Russia is targeting Ukraine with missiles and drones, injuring civilians
The bombing was the latest in a relentless assault on Ukraine’s energy systems that began early last month, and reflected Moscow’s narrowed strategic options after a series of battlefield defeats, including its retreat from the southern city of Kherson.
With its ground forces shattered and territory lost, Russia has resorted to long-range bombing as it struggles to train and equip tens of thousands of new recruits, many of whom may have no desire to fight in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed war.
After most Group of 20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia this week strongly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday sought to shift the blame to Kiev for power and heating shortages in many parts of Ukraine – outages that were a direct result of Russian military hits.
The power outage was caused by the “unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to solve the problem, to enter into negotiations,” said Peskov. Speaking to reporters, he claimed that Russia was targeting only targets of military importance and warned that Moscow would achieve its goals in Ukraine either through peace talks or continued military action.
“First they negotiate, then they refuse to negotiate, then they pass a law that prohibits any kind of negotiations, then they say they want negotiations, but public ones,” Peskov said, rejecting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for any negotiations to take place on Wednesday. public.
There appears to be little or no willingness to budge on either side, with Moscow insisting that the Ukrainian territory it illegally annexed will forever be Russian land. Ukraine, meanwhile, is demanding a full Russian withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Restoring territorial sovereignty was part of a 10-point peace plan that Zelenski presented to G-20 leaders this week. The plan also required Russia to pay reparations.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accused Kiev on Thursday of setting the preconditions for talks, which he said proved that Ukraine was not interested in negotiations.
However, Ryabkov said Russia’s commitment to its unconditional territorial integrity was unwavering, including “within the constituent territories recently admitted to the Russian Federation.” This is not the same as setting the preconditions for talks, he said.
Ukrainian officials said Thursday’s continued bombardment proved the hollowness of Russia’s claims that it was ready to negotiate.
In one small sign of compromise, Russia on Thursday agreed to a 120-day extension of a Turkish-brokered grain export deal, allowing Ukraine to ship grain from three ports, after Moscow had previously threatened not to extend the deal.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it was a “technical delay” of the agreement, with no objections from either side.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he has secured commitments to continue the deal, which is seen as key to averting a global food crisis.
“It was clearly seen how important and beneficial this agreement is to the world’s food supply and security, with the delivery of more than 11 million tons of grain and foodstuffs to the needy by nearly 500 ships in the last four months,” Erdogan said in a statement. He expressed his gratitude to Putin and Zelensky, as well as to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.
During Tuesday’s brutal firefight, Russia launched more than 90 missiles and 11 Iranian drones into Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials. One missile – now believed to have come from Ukrainian air defenses – fell in eastern Poland, killing two men in the village of Przewodow.
Zelensky insisted on Wednesday that the missile that hit Poland was not fired by his military, saying there was “no doubt” that despite intelligence and the initial results of an investigation released by Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO. Duda visited the scene of the incident on Thursday, but indicated that it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to participate in the investigation soon.
However, in the early hours of Thursday morning, President Biden refuted Zelenski’s position.
Asked about Zelenskiy’s claim after he disembarked from Marine One shortly after returning to the White House from a Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, Biden said: “That’s not evidence.”
Barely half an hour later, at 8 a.m. local time in Ukraine, air raid sirens sounded across the country.
And about an hour later, local authorities reported that Ukrainian air defenses had shot down Russian missiles and drones, but that some energy and industrial infrastructure targets had been hit.
In Dnipro, the capital of the region in central Ukraine, dashboard camera footage showed a huge explosion in the center of a city street as vehicles drove down a main thoroughfare. Zelensky released the video, which the Washington Post could not immediately independently verify.
“Morning. A peaceful city and people’s desire to live a normal life. Go to work, go to work. Missile strike!” Zelenski wrote in the comment accompanying the video.
Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, announced on his Telegram channel that Russian rockets had hit two Dnieper districts, causing a “big fire” and damaging residential buildings. He said that 14 people were hospitalized with injuries, including a 15-year-old girl.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told an economic conference in Kiev on Thursday that the Russians were “bombing our enterprises in the Dnieper,” including aerospace manufacturer Pivdenmash.
Alexey Chernyshov, the head of Ukraine’s state energy company Naftogas, said in a statement Thursday that Russia had launched a “massive attack” on the company’s gas production infrastructure. “Currently, several destroyed buildings are known. Others suffered damage of varying degrees,” said Chernyshov.
Other areas of the country also reported destruction and casualties. On the Black Sea coast, authorities reported that three people were injured during the attack in the Odesa region. Military officials said the Russians launched cruise missiles from the Black Sea and from two Su-30 bombers. They said six missiles were shot down.
Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said four rockets hit critical infrastructure in the Izjum region of eastern Ukraine. Eight people were injured, the regional prosecutor’s office announced.
Kyiv’s military administration announced on Telegram that air defenses shot down four missiles and five self-detonating drones, but said there were no hits on buildings or infrastructure.
However, the governor of Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said that the electricity situation is “difficult” and that power cuts are planned.
But even with the missiles flying, Erdogan announced on Thursday that he had secured commitments to continue an interim deal to protect Ukraine’s grain exports from Black Sea ports – a deal seen as key to averting a global food crisis.
“As a result of four-way negotiations hosted by Turkey, the Black Sea Grain Corridor Agreement has been extended for 120 days from November 19, 2022, in accordance with the decision reached between Turkey, the United Nations, the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” he stated. Erdogan in a statement.
Dixon reported from Riga, Latvia. Zeynep Karatas in Istanbul and Loveday Morris in Przewodow, Poland, contributed to this report.
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