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UN officials outraged at Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy plants which killed at least five people
Civil society groups work at the site of a recent attack in Dnipro.Photo Courtesy: Angels of Salvation CSO/Mariia Ostashko

UN officials outraged at Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy plants which killed at least five people

| @indiablooms | 23 Mar 2024, 05:32 pm

Top UN officials and agencies on the ground in Ukraine on Friday condemned overnight large-scale coordinated Russian strikes on energy plants across the country that killed at least five people and left 1.5 million without electricity.

The UN chief António Guterres condemned in the strongest terms the large-scale missile and drone attacks, his Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq, said on Friday.

Guterres appalled at attacks on civilians

“The Secretary-General is appalled by the continued killing and destruction and once again underlines that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law; they are unacceptable and must end immediately,” Haq said.

Multiple types of missiles and drones were launched throughout the early morning hours, disrupting water supplies in some areas and leaving more than 1.5 million Ukrainians without electricity across Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Odesa, Donetsk, Sumy and Kirovohrad.

“The targeting of energy infrastructure providing essential public services is a black-and-white issue – it is simply unacceptable,” UN High Representative of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the Security Council on Friday morning. “The scale and scope of this devastation are appalling.”

Multiple types of missiles and drones were launched throughout the early morning hours, disrupting water supplies in some areas and leaving more than 1.5 million Ukrainians without electricity across Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Odesa, Donetsk, Sumy and Kirovohrad.

Humanitarian law ‘must be respected’

UN agencies on the ground roundly decried the targeted attacks, with UN Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown saying that rescue efforts have been deployed to help those in affected areas.

“I am outraged by the magnitude of today’s attacks by the Russian Armed Forces on energy infrastructure across Ukraine,” she said in a statement, adding that UN agencies continue to work with partners to deliver aid to those in need across Ukraine.

The wider impact of today’s attacks on critical civilian infrastructure is deepening the already dire humanitarian situation for millions of people in Ukraine, she warned, stressing that international humanitarian law explicitly safeguards civilians and civilian infrastructure and “must be respected”.

Echoing those concerns, Danielle Bell, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said “this morning’s attack is the largest single-day attack in more than one year directly targeting Ukraine’s vital power and water infrastructure, with potentially devastating effects for the country’s civilian population.”

Nuclear and water facilities impacted

Ukraine’s largest dam, located in the city of Zaporizhzhia was damaged, but stable, according to UN agencies.

Nearby, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant lost electricity to its last remaining main power line for about five hours today, according to the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA), which issued a statement on Friday morning including a time line of the incident.

“The world’s attention is rightly focused on the continued danger of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant being hit or losing its off-site power,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said.

The latest attacks starkly highlight ever-present dangers to nuclear safety and security during the conflict, he warned, also noting that the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant also temporarily lost the connection to one of its power lines following the overnight strikes.

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