Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “crimes against humanity” after a new missile barrage caused blackouts across Ukraine.
Speaking to the UN Security Council via videolink, Zelenskyy said that the Russian “formula of terror” had forced “millions of people to stay without energy supplies, without heating, without water” in sub-zero cold.
The strikes by Russia on Tuesday, November 22 on Ukranian infrastructure killed at least seven people, Ukraine said, as Nuclear power plants went off-line even as winter sets in.
The three plants still under Ukrainian control were disconnected from the grid and the Zaporizhzhia plant – Europe’s largest – was forced again to rely on diesel generators to power its cooling systems and key safety equipment.
Neighbouring Moldova also experienced massive blackouts on Wednesday, but was not directly hit.
The missile strikes on power stations have left more than half of the Ukraine’s power grid in need of repair.
Late on Wednesday night, Zelensky said the situation in Kyiv remained “very difficult” and efforts would continue through the night to restore electricity.
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “weaponising winter” to inflict immense suffering.
“Having struggled on the battlefield, Moscow is now adopting a cowardly and inhumane strategy that punishes Ukrainian men, women and children,” she said.
General Valeriy Zaluzhniy – the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces – said 67 cruise missiles were launched by Moscow, with air defences successfully intercepting 51.
Moscow has said that attacking Ukraine’s power grid could weaken Kyiv’s ability to fight and drive its leaders to the negotiating table.
Kyiv requested the UN Security Council meeting, and Zelensky urged the UN to do more to help Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that Russia’s strikes against civilian infrastructure constituted a war crime, following similar comments from the US.
Earlier on Wednesday the European Parliament designated Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” over its attack on Ukraine.