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Russia launches barrage of 99 drones and missiles on Ukraine’s energy system, officials say

Moscow launched a large-scale attack on Ukraine's energy infrastructure Friday, with a mass barrage of 99 drones and missiles hitting regions across the country, Ukraine's armed forces said.

Air raid warnings rang out across the nation, with 10 Ukrainian regions coming under fire, the country's interior minister, Ihor Klymenko, said.

Russia has escalated its attacks on Ukraine in recent days, launching several missile barrages on the capital, Kyiv, and hitting energy infrastructure across the country in apparent retaliation for recent Ukrainian aerial attacks on the Russian border region of Belgorod. Such sporadic attacks, however, have been common throughout the war.

Large-scale blackouts have already affected Ukraine's eastern city of Kharkiv, where 700,000 people lost power after the city's thermal power plant was hit in a drone and missile attack on March 22.

In the winter of 2022-23, Russia targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure, causing frequent blackouts. Many in Ukraine and the West expected that Russia might repeat that strategy this winter, but Russia instead initially focused its strikes on Ukraine's defense industries.

Ukraine's state-owned grid operator, Ukrenergo, said Friday's attack deliberately targeted thermal and hydroelectric power plants across central and western regions.

In a statement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that Ukraine's Kaniv and Dniester hydroelectric power stations had come under attack and accused Moscow of risking an ecological disaster similar to the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in June 2023.

Both Kyiv and Moscow have accused the other of destroying the dam, but the various Russian allegations — that it was hit by a missile or taken down by explosives — fail to