Ukrainian officials have warned Moscow is preparing another wave of missile strikes aimed at destroying the country’s energy grid, and Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday defended Moscow’s attacks, saying infrastructure was a legitimate military target, even as the United Nations warned they could amount to war crime.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov spoke at a news conference hours after Ukrainian officials said a Russian attack knocked out the power grid in the southern city of Kherson , and after previous attacks, 6 million people in the country are still without power.
Drawing on familiar Kremlin themes, characterize the Ukraine war as a battle with the West, sir. Lavrov said Russia was using Western-supplied weapons against targets intended to supplement Ukrainian forces, which rely on them for operations. He did not elaborate.
The Ukrainian military said its troops had their own autonomous energy supply and the strike had no impact on their combat effectiveness.
But the impact on civilians is growing. The strikes have left millions without water and electricity in Ukraine, and Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Russia of trying to make life miserable by striking residential areas, power transformers, power plants and other civilian targets.
“As Ukraine continues to gain momentum on the battlefield, President Putin continues to focus his anger and firepower on Ukrainian civilians,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told a meeting of NATO allies this week. “Heat, water, electricity – for children, for the elderly, for the sick – these are the new targets of President Putin. He is hitting them hard. This cruelty to the Ukrainian people is barbaric.”
Ukrainian officials say it could take months to repair the damage already done to the power grid, and there is no sign the attacks will stop.
“The threat of missile strikes on critical infrastructure and military installations in Ukraine remains in the near future,” Brig said. General Oleksii Hromov, a member of the Ukrainian General Staff, sounded the warning on Thursday. “The enemy’s goal is to create panic among the population.”
Shortly after his speech, air raid sirens blared across the country, though they were later dismissed across the board.
gentlemen. Lavrov said Russia used high-precision weapons against Ukrainian energy facilities supporting operations in Kiev and was used to “fuel Ukraine with Western weapons to kill Russians.”
He defended Russia’s attacks on regions of Ukraine illegally annexed by Moscow, such as the Kherson region, comparing them to Stalingrad, which was razed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. For the flat ground, when the Soviet Army achieved a pivotal victory over Nazi Germany.
“Stalingrad is also our territory, where we beat the Germans so hard that they ran away,” Mr Bush said. Lavrov said.
Repeating Russia’s talking points, he accused the U.S. and Europe of being “directly involved” in the Ukraine conflict, which he said was sparked by NATO expansion in Eastern Europe and Western interference in Ukrainian affairs.
He also dismissed as “ludicrous” the idea that Moscow was trying to involve Kiev in ceasefire talks as a way to buy time and replenish troops in case of setbacks on the battlefield. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba warned that the ceasefire would give Russia’s “exhausted invasion forces a break before returning to further aggression”.
“We never asked for any negotiations,” Mr. Lavrov said. “But we’ve always said that if anyone is interested in negotiating a solution, we stand ready to listen.”
gentlemen. Lavrov also accused NATO of stoking tensions elsewhere in the world, including with China, and trying to drag India into what he called an “anti-Russia, anti-China alliance”. Both India and China have called for de-escalation following the Russian attack.
— Ivan Necheplenko and mark santora