Russia barrages Ukraine with 99 drones and missiles

Inna, 71, holds food items outside her house which was destroyed by a Russian drone attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 28th 2024
Inna, 71, holds food items outside her house which was destroyed by a Russian drone attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Thursday, March 28th 2024 Copyright Andriy Andriyenko/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Andriy Andriyenko/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Kyiv claimed its air defences shot down 84 of them, whilst the energy minister said three power stations were hit.

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Air raid warnings rang out across the country, with 10 Ukrainian regions coming under fire, the Interior Minister, Ihor Klymenko, said. The main target was the energy grid.

Russia has escalated its attacks on Ukraine in recent days, launching several missile barrages on 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.

In the winter of 2022-23, Russia targeted Ukraine’s energy grid, causing frequent blackouts across the country. Many in Ukraine and the West expected that Russia might repeat this strategy this winter, but Russia instead focused its strikes on Ukraine’s defence industries.

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

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private electricity operator, also said that three of its thermal power plants had been damaged in the attack.

Elsewhere, five people, including a 5-year-old girl, were wounded during the attack in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, said local governor Serhii Lysak.

He later said that another man had been killed and one more injured in a separate drone attack Friday.

Also on Thursday, a Russian fighter plane crashed into the sea off Sevastopol the port city on the Crimea Peninsula, the Moscow installed governor of the region said.

It's not yet known whether it was shot down or suffered a malfunction. Some Russian military bloggers speculated that it may have been shot down by friendly fire.

Russian fighter jet crashes into sea off Crimea

Meanwhile, the bombardment in the west of Ukraine caused the Polish Armed Forces to scramble its own aircraft, the country’s operational command said on social media.

Last week Warsaw demanded an explanation from Moscow, after one of its missiles strayed briefly into Polish airspace during a major missile attack on Ukraine, prompting the NATO member to activate F-16 fighter jets.

Romania’s defence ministry also said on Friday that an investigation has been launched after fragments that appear to be from a drone were identified on its territory Thursday evening in an agricultural area of Braila county, close to the border with Ukraine.

It did not provide additional details, although since the start of the full-scale invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, NATO member Romania has confirmed drone fragments on its territory on several occasions.

Belgorod also came under fire Friday, Russia's Ministry of Defence wrote on social media. It said that it shot down 15 Ukrainian shells, with falling debris damaging a number of residential buildings. No casualties were reported.

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