Weeks of horror and darkness for Ukrainian civilians as Russia attacks critical energy infrastructure 

The Russian armed forces’ relentless campaign of air strikes on Ukrainian cities appears to demonstrate the deliberate and unlawful targeting of civilians and civilian objects, including critical energy infrastructure which has been extensively damaged, Amnesty International said today as it demands an end to the Russian war or aggression and accountability for all those individually responsible for war crimes. 

“Weeks ago, back in early March, Russia scaled up its merciless assault on the civilian population and critical infrastructure in Ukraine, and its extent in recent days has been particularly destructive. While Ukraine is in desperate need of external support, the damage to civilian infrastructure has led to a fight for survival for Ukrainian people who have been learning to live in perpetual mortal danger and – quite literally – growing darkness,” said Anna Wright, Researcher at Amnesty International. 

“The events of the last few weeks have shown that Russia’s determination and capacity to inflict human suffering on Ukraine are far from over. The severity and intensity of the attacks have caused what may be an unprecedented level of damage to the country’s energy infrastructure, which must be met by an adequate international commitment to repairing the harm and bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice.” 

Amnesty International has spoken to people across Ukraine, including in some of the worst-affected locations, who detailed the impact of Russia’s intensified attacks on their daily lives in the last weeks. 

Fear has become normalized  

For many Ukrainian civilians, the constant risk of being hit by Russian missiles has become ‘the new normal.’ 

Oleksandr, 40, Kharkiv told Amnesty “I have lost my fear on the second year of war. I go to a shelter or to a safe place for my family to be calmer and not to worry too much. But I am not afraid any more.” 

Energy infrastructure compromised, causing catastrophic damage 

Russia’s recent attacks are among the most harmful strikes against energy infrastructure since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  

These attacks have caused severe damage to at least four major power-generating and distribution facilities in Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhia cities and regions. On Thursday 11 April, Russia launched a missile and drone attack targeting five regions across Ukraine and causing catastrophic damage to Ukraine’s already devastated civilian infrastructure. This has resulted in multiple, particularly extensive and long-lasting electricity blackouts.  

The provision of mobile and other communications, water supply and heating has also been severely affected. In Kharkiv alone, around 700,000 households remained completely without power for at least 48 hours following one of these attacks, with some areas of the city affected for longer periods of time.  

Andriy, a resident of Kharkiv, spoke to Amnesty International about the impact of the attacks. “There is electricity now in my apartment, but not all the time. And the streets are very dark, we still do not have any lightning outside. I did not have any power for the first two days after the attack. On the third day, it was back around midnight. I knew it would not be for long, so I had a few hours to do the washing, cook food, heat enough water to put in thermos, and to charge power banks. The damage to the energy infrastructure is so severe, that air raid alerts are not working properly. Police uses loudspeakers to announce that there is danger of an air raid.” 

Up to eight missiles struck Dniprovska Hydroelectric Power Plant in Zaporizhzhia endangering the dam of one of the largest remaining reservoirs on the Dnipro River.  

Leonid from Kharkiv told Amnesty, “I do not go to bed at night so that I can enjoy the electricity. In times of such heavy attacks, almost every day, you do not have much electricity, just a few hours a day, and you cannot know for sure when that will be, so I was waiting sometime the whole night for these few hours.”  

Amnesty International is calling for an end to Russian aggression in Ukraine and for the international community to both remember and support Ukrainian civilians as the aggression continues and any delays in humanitarian assistance costs lives. 


The Ukrainian authorities have been forced to introduce planned power outages to prevent Ukraine’s remaining energy infrastructure from being overloaded. The heating season has been terminated earlier than usual to compensate for the loss of capacity of energy system.