The bombing was the latest in a relentless assault on Ukraine’s energy systems that began early last month, reversing Moscow’s narrow strategic choices after a string of battlefield defeats including its withdrawal from the southern city of Kherson.
With its ground forces decimated and losing territory, Russia has resorted to long-range bombing, while struggling to train and equip tens of thousands of new recruits, many of whom may not want to fight in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed war.
After most G20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia this week strongly condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday sought to blame Kyiv for electricity and heat shortages in many parts of Ukraine – outages that have been tantamount to a crisis. A direct result of Russian military strikes.
Peskov said that the power outage occurred due to “the unwillingness of the Ukrainian side to solve the problem and enter into negotiations.” Speaking to reporters, he claimed that Russia had only bombed targets of military importance and warned that Moscow would achieve its goals in Ukraine either through peace talks or continued military action.
Peskov said, dismissing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call on Wednesday for any negotiations. in public.
There appears to be little or no willingness to give up land on either side, with Moscow insisting that the Ukrainian lands it illegally annexed will forever be Russian territory. Meanwhile, Ukraine demands a full Russian withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Restoring territorial sovereignty was part of a 10-point peace plan Zelensky presented to G20 leaders this week. The plan also called for Russia to pay compensation.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Thursday accused Kyiv of setting preconditions for the talks which he said prove Ukraine is not interested in negotiating.
But Ryabkov said Russia’s commitment to its unconditional territorial integrity is unwavering, including “within the constituent territories recently accepted into the Russian Federation.” He said this was not the same as setting preconditions for the talks.
Ukrainian officials said the continued bombing on Thursday proved the hollowness of Russia’s claims that it was ready to negotiate.
In a small sign of compromise, Russia on Thursday agreed to a Turkish-brokered 120-day extension of the grain export deal, allowing Ukraine to ship grain from three ports, after Moscow previously threatened it would not extend the deal.
On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was a “technical extension” of the agreement, without objection from any side.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had secured pledges to continue with the agreement, which is crucial to preventing a global food crisis.
“We have clearly seen how important and beneficial this agreement is for the world’s food supply and security, as more than 11 million tons of grain and foodstuffs have been delivered to the needy with nearly 500 ships in the past four months,” Erdogan said in a statement. He expressed his gratitude to Putin and Zelensky as well. To the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.
Ukrainian officials said that, during a brutal outbreak on Tuesday, Russia launched more than 90 missiles and 11 Iranian drones against Ukraine. A missile – now believed to have come from Ukrainian air defences – landed 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 he had “no doubt” about that despite intelligence and preliminary investigation findings announced by Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO. Duda visited the crash site on Thursday but noted that it was unlikely that Ukraine would be able to take part in the investigation any time soon.
But President Biden rebutted Zelensky’s position in the early hours of Thursday.
Asked about Zelensky’s allegation after he was discharged from the Marine Corps shortly after returning to the White House from the G-20 summit in Indonesia, Biden said, “That’s not the evidence.”
Barely half an hour later, at 8 am local time in Ukraine, air raid sirens sounded across the country.
About an hour later, local authorities reported that Ukrainian air defenses were shooting down Russian missiles and drones, but some energy targets and industrial infrastructure were hit.
In Dnipro, a regional capital in central Ukraine, dashboard camera footage showed a huge explosion in the middle of a city street as vehicles drove along the main road. Zelensky posted the video, which The Washington Post could not immediately verify.
“Morning. A peaceful city and people’s desire to live a normal life. Go to work, to work. Missile strike!” Zelensky wrote in a caption accompanying the video.
Valentin Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, posted on his Telegram channel that Russian missiles hit two districts in Dnipro, causing a “big fire” and damaging residential buildings. He said that 14 people were taken to hospital with injuries, including a 15-year-old girl.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at an economic conference in Kyiv on Thursday that the Russians were “bombing our companies in the Dnipro,” including aircraft manufacturer Pevdenmash.
Oleksey Chernyshov, head of Ukraine’s state energy company, Naftogaz, said in a statement Thursday that Russia had launched a “massive attack” on the company’s gas production infrastructure. Currently, many destructive things are known. Others suffered damage of varying degrees, Chernyshov said.
Other parts of the country also reported destruction and casualties. On the Black Sea coast, authorities reported that three people were injured during attacks in the Odessa region. Military officials said the Russians launched cruise missiles from the Black Sea and from two Su-30 bombers. They said that six missiles were shot down.
Kharkiv Governor Oleh Sinyhopov said four missiles hit critical infrastructure in the Izyum region of eastern Ukraine. The regional prosecutor’s office said eight people were injured.
The Kyiv military department posted on Telegram that air defenses shot down four missiles and five self-detonating drones but said there were no strikes on buildings or infrastructure.
However, the governor of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, said the electricity situation was “difficult” and that blackouts were planned.
But even as the missiles fired, Erdogan announced on Thursday that he had secured commitments to continue the interim agreement protecting Ukraine’s grain exports from Black Sea ports – an agreement seen as crucial to preventing a global food crisis.
“As a result of the quadripartite talks hosted by Turkey, the Black Sea Grain Corridor Agreement has been extended for 120 days from November 19, 2022, in line with the decision taken between Turkey, the United Nations, the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” Erdogan said in a statement.
Dixon reports from Riga, Latvia. Zeynep Karatas in Istanbul and Loveday Morris in Przyodo, Poland contributed to this report.
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