Russia carries out the largest attack on Ukraine's energy system since the start of the war

Russia launched what Kyiv described as "the most massive attack on energy infrastructure since the beginning of hostilities" overnight into Friday, 22 March. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that around 90 missiles of various types and 60 drones targeted facilities across the country. According to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, air defence units shot down 37 rockets and 55 drones. Nevertheless, Ukraine's Energy Minister German Galushchenko highlighted that the attacks caused damage to power generation objects, transmission systems, and electricity distribution networks in various regions.

Over 15 strikes targeted Zaporizhzhia, including hits on Ukraine's largest hydroelectric power station – the DniproHES. The Ukrainian Ministry of Energy reported a fire at the station, with emergency services and energy workers responding on-site. According to Ihor Syrota, head of Ukrhydroenergo, there is a risk of losing the station due to the attacks. The facility suffered two direct hits – affecting HES-1 and HES-2. "HES-2 is in a critical state, HES-1 is also not operational, so we are doing everything we can to lift the gates and regulate the water, because, unfortunately, we won't be able to process this water through the station," quoted, citing the head of Ukrhydroenergo. He assured that there was no threat of the dam breaking and no staff casualties were reported at the station. Petro Andryushchenko, advisor to the Mariupol mayor, disclosed that one rocket struck a trolleybus crossing the dam of the DniproHES, resulting in passenger casualties.

During the large-scale missile attack on Ukraine, the state-owned company "National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom" reported the disconnection of the 750 kV overhead power line "Dniprovskaya," which links the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) with Ukraine's unified energy system. Currently, the Zaporizhzhia NPP remains connected to the Ukrainian energy system via the 330 kV power transmission line "Zaporizhzhia TPP - Ferroalloy", which Ukrainian energy workers had repaired just last week after another Russian shelling.

More than 15 explosions were heard in Kharkiv, following which the city experienced a power outage and internet issues. Municipal authorities reported civilian casualties. Mayor Ihor Terekhov stated that the blackout caused problems with water supply due to pump station outages. Morning public transport will not operate on electric lines; buses will take over transport services.

In Kryvyi Rih, critical infrastructure facilities were hit, and emergency electricity outage schedules are being implemented. Hits on critical infrastructure objects are also reported in Vinnytsia region. Power outages have been recorded in Khmelnytskyi, where two fatalities are known, and in Dnipro.

"The terrorists have resorted to last year's tactics and continue the war against civilians," commented Andriy Yermak, Head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, on the overnight attack. "We need more air defense/missile defense. And quickly. The world must not just watch," he wrote on his Telegram channel.

  War in Ukraine, Russia