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Photo Credit: Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS

Russia launches strike on critical Ukrainian infrastructure, Western officials worry Putin may seize Kharkiv

A massive missile and drone attack destroyed and damaged several power plants across Ukraine overnight, part of a renewed Russian campaign targeting energy infrastructure. The Trypilska plant, which was the biggest energy supplier for the Kyiv, Cherkasy, and Zhytomyr regions, was struck numerous times, destroying the transformer, turbines, and generators. Kharkiv faced at least 10 other strikes on critical infrastructure. Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said more than 200,000 people in the region are without power. Western officials are afraid that Putin may launch a ground offensive and seize Kharkiv.

Ukraine’s air defense system leaves Kharkiv open to Russian missile strikes. Zelenskyy has asked for more aid to strengthen Ukraine against these attacks, and he believes that without this crucial aid, Russia will win the war. U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson has been facing pressure to pass a package that would grant Ukraine critical aid, with President Joe Biden intent on sending aid. However, the far-right members of the Republican party staunchly oppose the sending of any aid to Ukraine. Johnson is set to travel to Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Friday to meet with Donald Trump – who has said he would negotiate an end to the conflict as he tries to push the US to a more isolationist stance.

A $61 billion aid package has been sitting in limbo in Congress for months, leaving Ukraine without proper defensive measures and leaving them open on the front lines. “Nothing has changed: We did not have any shells then, we don’t have any shells now,” said artillery sergeant Andriy, “The Russians continue to push in packs, without stopping,” Andriy, who did not want his last name revealed as he was not authorized to speak publicly, told NBC News last week. Without ammunition, there is little that Ukrainians can do to defend themselves from vicious Russian attacks.

“They understand that we are in a very weak position right now,” said Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of Ukraine’s parliament who chairs the country’s wartime oversight commission on monitoring aid, “Americans understand that as well. They understand that we literally have nothing to shoot with,” she said in a phone interview this week.

Without aid, it is possible that Putin could take Kharkiv. This would be a major setback for Ukraine and result in countless deaths.

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