The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

The student news site of Ward Melville High School

Kaleidoscope

Ukraine’s Largest Power Plant Destroyed by Russian Air Attack

Image+Courtesy+of+Mads+Eneqvist+on+Unsplash
Image Courtesy of Mads Eneqvist on Unsplash

On April 11th, 2024, Russian missiles and drones destroyed an electricity plant and nearby power facilities that supply Ukraine’s Kyiv, Cherkasy, and Zhytomyr regions. While Ukraine’s air defense system shot down nearly half of the incoming missiles and drones, the plant has lost all power generation capabilities. While Russia looked to disrupt Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as a part of its war effort, there have been no reported power cuts from this attack (CNN). 

 

In February 2022, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, with Putin describing the actions as a “special military operation.” As a result, over 6 million Ukrainians have left their homes in order to flee the war, entering countries such as Poland, Hungary, and Moldova (The UN Refugee Agency). In addition, as of this month, a total of 442,820 Russian and 70,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in the conflict (Ukraine.ua; BBC). 

 

While the Russian forces were able to advance hundreds of miles into Ukraine during the first few months of the war, their multipronged attack has been stifled by economic sanctions, the increasing cost of the war, and a lack of domestic support. Also, with countries such as the United States providing nearly $75 billion dollars in humanitarian, financial, and military support, Ukraine has been able to push Russia east into a stalemate (Council on Foreign Relations). However, as the war has prolonged, Russia has turned to tactics such as missiles and drone strikes.

 

By the end of 2023, it was estimated that Russia had launched nearly 7,400 missiles and 3,900 drones (Institute for the Study of War). Many of these weapons were used to target power plants and energy distribution facilities, leading to a 7 gigawatt decrease in power generating capacity, an amount that can power over 5 million homes (Reuters). While Ukraine’s air defense has been able to take down many of the missiles targeting cities and locations integral to the country’s infrastructure, Ukraine depends on foreign allies for long-range air-defense systems such as Patriot. 

 

Most recently, a Russian missile and drone strike on the Trypilska thermal power plant in Kyiv resulted in the plant’s destruction and decimation of its power producing capabilities. While Ukraine utilized many of its defense systems in order to prevent Russia from striking this power plant, they ran out of the missiles they needed to counter the attack. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the event to PBS when he said “There were 11 missiles flying. We destroyed the first seven, and four (remaining) destroyed Trypilska. Why? Because there were zero missiles. We ran out of missiles to defend Trypillia” (Reuters). 

This lack of military resources reflects Ukraine’s struggles at an earlier point during the war. This was in February 2024, when Ukrainian officials reported low supplies of ammunition in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. As the amount of funding and supplies from foreign nations has dwindled throughout the start of this year, more Ukrainian cities are becoming susceptible to Russian attacks. While the United States’ House of Representatives tried to pass a package that included $60.8 billion for Ukraine aid, calls to remove House Speaker Mike Johnson have prevented the bill from going through until bipartisan support came through on April 20th (ABC News). 

 

Although the attack on the Trypilska thermal power plant in Kiev has had minimal impacts on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the lack of missiles to counter the offense highlights the nation’s need for financial support from its allies. As conflicts in other parts of the world have erupted and domestic politics slowed the passing of legislation, Ukraine will become increasingly more susceptible to Russia’s missile and drone attacks. Therefore, while it appears Russia and Ukraine are in a stalemate on the ground, attacks from the air are increasing as the war goes on.

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