Press Release

UN Human Rights Monitors Alarmed by Intensifying Attacks on Ukraine’s Power Grid, Railway System

29 April 2024

Kyiv, 29 April 2024 – The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) today expressed concern over the mounting civilian toll of intensifying attacks by the Russian Federation armed forces against Ukraine’s electric power infrastructure, as well as a new pattern of attacks on the railway system.

Since March 22 human rights monitors have documented four waves of attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure that have struck at least 20 facilities, killing 6 civilians and injuring at least 45.  This past Saturday alone missile attacks damaged four thermal power plants critical for electricity generation, two of them located in western Ukraine, hundreds of kilometers from the frontline.

During the past weeks, attacks on railway facilities across Ukraine killed at least 11 civilians and wounded dozens in several regions of Ukraine, including Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Cherkasy.

“These attacks have caused civilian deaths, and they also jeopardize essential services such as power generation and rail transport, further compounding the risks and harm affecting the civilian population of Ukraine," said the head of HRMMU Danielle Bell.

“Attacks on the railway system threaten a key mode of transportation that people in Ukraine depend on for personal travel and transport of essential goods, particularly given the restriction on all air traffic and limited access to seaports,” she added.

HRMMU says the civilians killed and wounded in the recent attacks, including railway and power station workers, were either on the infrastructure or in its immediate vicinity.

Last week alone saw three attacks affecting railway facilities resulting in deaths and injuries, it said. On 25 April, in Udachne, Donetsk region, a missile strike damaged railway infrastructure, killing 3 railway employees and injuring another 4 just hours after another missile damaged railway facilities in Smila, Cherkasy region, reportedly injuring several people. At least another 11 civilians were injured in a separate missile attack in Balakliia, Kharkiv region which damaged the railway station and a train that had just arrived. The week before 8 civilians were killed in attacks impacting railway facilities in the cities of Synelnykove and Dnipro.

Power outages frequently occurred in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on energy infrastructure, affecting millions of households across the country, and also leading to interruptions to the water supply. Rolling power cuts were implemented in some areas such as Kharkiv impacting education schedules, particularly for students who rely on online learning.

 Krzysztof Janowski

Krzysztof Janowski


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