December 10, 2022
Zelensky vows Ukraine will counter Russian attacks on electricity network

Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s new strategy to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure and plunge it into darkness will not weaken the country’s resolve to liberate all occupied land, describing the conflict as a “war of strength and resilience”. .

Against Western fears of escalation, Ukraine’s president insisted that there would be no permanent solution to the war until Russia withdrew from all of the territory it occupied.

Moscow has stepped up a bombing campaign against Ukraine’s vital infrastructure since last month, forcing Kyiv to make concessions despite advances on the battlefield.

“We must return all the land. , , Because I believe that when there is no diplomacy, the battlefield is the way out,” Zelensky told the Financial Times. “If you can’t completely get your ground back, then the war is just stalled. It is just a question of time before it starts again.

On Wednesday, Russia launched 70 missiles against infrastructure targets across Ukraine, leaving about 80 percent of the country in darkness and without water. All 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine were shut down because electricity became unstable.

Speaking in the presidential office, which was also out of water supply, Zelensky said this week’s strike was unimaginable in the modern world.

“It was the kind of event that happened I don’t know how many years, maybe 80, 90 years: a country on the European continent where there was absolutely no light.”

He said that Ukrainians can despair or fight. “The state fought back brilliantly. Energy crews, the state emergency ministry, deminers, all worked to recover and restore power and at least a little bit of water.

By Thursday morning the nuclear reactors were being reconnected and water had started to come back on in some districts of the capital Kyiv. “It’s a war about strength, it’s about resilience, it’s about who stands strong.”

Even before Wednesday’s attacks, half the country’s power system had been disabled by waves of Russian missile strikes, leaving millions without power. After the entire capital’s water supply was cut off in Kyiv this week, some residents were forced to collect snow to melt for washing and cooking.

Ukraine is grappling with a shortage of replacement transformer units for its Soviet-era electricity network after repeated Russian missile attacks on its grid. It is seeking parts from Poland and Lithuania and is looking to ramp up domestic production, but new units take four to eight months to assemble.

The Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said Ukraine needed several hundred million dollars in aid – in addition to ongoing budgetary support – to urgently repair its electricity system.

Zelensky appealed to Ukraine’s Western partners to provide more air defense equipment to help protect critical infrastructure, as well as supplies of diesel for emergency generators and to help address power shortages Also provide extra gas.

The president said the attacks targeting civilian infrastructure showed Moscow had no intention of negotiating an end to the war.

Kyiv is pushing back on perceived pressure to show its openness to an eventual negotiated solution to the war. Some Western partners worry that any attempt by Ukraine to take back Crimea – annexed by Russia in 2014 and which it views as vital to its security – could lead to a dangerous escalation by Moscow, possibly nuclear. Even the use of weapons.

As Ukrainian forces make progress against Russian troops in the south and east, Ukraine’s military objectives have hardened: it is seeking the return of territory it occupied since February and land captured in the 2014 Russian offensive. Is.

Zelensky acknowledged that the fate of Crimea was rising on the international agenda.

“I understand that everyone is confused by the situation and what will happen to Crimea. If someone is ready to give us a way out regarding the de-annexation of Crimea by non-military means, I will only be in favor of it, ” Zelensky said. “If the solution [does not involve] de-occupation and [Crimea] Is part of the Russian Federation, no one should waste their time on this. It is a waste of time.”

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