatedly hit by artillery strikes and has misplaced back-up energy provide a number of occasions.

“At present, the facility plant is de-energised and stays in blackout mode for the sixth time in the course of the occupation,” Energoatom mentioned in an announcement.

“If the off-site energy provide to the plant can’t be restored . . . an accident could happen having radiation penalties for the entire world,” the corporate added.

The Worldwide Atomic Power Company mentioned this was the primary time the plant had misplaced all energy since November and that the diesel mills, which it described as “the final line of defence”, solely had gasoline for 15 days.

In an emotional deal with to the IAEA board on Thursday, the company’s director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi mentioned: “What are we doing? How can we sit right here on this room this morning and permit this to occur? This can not go on.”

“I’m astonished by the complacency — what are we doing to forestall this occurring?” Grossi mentioned. “Every time we’re rolling a cube. And if we permit this to proceed time after time then sooner or later our luck will run out.”

The Russian defence ministry mentioned the strikes had been in retaliation for final week’s incursion by a pro-Ukrainian militia into Russia’s Bryansk border area.

“In response to terrorist acts within the Bryansk area organised by Kyiv on March 2, Russia’s navy forces carried out a large revenge strike,” the ministry mentioned in an announcement on Thursday. “The purpose of the revenge strike has been reached. Essential parts of the Ukrainian navy and energetic infrastructure have been hit.”

Along with the assaults on vitality infrastructure, explosions had been additionally recorded within the capital metropolis Kyiv and within the western Ukrainian area of Lviv, the place officers mentioned 5 civilians had been killed.

“It’s been a troublesome evening. An enormous rocket assault throughout the nation,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned in a Telegram publish. “The occupiers can solely terrorise civilians. That’s all they’ll do. Nevertheless it received’t assist them. They received’t keep away from accountability for every thing they’ve performed.”

Further reporting by Henry Foy in Brussels and Anastasia Stognei in Riga