Conflicts & War

Ukraine’s electric grid suffering ongoing attacks near Kharhiv

Merefa, Ukraine, May 31 (EFE).- The electricity grid installations near Kharhiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, have been some of the main targets of Russian missiles in recent days, causing power outages in many areas.

The proprietor of a solar panel power plant, Volodymyr Ranchakowskiy, told EFE on Tuesday that his facility was knocked offline after Russian forces fired two Iskander missiles at the installation.

The plant can produce 2.5 megawatts of electricity and took two years to build in the town of Merefa, but now it will take time and money to bring it into operation once again, he said.

“Welcome to the Russian pit,” he joked as he pointed to the huge hole left by one of the exploding missiles, some 12 meters (39 feet) across by six meters (20 feet) deep.

Half of the plant’s solar panels were damaged in the strike, in which nobody was injured or worse, although a report still must be prepared regarding the economic losses and the cost to get the facility back online, he said.

“Nobody knows why they’re destroying everything. I don’t even think they do. On the Internet, I found videos where the Russians are saying that I provided electricity to a secret Ukrainian military laboratory. It’s a damned lie, a big falsehood and I don’t know how the Russians believe it. (My plant) is connected to the country’s general (electricity) network,” Ranchakowskiy said.

The attack came last Saturday, a few days after three Iskander missiles hit another electric power station in Merefa without causing any casualties but leaving several areas without power as a result.

This infrastructure supplies electricity to the town of some 28,000 residents and surrounding areas, where many people displaced from their homes by the war are currently taking refuge.

The Iskanders are supersonic short-range and very accurate cruise missiles designed to destroy anti-air defenses.

Kharhiv, located in eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia, had two million residents in its metro area when Moscow launched its invasion on Feb. 24, but many of them fled or were evacuated when Russian troops tried to take the city, and now explosions can be heard on the combat front around the urban zone as the invaders are making another push to grab territory and perhaps launch a new effort to take the city itself.

EFE lar/mah/bp

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