As Moscow continues its relentless bid to leave millions of Ukrainians without electricity, heat and water during the cold winter months, the European Parliament in a symbolic vote on Wednesday designated Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” citing its ” cruel and inhumane. action” against ordinary citizens.
In a video address to the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a “resolute response” to the carnage. “Among us,” he told the council, which included the Russian ambassador, “you have a representative of a state that offers nothing to the world but terrorism” and should not take part “in any kind of voting about her fear.”
“This is a dead end,” Zelensky said at the emergency meeting, called by the United States and Albania to discuss the Russian strikes. “We need your decision.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motive “could not be more clear and more cold-blooded. … He has decided that if he cannot seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country into submission.”
But while there was widespread condemnation of the Russian strikes, several council members from Africa, along with India, China, Brazil and others, expressed concern that what have become almost weekly meetings on the crisis were not achieving much and called for renewed diplomacy. to stop the war.
In addition to what Ukraine’s main power grid operator, Ukrenergo, said on its Telegram channel were blackouts in “all regions” of the country, the Energy Ministry said strikes had led to temporary shutdowns at all nuclear power plants under Kyiv management, also as on “the majority of thermal and hydroelectric plants.”
Power was also knocked out across most of neighboring Moldova, where the electricity grid is connected to Ukraine. Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, posted on Twitterthat he had called the Russian ambassador for “explanations.”
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Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 51 out of 70 missiles launched on Wednesday and also destroyed five self-destructing drones. The Kyiv city military administration reported that of 31 missiles fired at the capital, 22 were intercepted by air defense systems.
Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko also said the city’s water supply would be temporarily cut off, and as night fell, large parts of the city were without electricity. The strikes also left all of Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, without power, Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said on his Telegram channel.
“While one is waiting for the results of the World Cup and the number of goals scored, Ukrainians are waiting for another score – the number of Russian missiles intercepted,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, wrote on Twitter as the bombing continues.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has insisted that the bombing serves military purposes and will continue until Moscow’s war aims are achieved.
One early morning missile strike crushed the maternity ward of a hospital in Vilnyansk, a town in the Zaporizhzhia region, killing a 2-day-old baby boy.
The rocket, which Zelensky said was fired by Russia, hit the hospital at 2 a.m. as a mother was sleeping next to her newborn’s crib, according to the hospital’s medical director, Valeria Kroshena.
The strike destroyed the second floor maternity ward and the clinic below, sending the brick walls of the building to the ground. The explosion also injured a doctor who was on duty overnight and is now recovering from severe burns, Kroshena said.
A different doctor, who delivered the newborn, was not on duty and rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard the explosion, according to Kroshena. The doctor knew that the only patients in the hospital that night were the mother and her baby son, Kroshena said, and she knew exactly where they were. The mother, who is in her mid-30s, was not injured. The boy was her fourth baby, Kroshena said. “It’s unimaginable,” he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers used excavators to dig through what was left of the maternity ward. Some rooms were still partially standing, with pieces of the ceiling having fallen onto hospital beds and baby cots. Windows in the building next door were blown out and shattered from the blast.
The missile was a Russian S-300, local officials said.
The strike in Vilnyansk, about 20 miles northeast of the city of Zaporizhzhia, the regional capital, came less than a week after another missile hit a residential building in the same town, killing 11 people. Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions in Ukraine that Putin has claimed were annexed by Russia – in violation of international law.
Despite Putin’s annexation claims, Russia has not taken the city of Zaporizhzhia, and has also retreated from the city of Kherson, the only regional capital it had captured since the start of the full-scale invasion in February.
Two of the dead in the earlier strike in Vilnyansk were also young people aged 10 and 15.
After the Russian retreat from the city of Kherson, attention has turned to the Zaporizhzhia region as the most likely location for a new Ukrainian counteroffensive, possibly pushing south towards the occupied city of Melitopol and the region’s vital Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and dam Kherson.
Russian bombs hit the suburb of Kherson in the shadow of a destroyed bridge
Wednesday’s vote by the European Parliament, the 27-member European Union’s legislature, reflected the lingering anger in Brussels and across Europe over Russia’s invasion and the start of a full-scale war on the European continent for the first time in the 21st century.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said that Wednesday’s decision by the European Parliament violates international law and that a state cannot be branded as a terrorist.
“Russia has always strongly opposed the concept of ‘state terrorism,'” Kosachev wrote in a statement posted on Telegram, adding, “The West is collectively trying to introduce the principle of responsibility on the together and simply punish all ‘opposing’ countries and regimes. because there is an alternative point of view and a different model of behaviour.”
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In his response at the UN Security Council, the Russian Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, said that the Russian strikes were designed to weaken “the military capability of our adversaries” and were being carried out “in detail.” He charged that Western-supplied weapons were responsible for much of the damage to residential areas and other civilians and chastised the international community, saying it had shown no concern for what he described as Ukraine’s war crimes.
The Pentagon said Wednesday it would fast-track an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including additional air defenses to counter Russia’s “relentless and brutal” missile and drone attacks on the country’s civilian infrastructure.
The package includes an unspecified number of munitions for the two NASAMS surface-to-air systems that Washington has provided, along with 150 heavy machine guns with thermal sights to help Ukrainian forces detect and shoot down drones. -crew. More than 200 power generators will be dispatched from US stockpiles as well.
Schmidt reported from Vilnyansk. Francesca Ebel in London and Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report.