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Live blog: Russia intensifies Ukraine offensive with hypersonic missiles

Thursday, March 9, 2023

1320 GMT  

In a fresh wave of strikes against Ukraine, Russia claims to have intensified the fighting by deploying the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile.

The latest strikes come in the wake of Moscow launching a barrage of missile strikes targeting several Ukrainian cities that killed six people and affected energy infrastructure, including a nuclear power plant, on the morning of March 9.

According to the Russian defence ministry, the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile strike was carried out in response to the March 2 attack, which Moscow described as “terrorist actions organized by the Kiev regime in the Bryansk region.”

Previously, Moscow had claimed that “Ukrainian nationalists” crossed into the southern Bryansk region and killed two Russian civilians, a claim that Kiev has denied and described as a “deliberate provocation”.

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1617 GMT — Ukraine says power restored at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant 

Ukraine’s national energy provider said power flow to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was restored, which was disconnected after Russian missile attacks in several regions.

“Specialists of Ukrenergo restored the power supply of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which was interrupted by today’s missile strikes,” Ukrenergo said in a statement on Telegram.

It noted that the plant is switching from diesel generators to receiving electricity for its own needs from the United Energy System of Ukraine.

1529 GMT — Russian strikes near Zaporizhzhia plant ‘serious breach’ of nuclear safety: EU

The European Union’s top diplomat said that the Russian strikes in Ukraine, which caused the disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant from the grid, was a “serious breach” of nuclear safety. 

The interruption of the power supply, which was restored, meant that emergency diesel generators had to be used to cool the plant, had “significantly” increased the risk of a nuclear accident, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

“This is a serious breach to the nuclear safety, caused by Russia,” Borrell told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting the EU’s development ministers in Stockholm.

1510 GMT — Lavrov says UN ‘evading reaction’ on Nord Stream gas pipelines sabotage

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and employees of the UN Secretariat General are evading questions about the explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Faysal bin Farhan Al Saud, Lavrov said Guterres actively comments on “dubious circumstances” and “dubious ideas” while showing “complete passivity and detachment” in affairs demanding the UN assessment.

Lavrov specified that he means remarks by Guterres in Kiev regarding the necessity of creating a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the absence of comments regarding the last year’s explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

1443 GMT — Russia says to discuss Ukraine grain deal renewal with UN in Geneva Monday

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that delegates planned to discuss the renewal of the Türkiye-brokered Ukraine grain deal in Geneva on Monday, after Moscow cast doubt over its extension.

“The next rounds of consultations are scheduled for March 13 in Geneva. The Russian interdepartmental delegation will take part… The deal will be discussed,” Zakharova told reporters during a regularly scheduled briefing.

1109 GMT — Russia says extending Ukraine grain deal ‘complicated’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that extending the Istanbul grain deal was becoming “complicated” as it was not being properly implemented. 

Lavrov said clauses in the agreement that provide for Russian grain and fertiliser exports were not being upheld and that: “if the package is half fulfilled, then the issue of extension becomes quite complicated.”

1106 GMT — UN nuclear chief raises alarm over power outages at Ukraine plant

The UN nuclear agency’s chief warned of the danger of repeated electricity outages at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant, after a new missile strike left it running on diesel generators.

Electricity is essential to operate pumps that circulate water to cool reactors and pools holding nuclear fuel.

“Each time we are rolling a dice,” IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told the agency’s board of governors. 

1037 GMT — Poland says latest 10 Leopard tanks delivered to Ukraine

Poland said it had delivered to Ukraine the additional 10 Leopard 2A4 tanks it had promised, while allies would send theirs shortly.

“We’re talking about a battalion of heavy tanks, which in the case of Poland’s share have already been delivered, and in the case of our allies, they will be delivered to Ukraine very soon,” Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters.

1022 GMT — Pro-Russian separatists in Moldova say foiled Ukraine attack

Pro-Moscow authorities in Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria, which borders Ukraine, said they had prevented an attack organised by Kiev that targeted separatist officials.

Transnistria is a narrow Kremlin-backed region in eastern Moldova that separated from the ex-Soviet republic after fighting in 1992. Russia has maintained a contingent of troops there since.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu last month accused Russia of plotting to violently overthrow her government through saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters, claims that Russia denied.

0816 GMT — At least 5 killed by missile strikes in various regions of Ukraine amid air raid alerts

At least five people were killed early during strikes across various cities of Ukraine in a sign of renewed Russian attacks.

“So far, four casualties have been reported. These are four adults. Two men and two women. They were at home when the rocket fell. The debris is still being cleared. There may be other people trapped underneath,” Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said on Telegram.

Stating that the air alert in the region lasted for four hours, Kozytskyy said that three residential buildings and three cars were destroyed by rockets.

0800 GMT — Kharkiv without power, water, heating after missile barrage

Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv was left without power, water or heating after Russia launched more than 80 cruise missiles at energy facilities across the country.

“There is no electricity in the whole city. We have switched to generators at critical infrastructure. Electric-powered transport is not working. There is no heating and water supply, due to the lack of voltage in the electricity network,” Kharkiv mayor Igor Terekhov said on local television.

0745 GMT — Ukrainian officials say Russia fired 81 missiles 

Ukraine said its air defence shot down nearly three dozen missiles fired by Russia at targets across the country.

“Last night, the enemy launched a massive missile attack on the critical infrastructure of Ukraine. It launched 81 missiles from different bases. Ukraine destroyed 34 cruise missiles,” Ukraine’s commander in chief Valery Zaluzhny said in a statement on social media.

This claim cannot be independently verified.

0550 GMT – Nuclear plant loses power as Russian missiles rain on Ukraine 

Russian strikes targeting energy infrastructure were reported across Ukraine, as fighting for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut raged on.

In the northeastern region of Kharkiv on the Russian border, governor Oleg Synegubov said there had been 15 strikes.

“The occupiers once again targeted critical infrastructure facilities,” he said on social media.

Synegubov added that information on victims and the scale of the damage was being “clarified”.

In the region’s main city of Kharkiv, mayor Igor Terekhov said “energy infrastructure” had been targeted and there were “problems” with electricity in some parts of the city.

In the southwestern region of Odessa, governor Maksym Marchenko said “missiles hit the energy infrastructure of the region as well as damaged residential buildings” following a “massive missile strike”.

0546 GMT — Ukrainian nuclear plant without power after strike

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been left without electricity supply following a Russian strike and is currently running on diesel generators, the country’s nuclear energy operator said on Thursday.

“The last line of communication between the occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP and the Ukrainian power system was cut off as a result of rocket attacks,” Energoatom said in a statement.

0540 GMT — Electricity supply cut in Kiev

Approximately 15 percent of electricity consumers are currently without power, Kiev Mayor Vitalii Klychko has confirmed.

“Explosions in Holosiyivsky District. All emergency services headed to the area. As a result of the rocket attack, electricity crews have put in place emergency technical shut-offs in Kiev.”

0535 GMT — Kiev mayor confirms another explosion

Kiev Mayor Vitalii Klychko has confirmed that there has been another explosion in the city’s Svyatoshyn district, adding that there were “two victims”.

Zeleksnkiy spokesperson Iuliia Mendel referred to the two victims as “wounded”.

0400 GMT — Kiev mayor reports explosions in wave of strikes on Ukraine

Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko reported explosions in the Ukrainian capital, amid a wave of strikes across different parts of the country.

“Explosions in the Holosiivskyi district of the capital. All services are heading to the spot,” Klitschko said on social media, referring to a southern area of the city.

0100 GMT — Intense Russian attacks on Bakhmut

Ukraine’s military has said it managed to push back intense Russian attacks on the city of Bakhmut despite a Russian claim of control over its eastern half and the NATO chief’s warning that the city could fall in the next few days.

“The enemy continued its attacks and has shown no sign of a letup in storming the city of Bakhmut,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Facebook.

“Our defenders repelled attacks on Bakhmut and on surrounding communities.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a nightly video address of the battle for Bakhmut and the surrounding Donbass region: “This is our first priority.”

For our live updates from Wednesday (March 8), click here.

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