As Moscow persisted in 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 a “state sponsor of terrorism”, citing its “brutal and inhumane acts”. ” against ordinary citizens.
In a video address to the UN Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a “firm reaction” to the massacre. “In our midst,” he told the Council, which included the Russian ambassador, “you have the representative of a state that offers nothing to the world but terror” and should not participate “in any kind of vote regarding its terror “.
“This is an impasse,” Zelensky said at an emergency meeting called by the United States and Albania to discuss the Russian attacks. “We need your decision.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motive “couldn’t be more clear and cold-blooded. … He decided that if he couldn’t take Ukraine by force, he would try to freeze the country into submission.”
But while condemnation of the Russian attacks was widespread, a number of council members from Africa, along with India, China, Brazil and others, expressed concern that what have become almost weekly meetings on the crisis are not achieving much and called for renewed diplomacy to the war stopped.
In addition to what Ukraine’s main power grid operator, Ukrenergo, said on its Telegram channel that there were outages in “all regions” of the country, the Energy Ministry said the strikes led to the temporary shutdown of all nuclear plants under Kyiv’s control, as well . as in “most thermal and hydro plants”.
Power was also cut in most of neighboring Moldova, where the electricity grid is connected to Ukraine. Minister of Foreign Affairs Niku Popescu, posting on Twittersaid he called the Russian ambassador for “explanations”.
Ukrainian energy systems on the brink of collapse after weeks of Russian bombing
Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 51 of 70 missiles launched on Wednesday and destroyed five self-destructing drones. The Kyiv City Military Administration announced that of the 31 missiles fired at the capital, 22 were intercepted by anti-aircraft defense systems.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko also said the city’s water supply would be temporarily cut off, and as night fell, large parts of the city remained without power. The strikes also left all of Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, without electricity, Mayor Andriy Sadovy 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 result – the number of Russian missiles intercepted,” tweeted Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskiy, while the bombing was underway.
The flow of Russian gas and cash has entangled the German state in a web of dependency
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that the bombing was for military purposes and would continue until Moscow’s military goals were achieved.
An early morning rocket attack smashed the maternity ward of a hospital in Vilnyansk, a city in the Zaporozhye region, killing a 2-day-old baby boy.
The missile, which Zelensky said was fired from Russia, hit the hospital at 2 a.m. as a mother slept by her newborn’s crib, according to the hospital’s medical director, Valeria Kroshena.
The strike destroyed the maternity ward on the second floor and the clinic below, causing the building’s brick walls to fall to the ground. A doctor who was on duty during the night and who is now recovering from serious burns was also injured in the explosion, Krošena said.
A different doctor, who delivered the baby, was off duty and rushed to the hospital as soon as she heard the explosion, according to Krosena. The doctor knew that the only patients in the hospital that night were the mother and her young son, Krosena said, and she knew exactly where they were. The mother, who is 30 years old, was not injured. The boy was her fourth baby, Kroshena said. “It’s unimaginable,” she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers were using excavators to dig through what was left of the maternity ward. Some rooms were left partially standing and parts of the ceiling fell onto hospital beds and baby cots. The windows in the neighboring building were blown out and shattered by the blast.
The missile was a Russian-made S-300, local authorities said.
The attack in Vilnyansk, about 20 miles northeast of the city of Zaporizhia, the regional capital, came less than a week after another missile struck an apartment building in the same city, killing 11 people. Zaporozhye is one of four Ukrainian regions that Putin claims have been annexed by Russia – in violation of international law.
Despite Putin’s claims of annexation, Russia has not occupied the city of Zaporizhia and has also withdrawn from the city of Kherson, the only regional capital it has captured since the full-scale invasion began in February.
Two of those killed in the previous strike in Vilnius were also young, aged 10 and 15.
Following Russia’s withdrawal from the city of Kherson, attention turned to the Zaporozhye region as the most likely location for a new Ukrainian counteroffensive, potentially pushing south toward the occupied city of Melitopol and the critical Kakhovka hydroelectric plant and dam in the Kherson region.
Russian bombs hit the suburb of Kherson in the shadow of the destroyed bridge
Wednesday’s vote by the European Parliament, the legislative body of the 27-member European Union, reflects continued anger in Brussels and across Europe over the Russian invasion and the outbreak of full-scale war on the European continent for the first time in the 21st century.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, said Wednesday’s European Parliament resolution violated international law and that a country cannot be labeled a terrorist.
“Russia has always strongly opposed the concept of ‘state terrorism,'” Kosachev wrote in a statement posted on Telegram, adding: “The collective West is actively trying to introduce the principle of collective responsibility and punish all ‘objecting’ countries and regimes simply . because there is an alternative point of view and a different pattern of behavior.”
What Russia has gained and lost so far in Ukraine, visualized
In his response at the UN Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the Russian strikes were designed to weaken the “military capability of our adversaries” and were carried out with “precision”. He charged that Western-supplied weapons were responsible for much of the damage to residential and other civilian areas and chastised the international community, saying it had not shown the same concern for what he said were Ukrainian war crimes.
The Pentagon said Wednesday it would expedite $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 contains an unspecified number of munitions for the two NASAMS surface-to-air systems provided by Washington, plus 150 heavy machine guns equipped with thermal sights to help Ukrainian forces spot and shoot down drones. More than 200 power generators will also be shipped from American stockpiles.
Schmidt reported from Vilnius. Francesca Ebel in London and Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report.