Ukraine: Half of energy infrastructure damaged by Russian bombing

About half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has become “out of order” as a result of Russian attacks since early October, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Schmygal, in one moment in which Kiev on Friday asked for “additional support” from its European allies.

This comes as Russia accused Ukraine of “brutally” executing more than 10 of its servicemen after capturing them, condemning it as a “war crime”.

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out approving a “brief truce” with Russia, saying it would only make matters worse.

“Russia is now looking for a short respite and a respite to restore its strength,” Zelensky said in a speech broadcast to the Halifax International Security Forum. “This could be seen as the end of the war, but one tale truce will only lead to an aggravation of the situation”.

He added: “One pace truly real, lasting and sincere can only be achieved through the complete destruction of Russian aggression”.

The White House had repeated in earlier on Friday that only Zelensky could agree to start negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, rejecting any idea of ​​US pressure on Kiev in this direction.

Ukraine’s electricity grid is under fire

More than a month and a half after the start of the bombings with missiles or suicide drones, the damage to the Ukrainian energy grid appears significant.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said “nearly half” of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was “out of order”.

In a joint press conference in Kiev with European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, he called on the European Union to provide “greater support” in the face of this situation, especially “for the purchase of additional quantities of gas.”

And at the onset of winter, many Ukrainians will experience major power outages or complete at the time of the first snowfall on Thursday in the country.

On Friday, the national electricity company, Okrinergo, said that “rationing has been imposed for several hours in all of Ukraine during the day”, in following Zelensky’s announcement on Thursday evening that “ten million Ukrainians” had been deprived of electricity.

On Thursday, Ukrainian human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said the “scale” of torture cases in Kherson, the southern city liberated a week ago, was “appalling”.

According to Ukrainian presidential office official Kyrilo Tymoshenko, who visited the region, “the Russians have not only killed and booby-trapped them, they have also stolen our cities.”

Fortification of the Crimea

And after the Ukrainian army retook part of the Kherson region last week, it seemed that Kiev and Moscow would be keen to consolidate their positions as winter approaches.

In tale context, Moscow has announced that it is carrying out fortification work on the Crimean peninsula, which it has annexed, while the Russian withdrawal from Kherson has allowed the Ukrainians to place their cannons in places closest to thearea repeatedly targeted in recent months.

“We are supervising fortification work on the territory of Crimea to ensure the safety of its residents,” said Sergei Aksyonov, the governor appointed by Moscow after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Moscow has considered the peninsula part of its territory, not recognized by the international community. Kiev has repeatedly reiterated its intention to reconquer it in recent months.

A train runs between Kyiv and Kherson

For its part, the National Railways Company announced on Friday the reopening of the railway line between the capital Kiev and Kherson, which is symbolic after the city was restored a week ago.

“On Friday we will launch the first train from Kiev to Kherson,” company spokeswoman Natalya Torchak told AFP.

On the ground, the Russian military announced that it had occupied the city of Optina in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

In Poland, Ukrainian experts worked on the site on Friday in which a missile fell on Tuesday, in order to participate in the international investigation aimed at finding the cause of this accident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

Kiev and Moscow exchanged blame for this attack, while Warsaw said the missile that killed two people on the Ukraine border was used by the Ukrainian defence.

Poland refuses to enter Lavrov

Amid these developments, Poland, which is organizing the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in early December on Friday refused entry to its territory to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the organization’s presidency.

“We expect the Russian Federation to select members of its delegation in compliance with applicable regulations,” explained a source in this annual rotating presidency, currently held by Warsaw,”in so as not to include persons subject to EU sanctions as a result of Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine on February 24, including the minister.” Lavrov.

The Polish presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europa said it received a letter of protest from the Russian delegation following this decision.

On Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban described EU sanctions against Russia as a “step towards war” and redoubled his criticism of Brussels’ strategy, calling it “dangerous”.

“Anyone who intervenes economically in a military conflict takes place,” the nationalist leader said during his traditional interview on a radio close to the government. “Little by little, we are sliding towards war,” he said, expressing his concern about the backlog of measures taken to punish Russia for attacking Ukraine.

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