Major Russian strike on Ukraine energy infrastructure

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the country's "spirit does not give up".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the country's "spirit does not give up". Photo: AAP

The Russian air force has conducted a massive strike on objects of energy infrastructure and the gas industry in Ukraine, Russian defence ministry says.

The ministry said that it used “high-precision long-range air-based weapons” and drones.

“As a result of this strike, the operation of defence industry enterprises involved in the manufacture and repair of weapons, equipment and ammunition has been disrupted. All the goals of the strike have been achieved. The assigned objects were hit,” the ministry said.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 16 missiles and 11 drones in the overnight attack.

In a statement on Telegram, the Ukrainian air force said it had managed to down nine of the drones and nine of the missiles.

It did not identify their targets.

For over a week, Russia has significantly stepped up an air strike campaign against Ukrainian energy facilities, causing significant damage and leaving Ukrainians fearing a return to the blackouts seen in the first winter of the full-scale war.

Ukraine’s largest private energy firm, DTEK, said on Saturday that five of its six plants had been damaged or destroyed with 80 per cent of its generating capacity lost, and that repairs could take up to 18 months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called in an Easter Sunday message for Ukrainians to defend themselves against Russian aggression.

“Now there is no night or day when Russian terror does not try to break our lives,” Zelensky said in a post written in English on the X social media platform.

“But we defend ourselves, we endure, our spirit does not give up and knows that it is possible to avert death. Life can prevail,” he added.

He called for true peace for the whole of Ukraine and all countries suffering war.

Most Ukrainians will celebrate Easter at the start of May, in line with the Orthodox calendar.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that Ukraine should hand over all persons connected with “terrorist acts” committed in Russia, including the head of the country’s SBU Security Service.

“Russia has turned over to Ukrainian authorities its demands …for the immediate arrest and extradition of all those connected to the terrorist acts in question,” a ministry statement said, after listing a number of violent incidents in the country.

The ministry statement said those to be handed over included SBU head Vasyl Maliuk, who has acknowledged his service was behind attacks on the bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland since the Kremlin’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

—AAP with DPA

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