Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the UN Security Council to act against Russia over airstrikes on civilian infrastructure that have plunged Ukrainian cities back into darkness and cold as winter approaches.
Russia unleashed a missile barrage across Ukraine on Wednesday, killing 10 people, forcing the shutdown of nuclear power plants and cutting off water and electricity supplies in many places.
“Today is only one day, but we have received 70 missiles. That is the Russian formula of terror. All this is against our energy infrastructure,” Zelensky said via video conference with the council. “Hospitals, schools, transportation and residential neighborhoods have suffered.”
Ukraine expected a “very strong reaction” from the world to Wednesday’s airstrikes, he added.
The Council is unlikely to take any action in response to the call, as Russia is a veto member.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “clearly targeting winter to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people.”
The Russian president “will try to freeze the country into submission,” she added.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, responded that it was against council rules for Zelensky to appear by video and rejected what he called “reckless threats and ultimatums” by Ukraine and its supporters in the West.
Nebenzya said damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure was caused by missiles fired by Ukrainian air defense systems crashing into civilian areas, after being fired at Russian missiles, and called on the West to stop providing kyiv with air defense missiles.
kyiv was one of the main targets of Wednesday’s missile strikes. “Today we have had three hits on high-rise apartment buildings. Unfortunately, 10 people have died,” Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said. Reuters was unable to independently verify this information.
Explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital as Russian missiles swooped down and Ukrainian air defense rockets were fired in an attempt to intercept them.
“Our little girl was sleeping. She’s two years old. She was sleeping and covered herself. She’s alive, thank God,” said a man who gave his name as Fyodr, dragging a suitcase as he walked away from a burning apartment building that was hit. in Kyiv.
The entire kyiv region, where more than 3 million people live, was left without electricity and running water, according to the kyiv governor. Much of Ukraine suffered similar problems, with some regions enforcing emergency blackouts to help conserve power and carry out repairs.
Zelensky said power and other services were being reconnected in more areas. “Energy specialists, municipal workers and emergency teams are working around the clock,” he said in a video address.
The temperature was -3.4C in kyiv early Thursday and 70% of the city was still in blackout, the mayor said.
Since October, Russia has acknowledged targeting Ukraine’s civil power grid far from the front lines, as the Ukrainian counteroffensive has recaptured territory from Russian forces in the east and south.
Moscow claims that the goal of its missile strikes is to weaken Ukraine’s fighting ability and push it to negotiate. kyiv says attacks on infrastructure amount to war crimes, with the deliberate intent to harm civilians and break the national will.
That will not happen, Zelensky promised in a video speech posted on the Telegram messaging app: “We will renew everything and move forward because we are an unbreakable people.”
THE FIGHTS CONTINUE
Ground fighting continues in the east, where Russia is pressing an offensive along a stretch of the front line west of the city of Donetsk, which has been in the hands of pro-Russian forces since 2014.
The Ukrainian General Staff said that the Russian soldiers tried again to advance on their main objectives in the Donetsk region: Bakhmut and Avdivka. The Russian military shelled both areas and used incendiary devices to attack Ukrainian positions with limited success, the General Staff said.
Among those fighting the Russians in Bakhmut is a unit of Chechen fighters, who hope that a Ukrainian victory could trigger a political crisis in Russia and bring down the powerful pro-Moscow Chechen leader.
“We are not fighting just to fight. We want to achieve freedom and independence for our nations,” said a fighter who goes by the name Maga.
Further south, Russian forces were entrenched on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, according to the General Staff, and shelling areas on the western bank, including the city of Kherson, recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces.
Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield accounts.
Moscow says it is carrying out a “special military operation” to protect Russian-speakers. Ukraine and the West call the invasion an unprovoked land grab.
Western responses have included billions of dollars in financial aid and state-of-the-art military equipment for kyiv and waves of sanctions on Russia.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.