02:24 - Source: CNN
Largest power plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region destroyed in Russian attack
CNN  — 

Russia destroyed the largest power-generating plant in Ukraine’s Kyiv region in a missile attack on Thursday, as President Volodomyr Zelensky accused the West of “turning a blind eye” to his country’s need for more air defenses.

Ukraine’s Air Force said it shot down 18 of the incoming missiles and 39 of the drones. Russia fired 82 missiles and drones in total, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles – none of which Ukraine’s air defenses were able to down.

There were no casualties, and the attack has not resulted in power cuts in Ukraine’s capital region Kyiv or other regions supplied by Trypilska TPP.

The Trypilska Thermal Power Plant (TPP), the largest supplier of electricity to Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions, was completely destroyed, according to the energy company Centrenergo. The company has lost 100% of its power generation across its three plants, which have all been destroyed or occupied by Russia.

“A black day in the history of Centrenergo,” it said in a statement. “The scale of the destruction is terrible. Money can’t estimate it. This is the biggest challenge for us in the history of the company.”

Over more than two years of war, Russia has systematically targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in an attempt to break the country’s power grid and, with it, the Ukrainian people’s spirit, by depriving them of electricity, heat, water and other essential services in the often-freezing winter temperatures.

Videos on social media showed vast plumes of smoke billowing from the Trypilska plant as a fire continued to rage.

The attack on the Trypilska plant follows a recent Russian attack that destroyed the company’s plant in the Kharkiv region, Zmiivska TPP, on March 22, according to the Centrenergo statement. Russian troops occupied the company’s third plant, Vuhlehirska TPP, in the Donetsk region in July 2022. The total designed capacity of the three power plants was 7690 MW, according to the company’s website.

DTEK, Ukraine’s biggest power company, also said that Russia on Thursday launched missile and drone attacks against two power stations it owns, causing “serious damage.”

The company, which generates 20% of Ukraine’s energy, said over the past three weeks it had suffered the worst attacks since Russia launched the full-scale invasion in 2022. It said approximately 80% of the power-generating facilities it runs had been destroyed by Russian strikes.

“All of our European neighbors and other partners see Ukraine’s critical need for air defense systems,” Zelensky said Thursday. He said if Russia was allowed to continue striking its energy infrastructure, “this will amount to a global license for terror.”

“We need air defense systems and other defense assistance, not just turning a blind eye and having lengthy discussions,” he said.

Despite the destruction, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Centrenergo, Andriy Gota, said “I am convinced that we will cope with it.”

Ukraine has previously coped with significant power losses. The biggest loss came shortly after the invasion, when Russian forces seized control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – which previously accounted for about 20% of the country’s power generation. Ukrainian staff have since put the plant’s reactors into a “cold shutdown” status to prevent a major radioactive incident.

CNN’s Victoria Butenko contributed reporting.