Ukraine’s largest power producer knocked out in Russian Aerial Strikes

The nation’s largest thermal power station that supplies electricity to three regions has lost 100 percent of its generating capacity, the company said on April 11, following an overnight Russian airborne attack.

Located 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Kyiv, the majority state-owned Centrenergo plant – Trypillia – provides power and heat to the regions of Kyiv, and neighboring Zhytomyr and Cherkasy. It provides power to eight percent of the nation’s population.

“The scale of destruction is terrifying,” Centrenergo’s chairman Andriy Hota told BBC News.

Russia also knocked out the company’s largest thermal power plant in the Kharkiv Region on March 22 and damaged the Dnipro hydroelectric station.

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The company’s Kyiv regional plant, one of three in the country, became the largest electricity generator in the nation after the nuclear power plant in Chornobyl of the eponymous region went offline following a meltdown in 1986.

Rolling blackouts can be expected although the country “still has enough energy capacity,” said Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the non-profit Kyiv-based Center for Research on Energy and Clear Air.

Solar energy is compensating for whatever deficit Ukraine is facing to power the entire grid, Karchenko added.

Centrenergo’s other two power plants are also offline. The Kharkiv power plant was destroyed in March and the other Donetsk Oblast was taken over in 2022.

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The Trypillia thermal power plant in the Kyiv region was completely destroyed by a Russian aerial attack overnight on April 11. (Emergency Services of Ukraine)

Zelensky calls for partners to ‘deliver’ on materiel pledges

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Ukraine’s second wartime president emphasized the priority of providing Ukraine with more air defense systems at a yearly conference in Lithuania.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in Lithuania that “it is critically important that each partner deliver on its promises regarding the supply of weapons and ammunition,” his office said on April 11.

Kyiv needs to protect its cities of Kharkiv, the nation’s second most populous, Odesa along the Black Sea coast, and Mykolayiv and Zaporizhzhia that lie along the Dnipro River, he said.

“The world has” the weapons Ukraine needs, Zelensky said, “and they can safeguard lives.”

The forum where Zelensky spoke has existed since 2015 and consists of 13 states that are situated on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas in Central and Eastern Europe.

At the European Parliament meeting on Thursday, April 11  former Belgian Prime Minister now a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Guy Verhofstadt stated that there are 100 Patriot systems in Europe and Kyiv is only asking for seven.

Verhofstadt and other MEPs supporting the effort to provide Kyiv with air defenses successfully forced a delay in the vote on the EU Council budget until Ukraine’s immediate needs are met.

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With a vote taken and 515 MEPs for and only 62 against Verhofstadt’s motion to refuse to discharge the EU Council's budget until European leaders agree to support Ukraine with additional Patriot air defense systems was adopted.

A F-16 Falcon fighter jet (Lockheed Martine)

Greece offers F-16 jets for sale

Athens is offering its older military aircraft for sale, including F-16 fighters on which Ukrainian pilots have been training to hopefully gain air superiority over its skies.

“We cannot carry on this way,” Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias said late last month, regarding the soon-to-be decommissioned aircraft. “The Block 30 F-16s need to be sold.”

It is not clear whether Kyiv will purchase them, although it needs any aircraft it could acquire.

Ukrainian pilots checking out in the F-16s in the US and Denmark are already in their final stage of training.

Other pilots are learning English in Britain and another group is undergoing training in France to learn fighter control systems, Ukrainian Armed Forces Ilya Yevlash told state-run news agency Ukrinform.

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Russia currently has limited air seniority but has suffered losses from improvised Ukrainian attacks.

The F-16 multi-role fourth generation plus fighter aircraft will pose a threat to Russia and help intercept incoming aerial attacks, which have been causing damage to Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

They could also deter air-to-air aviation despite the age of the airframe design because the F-16AM/BM models Ukraine will receive, along with all Western military aircraft, have been continuously upgraded with new avionics (radars, sensors, targeting systems, onboard computers, datalink, etc.), as well as modifications to the platform itself.

Additionally, Western weaponry in the Russo-Ukrainian war has proven to be superior to whatever Russia has manufactured and sold abroad to other countries.

“The degree of [air] control can range from no control to a parity (or neutral) situation wherein neither adversary can claim any level of control over the other, to local air superiority in a specific area, to air supremacy over the entire operational area, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff has said.

Sixty-five F-16s have been approved for transfer by the US, according to the aircraft’s manufacturer.

Among them are 24 that the Netherlands has pledged, 19 from Denmark and 22 from Norway.

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