6 Ukrainian Civilians Dead After Russian Missile Strikes—Overnight Attack Means Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant Is On Emergency Power


At least six Ukrainian civilians are dead following overnight missile strikes across Ukraine Thursday, with the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—Europe’s largest—shifting to emergency power as a result, according to officials, as Russia says the attacks were a “massive retaliation strike” in response to an alleged attack by Ukraine on a Russian village last week.

Key Facts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Telegram post that Russia fired 81 missiles in a “massive rocket attack” Thursday, with missile strikes reported across 10 regions of the country striking “critical infrastructure and residential buildings.”

At least five civilians were killed in the Lviv region and another was killed in Dnipro, according to Reuters.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—located in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast region of Ukraine—is running on emergency diesel generators because of the attacks, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said in a Telegram post that 40% of the city is without heating and two people have been hospitalized from strikes on the Ukrainian capital.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Thursday the missile strikes were in retaliation to an alleged attack by Ukraine on Russian civilians in Bryansk last week—though Ukrainian officials have denied any involvement, according to the Associated Press.

Critical Quote

UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited Kyiv on Wednesday and emphasized that officials have “been fully mobilized to try and preserve the safety of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including in Zaporizhzhia,” adding “safety and security around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is also vital.” Guterres suggested a “full demilitarization” of the area surrounding the plant prior to the attacks.

Surprising Fact

Russia fired Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in the strikes, according to Ukraine’s armed forces. The Kinzhal missiles—traveling at five times the speed of sound—are notable because of how difficult they are to intercept, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In March 2022, President Joe Biden said the missiles are “almost impossible” to stop, noting “there’s a reason they’re using it.”

Key Background

Russian security officials claimed a Ukrainian armed group led an assault on a village in Russia’s Bryansk region last week, while the Russian government said the “terrorist attack” resulted in the deaths of at least two civilians, according to CNN. Mykhailo Podolyak, one of Zelensky’s advisors, denied the claims and suggested they were a “classic deliberate provocation” in an attempt to “scare its people” to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite the allegations, the Russian Volunteer Corps—a Ukraine-based far-right group of Russian white nationalists—has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Washington Post.

Further Reading

Russia Raises Stakes With Wave Of Hypersonic Missile Attacks On Ukraine (Forbes)

Kremlin Accuses Ukrainian Saboteurs Of Attack Inside Russia (AP)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tylerroush/2023/03/09/6-ukrainian-civilians-dead-after-russian-missile-strikes-europes-largest-nuclear-power-plant-now-on-emergency-power/