Russia targets Ukraine energy and water infrastructure in missile attacks

As winter looms, Moscow escalates missile attacks on vital utilities such as hydro plants, substations and dams

A wave of Russian missiles slammed into hydroelectric plants and other critical energy and water infrastructure across Ukraine on Monday, with explosions reported near the capital, Kyiv, and in at least 10 other regions.

Hydro plants, substations and heat generation facilities were all hit, Ukraine said, while the ministry of defence in Moscow said it had targeted “energy systems” in a devastating morning raid carried out using long-range cruise missiles.

Ukraine’s air command said it shot down 44 out of 50 enemy rockets, but power and water supplies were affected in an escalation of Moscow’s attacks on vital utilities as the winter looms. At least 13 people were injured, police said, and air raid sirens went off nationally.

Kyiv was also hit for the third Monday out of the last four, following months of relative calm. Video footage showed several missiles being intercepted soon after 8am local time. The governor of Kyiv, Oleksiy Kuleba, said “massive shelling in the region” had damaged electricity and energy infrastructure. He said residents should expect emergency power cuts. About 80% of houses in Kyiv were left without water, according to water supply company Kyivvodokanal.

Russian Tu-90 and T-60 strategic aircraft flying north of the Caspian Sea and the Rostov region fired the rockets, and Moscow state media showed video of a ship launching Kalibr missiles. They were targeted at Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv oblasts, as well as in the areas of Mykolaiv, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad and Chernivtsi.

Smoke over Kyiv
Smoke rising on the outskirts of Kyiv on Monday. Photograph: Reuters

In a statement on Facebook, Herman Halushchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister, described Monday morning’s attacks as “barbaric” and said: “Electric substations, hydropower and heat generation facilities were hit by rockets.

“I ask all Ukrainians in [areas] that were not affected by shelling to reduce their electricity consumption as much as possible. Reducing the load on the power grid will help our energy companies to quickly restore the power supply in those regions that are temporarily blacked-out.”

Late on Monday Vladimir Putin claimed the strikes were in part a response to a drone attacks on the Black Sea fleet over the weekend and hinted that more action could follow. “That’s not all we could have done,” he told a televised news conference.

The targeting of substations and hydro plants marks an escalation by Russia in the conflict. Putin’s calculation is that a weary civilian population will grow fed up of living in cold and miserable conditions, and will press Ukraine’s government to make concessions. Zelenskiy has ruled this out, saying he would rather live “without you” – meaning Russia – than with light and water.

The electricity trade media publication Elektrovesti reported that three major hydroelectric power stations were hit. They included the Dnprovskyi facility in Zaprorizhzhia city and the plant at Kremenchuk, both on the Dnieper River. Video showed black smoke rising from or near a substation in Kremenchuk in the Poltava region of central Ukraine.

A third strike damaged the Dniester dam and plant in the west of the country, 10 km from the border with Moldova. Debris from a Russian rocket landed inside the Moldovan town of Naslavcea after Ukrainian air defences shot it down. The windows of four houses were damaged. Moldova’s government said its airspace was not violated.

Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Ukraine still urgently needed better and more “modern” air defences, to secure its civilian infrastructure from Kremlin aggression. Kyiv recently took delivery from Germany of an Iris-T air defence system. The US has promised to send eight advanced surface-to-air missile complexes, known as Nasams.

Presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Moscow had conducted “another massive cascade missile attack” on Ukraine’s critical power centres. He sarcastically suggested that the world was watching the “entire country” freeze, rather than providing air defences so that rockets could be shot down.

In recent weeks Russia has stepped up its attacks on fossil fuel power stations and the substations that connect Ukraine’s energy grid together. Some Ukrainian officials had hoped that the country’s hydro plants might be spared because of the wider consequences.

The damage might have been significantly worse. Missiles were successfully shot down over the Vinnytsia and Khmelnytsky regions, according to local officials. Footage posted by Euromaidan Press shows a cruise missile being intercepted close to Kyiv and exploding in midair.

Footage of shooting down one of the missiles in the skies of Kyiv Oblast.


— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) October 31, 2022

In Kyiv, the mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said critical infrastructure was struck. About 350,000 people were left without power, he said. “As a result of strikes on critical infrastructure facilities, part of the capital was cut off. There is no water supply in some areas. All services are working,” he stressed.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said Russia was “fighting civilians” because it was incapable of winning on the battlefield. He said it was wrong to describe the Kremlin’s latest strikes as a “response”, adding: “Russia does this because it still has the missiles and the will to kill Ukrainians.”

Another batch of Russian missiles hits Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia fights civilians. Don’t justify these attacks by calling them a ‘response’. Russia does this because it still has the missiles and the will to kill Ukrainians.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) October 31, 2022

By Monday afternoon life in Kyiv had mostly returned to normal, despite warnings from officials that more strikes could come. The capital’s streets and underground were busy, with people queueing for coffee. Children played in Shevchenko park, which was hit three weeks ago by a cruise missile. Only a few people were queueing for water at the park’s Tsarist-era water pumps.

Eugene Kukshtel, a 51-year-old manager, said Ukrainians understood the situation and the need to economise electricity and be patient. He said the authorities responded quickly. “It’s a question of using your head. Everyone has been shopping and prepared themselves. I bought a power bank and a torch,” he explained. He added: “It’s not the most important thing at the moment. The main thing is victory.”


The strikes appear to be the latest attempt by Russia to destroy key infrastructure and morale ahead of the cold season. A rocket attack on 10 October caused extensive damage in the centre of Kyiv and killed at least 19 people, and was followed by a week later by a ”kamikaze” drone attack.

On Saturday, Russia’s Black Sea flagship vessel, the Admiral Makarov, was damaged and possibly disabled during a Ukrainian air and sea drone raid on the Crimean port of Sevastopol. At least three Russian vessels were hit. The Kremlin blamed the British Royal Navy for coordinating the operation, a claim the UK government denies.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko tweeted: “Morning starts with air defence sirens all across Ukraine. Russian missiles hit energy infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities, causing electricity and water outages. Russia is not interested in peace talks, nor in global food security. Putin’s only goal is death and destruction.”

Lesia Vasylenko, a Ukrainian MP, posted: “Kyiv has been under fire for the last hour. Blackouts again. And no water in parts of the city. Putin’s crimes against civilians continue.”

• This article was amended on 1 November 2022 to correct a misspelling of Eugene Kukshtel’s name.


Luke Harding, Dan Sabbagh and Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Much of Ukraine still without power, heat and water after missile attacks
Rolling blackouts continue and 60% of Kyiv without electricity two days after Russian strikes on infrastructure

Julian Borger in Kyiv

25, Nov, 2022 @2:44 PM

Article image
Russia carries out more mass strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure
Power outages reported after barrage of rockets fired at several regions in second such attack in days

Isobel Koshiw in Kyiv

16, Dec, 2022 @6:01 PM

Article image
Kyiv mayor says heating restored in capital after latest Russian strikes
Moscow unveils plans to deploy musicians to frontline in bid to boost morale among Russian troops

Jon Henley Europe correspondent

18, Dec, 2022 @2:39 PM

Article image
Russia launch morning missile strikes on Kyiv after overnight barrage
Residents run for shelter during attack that appears to have been part of effort to exhaust air defencesUkraine war – latest news updates

Julian Borger in Kyiv

29, May, 2023 @3:09 PM

Article image
Large-scale Russian missile attacks ‘reconnaissance’ for future offensive
Ukrainian military says 61 out of 70 cruise missiles shot down as Black Sea launches seen as test of defence infrastructure

Luke Harding in Kyiv

10, Feb, 2023 @4:12 PM

Article image
At least six die in Ukraine as dozens of missiles target civilian infrastructure
Latest attacks come after overnight strike on maternity ward kills newborn baby in Zaporizhzhia region

Lorenzo Tondo and Julian Borger in Kyiv

23, Nov, 2022 @7:15 PM

Article image
Russia has enough troops ready to take Kyiv, says former Ukraine defence chief
White House believes Moscow has amassed at least 70% of firepower needed for mid-February invasion

Luke Harding in Kyiv and Richard Luscombe

06, Feb, 2022 @10:07 PM

Article image
Russia says 82,000 conscripts from emergency draft already in Ukraine
Ministry of Defence says Russia relying on ‘poorly trained force’ as Kremlin seeks to consolidate gains

Dan Sabbagh in Kyiv

28, Oct, 2022 @4:22 PM

Article image
Russia tightens grip on Bakhmut in face of Ukraine counterattacks
Kyiv claims ‘huge losses have been inflicted on the enemy’ after year of bitter fighting in eastern city

Dan Sabbagh

22, May, 2023 @2:21 PM

Article image
Russia begins major offensive in eastern Ukraine, Luhansk governor claims
Serhiy Haidai says Moscow’s forces are trying unsuccessfully to advance westwards in ‘maximum’ escalation

Luke Harding in Kyiv

09, Feb, 2023 @3:42 PM