Russian missile strikes on Ukraine leave at least nine dead; UN warn urgent action needed to protect Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after power lost in attacks
Russia unleashed its largest missile bombardment against Ukraine in three weeks in the early hours of Thursday, including six hypersonic missiles able to evade air defences. At least nine civilians were reported killed. Critical infrastructure and residential buildings in 10 regions were hit, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said. “The occupiers … won’t avoid responsibility for everything they have done.”
At least six of the dead were killed in a strike on a residential area in the western Lviv region, 700km (440 miles) from the frontline, Ukrainian emergency services said. Three buildings were destroyed by fire after the missile attack and rescue workers were combing through rubble looking for more possible victims.
Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 81 missiles in total, alongside eight Shahed drones. It claimed to have shot down 34 cruise missiles and four of the drones.
The attacks also briefly disconnected Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant from the grid. Ukraine said the Zaporizhzhia plant was forced on to emergency diesel power to prevent a meltdown. It was later reconnected to Ukraine’s energy grid, operator Ukrenergo said.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog chief, Rafael Grossi, told his board of governors that urgent action was needed to protect the Zaporizhzhia plant’s safety and security.
Russia’s defence ministry said it had carried out a “massive retaliatory strike” as payback for a cross-border raid last week. It claimed to have hit all its intended targets, destroying drone bases, disrupting railways and damaging facilities that make and repair arms.
Ukrainian authorities insist they will continue to try to hold the eastern city of Bakhmut, despite suffering an estimated 100-200 casualties a day. Ukraine’s national security chief, Oleksiy Danilov, has said that one Ukrainian is killed for every seven Russians, and claimed that Ukrainian soldiers are killing as many as 1,100 Russians a day. Western officials have estimated Russian casualties in Bakhmut at 20,000-30,000.
Russia’s state-owned news agency Tass claims security services in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria have foiled an assassination attempt on its internationally unrecognised leader, Vadim Krasnoselsky. Tass reported Transnistria’s security forces claimed Ukrainian security services were the source of the plans.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has reportedly been snubbed by the Oscars for the second year in a row. According to Variety, Zelenskiy had been hoping to appear on this Sunday’s telecast following on from previous cultural appearances but the request has been denied.
Ukraine will take part in a European Union scheme to jointly buy gas in global markets, to procure 2bn cubic metres of the fuel ahead of next winter, the EU energy policy chief said.
Belarus’s authoritarian president has signed a bill introducing capital punishment for state officials and military personnel convicted of high treason. The amendments to the country’s criminal code endorsed by President Alexander Lukashenko envisage death sentences for officials and service personnel who cause “irreparable damage” to Belarus’s national security through acts of treason.
Russia has introduced personal sanctions against 144 government officials, journalists, lawmakers and other public figures from the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – deemed “most hostile” to Moscow.