Written by 01:22 World

Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine’s Energy System, Again

Russian forces struck several of Ukraine’s energy facilities with drones and missiles early Saturday, in a major air assault that targeted cities across the country, including some near the borders with NATO members.

The Ukrainian Air Force said that Russia had fired 53 missiles at its territory, that it had shot down two-thirds, and that some had been heading toward the western Zakarpattia and Lviv regions, which border Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, countries that are part of NATO. The Polish Army said its fighter jets and those of other allies had been scrambled to protect their borders in case a Russian weapon crossed them, as has happened in the past.

The strike on Saturday was Russia’s sixth attack on energy facilities in Ukraine since March, part of a wider campaign seemingly aimed at cutting off power to swaths of the country and making life miserable for civilians.

The barrage of missiles, which a top Ukrainian official said had injured about 20 people and which targeted a part of the country that has been less affected by the war, could add urgency to Kyiv’s recent calls for help from allies to protect its vulnerable regions. The attack followed a week in which several NATO allies signaled approval for Ukraine’s limited firing of Western weapons into Russia, culminating with the United States on Thursday.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine argued in an interview with The New York Times last month that if Ukraine’s Western neighbors shot down Russian missiles coming close to their own borders — without having their planes cross into Ukrainian airspace — it would ease the burden on the Ukrainian Army, which is facing shortages of air defense ammunition and weapons.

“Technically, all of this is possible,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Shooting down Russian missiles already in Ukrainian territory, from their planes.”

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Last modified: 2 June 2024
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