1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ukraine updates: Russia launches 'largest' attack on energy

Published March 22, 2024last updated March 22, 2024

Kyiv said an overnight barrage of missiles and drones was the biggest in recent weeks. At least two people were killed and Ukraine's largest hydroelectric plant was hit. DW has more.

The Dnipro Hydroelectric Station burning
Russia struck the dam eight times, Ukrainian officials saidImage: Denys Shmyha/Telegram/AP/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukraine's energy minister said Russia launched its "largest attack" on the energy infrastructure in recent weeks, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying around 150 missiles and drones were fired toward Ukraine.   

At least two people were killed in the attacks, and Ukraine's largest dam, the DniproHES in Zaporizhzhia, was hit — but officials said it was not in danger of breaching.

On the diplomatic front, China's attempts to position itself as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict seemed fruitless after its Eurasia envoy Li Hui cited a "significant gap" between Kyiv and Moscow regarding peace talks.

Here's a roundup of developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on Friday, March 22:

Skip next section Ukraine to drop 'sponsors of war' blacklist
March 22, 2024

Ukraine to drop 'sponsors of war' blacklist

Ukraine has agreed to scrap its public "international sponsors of war" blacklist, Reuters news agency reported on Friday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The blacklist was used to put pressure on companies that continued to do business in Russia after Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

It embarrassed around 50 companies from more than a dozen countries, but critics argued that the name-and-shame list was brash and subjective.

The decision to scrap the list reportedly came after pressure from countries including Austria, China, France and Hungary.

The foreign ministries of all four countries did not immediately comment on the report.

Austrian lawmaker Karin Doppelbauer, from the liberal Neos party, criticized the government in Vienna for exerting pressure over the blacklist.

"The government has to understand that any cozy relationship with Putin is over," she told Reuters.

Skip next section Ukraine reports 'significant damage' to Dnipro dam
March 22, 2024

Ukraine reports 'significant damage' to Dnipro dam

The Dnipro Hydroelectric Station in the Zaporizhzhia region "was hit eight times" on Friday, said Yury Belousov, the head of head of the Prosecutor General's war crimes department.

"The facility is really out of commission. The damage is very significant," Belousov said on Ukrainian TV.

Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian officials said the attack was the largest attack on energy infrastructure in recent months.

Zaporizhzhia Governor Ivan Fedorov said the strikes hit a trolleybus that was driving across the dam's roadway, killing the 62-year-old driver.

A burning trolleybus
The driver of a trolleybus was killed in the strikes on the Dnipro Hydroelectric StationImage: Petro Andryuschenko/Telegram/AP/picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Skip next section Don't assume Russia will stop at Crimea and the Donbas, Macron says
March 22, 2024

Don't assume Russia will stop at Crimea and the Donbas, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron said it would be a mistake to think that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will stop at Crimea and the Donbas.

At the EU summit in Brussels, Macron was asked about the Kremlin now regarding itself as being at war due to the West's support for Ukraine.

"By using this term, one is also even opening up uncertainty about Russia's military objectives," he said.

Skip next section France and Germany announce ammunition production in Ukraine
March 22, 2024

France and Germany announce ammunition production in Ukraine

Nina Haase

The Franco-German company KNDS will set up a branch in Ukraine to produce ammunition and potentially military equipment locally, the defense ministers of the two countries announced on Friday.

Tasks will eventually also include training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as maintenance and production of spare parts for systems that Germany and France have equipped Ukraine with already.

"What is innovative is that the production of ammunition can start on Ukrainian soil, because the production capacities have to come closer to the front line," French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said at a press conference in Berlin alongside his German counterpart Boris Pistorius.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron had previously reached a political agreement on the issue and then handed it to their defense ministers, who said details were now going to be discussed with the relevant industry representatives.

Defense Minister Pistorius on domestic weapons production

"Industry is making plans for that because everybody knows that we need more capacities of defence industry and especially for the production of ammunition and spare parts and other things and maybe even systems in the time to come," Pistorius said.

"But at the moment the industry is thinking: What can we do together with Ukraine, where can we do it? Is it only production, is it also maintenance, repairing systems. This is now starting on the side of the industry."

Skip next section Russia says its strikes were 'retaliatory'
March 22, 2024

Russia says its strikes were 'retaliatory'

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had launched airstrikes targeting Ukraine's "energy sector, military-industrial complex, railway hubs, arsenals and places where Ukrainian troops and foreign mercenaries are stationed."

According to the ministry, Russian strikes hit all the targets of the "massive" attack, which it said was in retaliation to earlier Ukrainian attacks on its border regions. 

"From 16 to 22 March, in response to the shelling of our territory and attempts to break through and seize Russian border settlements, the military carried out 49 retaliatory strikes," the ministry said. 

Russia's border regions saw a sharp increase in shelling and drone attacks in recent weeks, with pro-Ukraine militia staging several armed raids in Russian territories. 

Russia starts evacuating villages after cross-border attacks

Skip next section Germany, France reach 'historic' deal on tank development
March 22, 2024

Germany, France reach 'historic' deal on tank development

Nina Haase

Germany and France have reached a "breakthrough" on developing the "tank of the future," the defense ministers of both nations said in Berlin on Friday.

Production of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) will be split production between the two countries 50-50, they said.

"We’ve agreed on how to divide up all tasks for this project," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at a press conference alongside his French counterpart, Sebastien Lecornu. He added the decision could "without exaggeration" be called "historic."

Ministers stressed that the project will not be the successor of the countries' advanced Leopard and Leclerc battle tanks, but rather constitute a "generational leap," according to Lecornu. The tank will be equipped with different and more advanced capabilities, such as drone connectivity, artificial intelligence and modern laser weapons.

Rows over competencies between both countries’ industries had delayed the project and led to tensions between Berlin and Paris. The official Memorandum of Understanding on MGCS will be signed on April 26 in Paris, said Pistorius. In May 2021, Germany, France and Spain had found a "basic agreement" on developing the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Skip next section German army chief: Freezing the war 'neither possible nor desirable'
March 22, 2024

German army chief: Freezing the war 'neither possible nor desirable'

Inspector General Carsten Breuer, the head of the German armed forces, rejected statements in Germany about allowing a frozen conflict in Ukraine.

"Freezing a war presupposes acceptance of this on both sides. There is hardly a frozen conflict in the world that has not flared up again," Breuer told the Funke Mediengruppe.

"The current military situation in Ukraine makes freezing the war seem neither possible nor desirable," he added. 

Breuer also called for establishing a missile defense system to fend off possible Russian threats in Europe.

"We have five to eight years. We must set up a missile defense system within this period. There is no alternative," Breuer said. 

"We believe that Russia will be able to wage war against NATO states within a time frame of five to eight years. Until then, we in Germany must also be in a position to fend off such an attack," he added.

Breuer noted that a Russian attack on Western country could take place "across the entire spectrum — from cyber attacks to drones and missiles." 

Putin's troops gain ground: How will the West respond?

Skip next section Russia says 7 pro-Ukraine partisans arrested in Moscow
March 22, 2024

Russia says 7 pro-Ukraine partisans arrested in Moscow

Russian state news agencies reported, citing the FSB security service, that seven Moscow residents linked to a pro-Ukraine militia were arrested. 

The arrests come after President Vladimir Putin ordered the FSB to wage a crackdown "without statute of limitations" on the fighters, who he called "scum" traitors.

"The seven detained residents of Moscow maintained contacts with the Russian Volunteer Corps, acting as part of (the) Ukrainian army," the FSB was quoted as saying.

The seven are accused of having "discussed ways of carrying out violent actions against representatives of law enforcement agencies, servicemen and foreigners," it said.

Skip next section Kremlin refers to 'state of war' rather than 'special military operation'
March 22, 2024

Kremlin refers to 'state of war' rather than 'special military operation'

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview to a pro-Kremlin newspaper that Russian was in a "state of war" in Ukraine, shifting the official language to describe the conflict from describing it as a "special military operation." 

"We are in a state of war. Yes, it started as a special military operation, but as soon as this bunch was formed there, when the collective West became a participant on Ukraine's side, for us it already became a war," Peskov said. 

When asked by reporters later to to elaborate on his remarks, Peskov said: "De jure it is a special military operation. But de facto it has turned into a war."

Since Moscow launched the war two years ago, it has banned outlets from using the word "war" and prosecuted activists for using the word to describe Russia's military actions.

Peskov argued that the "context" was different.      

"The word 'war' is used in different contexts. Compare my context with those in the cases you cite," he said.

The OVD-Info rights group has reported that over 900 criminal cases were launched during the war against those opposing the conflict. 

Press freedom under attack in Russia

Skip next section Ukraine says 2 killed in Russian attacks
March 22, 2024

Ukraine says 2 killed in Russian attacks

Ukraine's Interior Minister said two people were killed and 14 injured in the overnight Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Six people were injured in Zaporizhzhia, where Ukraine's largest dam was hit, and another eight where injured in Khmelnytskyi, in western Ukraine, the ministry said. 

Three people at the sites of the attacks remain missing, it added. 

Skip next section Ukrainian minister: 'Largest attack' on energy sector in weeks
March 22, 2024

Ukrainian minister: 'Largest attack' on energy sector in weeks

Ukraine's state hydropower company said a Russian strike hit Ukraine's largest dam, the DniproHES in Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine. Officials said there was no risk of a breach.

A power line to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was also cut following a missile attack, the plant's management said on Telegram. But power supply to the plant was guaranteed by a replacement line and there was no safety risk, it added.

Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said Ukraine had suffered what was "the largest attack" on its energy infrastructure in its recent past.

"The goal is not just to damage, but to try again, like last year, to cause a large-scale failure of the country's energy system," he wrote on Facebook.

Authorities in Kharkiv, in Ukraine's northeast, said Russia targeted energy facilities with 15 strikes.

"The city is almost completely without electricity," Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov wrote on Telegram. 

Ukraine's power grid operator said there were emergency blackouts in seven regions across the country.

Skip next section Ukraine likely to remain focal point on day two of EU Summit
March 22, 2024

Ukraine likely to remain focal point on day two of EU Summit

European Union leaders will assemble in Brussels for the second day of the two-day summit to discuss aid for Ukraine and building their own defense capabilities, among other issues.

On day one of the summit, leaders grappled with how to get more weapons to Ukraine's outgunned forces while also re-arming their own countries.

They agreed on several statements condemning Russia and pledging continued support for Ukraine. Also, they said they would look into the steps necessary to use revenues from frozen Russian assets in the EU to fund military support for Ukraine.

"We are now reviewing the progress to use windfall profits from Russian immobilized assets for Ukraine, including military support," European Council President Charles Michel said on social media. 

The bloc has so far been reluctant to confiscate Russian assets for Ukraine's war effort, but as the war drags into its second year and financial support for Kyiv has fallen increasingly on its European partners, the option has become increasingly attractive.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy once again urged European allies to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems and ammunition.

He said it was "humiliating for Europe" that Ukraine did not have enough artillery in its fight against Russia.

Skip next section Zelenskyy: Russia launched 90 missiles, 60 drones
March 22, 2024

Zelenskyy: Russia launched 90 missiles, 60 drones

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia launched a massive wave of overnight attacks overnight, with 90 missiles and 60 Iranian-made Shahed drones. 

"There were more than 60 'Shaheds' and almost 90 missiles of various types overnight," he said on social media. 

"The world sees the targets of Russian terrorists as clearly as possible: power plants and energy supply lines, a hydroelectric dam, ordinary residential buildings, even a trolleybus."

Zelenskyy said that the rescue efforts were underway and electricity was being restored attacks on energy infrastructure caused after power cuts. 

The Ukrainian president called for support from Kyiv's allies, saying that "Russian missiles have no delays, unlike aid packages for Ukraine."

"It is critical to understand the cost of delays and postponed decisions [...] Our partners know exactly what is needed."

Skip next section China says talks need to involve both Ukraine and Russia
March 22, 2024

China says talks need to involve both Ukraine and Russia

China's attempts to position itself as a mediator in the Ukraine conflict seemed to have ended without success after its Eurasia envoy Li Hui cited a "significant gap" between Kyiv and Moscow regarding peace talks.

Despite the "bumpy road ahead," he said, "at the end they all agree that the war must be resolved through negotiations rather than guns." He added that all parties "recognize the danger of the current situation continuing to deteriorate."

Li said both parties agreed with Beijing's calls for cooling down the situation, adding that they expected his country "to play a more constructive role."

The Chinese diplomat also said that Moscow expressed appreciation for China's round of global diplomacy, adding that Russia believes "the crisis ultimately needs to be resolved through negotiation."

China's attempts to mediate the conflict have often been met with skepticism, given Beijing's close ties with Moscow. The country has consistently steered clear of condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

China-Russia relationship 'without borders'

Skip next section EU looking into funding Ukraine weapons with frozen Russian assets
March 22, 2024

EU looking into funding Ukraine weapons with frozen Russian assets

A summit of European Union leaders in Brussels is due to convene for a second day on Friday.

On the first day of the summit, EU leaders agreed on several statements condemning Russia and pledging continued support for Ukraine.

"The European Council is ever more steadfast in its support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized border. Russia must not prevail," the agreed-upon conclusions of the leaders' summit said.

"Given the urgency of the situation, the European Union is determined to continue providing Ukraine and its people all the necessary political, financial, economic, humanitarian, and diplomatic support for as long as it takes and as intensely as needed," it added.

They also said they would look into the next steps necessary to use revenues from frozen Russian assets in the EU to fund military support for Ukraine.

Show more posts