Russia Hits Ukrainian Power Plants, Further Straining Energy System

A large Russian missile and drone assault caused serious damage to several power plants across Ukraine early Wednesday, Ukrainian officials said. It was Russia’s fifth attack on energy facilities in the past month and a half, part of a broader campaign aimed at cutting off electricity to swaths of the country and making life miserable for civilians.

Ukraine’s largest private electricity company, DTEK, said in a statement that three thermal power plants had been hit, further straining Ukraine’s electricity generation capacity, which was already reeling from previous assaults. The company said that 80 percent of its available generating capacity had been damaged or destroyed by the recent attacks.

Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national electricity company, said that it might have to cut power to some domestic and industrial customers on Wednesday evening as a result. “You have to be prepared for this,” Volodymyr Kudritskyi, the head of Ukrenergo, told the Ukrainian news media.

The attacks have hit Ukraine at a particularly difficult moment. The country is facing a shortage of air defense weapons and ammunition amid pauses in Western aid, meaning that its ability to intercept airstrikes has been severely compromised.

The latest assault — a day after Vladimir V. Putin was sworn in for a fifth term as Russia’s president and a day before Russia celebrates the anniversary of its victory in World War II — also reflected Mr. Putin’s confidence in the current war, in which his troops now have the upper hand on the battlefield.

The strikes also hit Ukraine on the day when, like most European countries, it commemorates World War II. Ukraine moved the date up by one day last year in an effort to break with Soviet-era traditions.

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