March 20, 2023

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Putin says Ukraine’s energy infrastructure ‘inevitable’

“Necessary and inevitable”: Vladimir Putin on Friday justified bombings that destroyed Ukrainian energy infrastructure just before winter arrived.

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The Russian president, during their first phone conversation in mid-September and despite a series of heavy military setbacks, told German Chancellor Olaf Scholes to be straight with his shoes.

“It was pointed out that the Russian Armed Forces have long refrained from launching high-precision missile strikes against certain targets in Ukraine, but such actions have become necessary and unavoidable in the face of provocations from Kiev,” the Kremlin said in a statement. , to paraphrase Vladimir Putin.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

AFP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

According to the Russian president, Kiev is responsible for the explosions that partially destroyed the Crimean bridge and other Russian installations, so Moscow is within its rights to bomb Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, even if it leaves its citizens cold and black. .

The last Russian wave of missile and drone strikes was on November 23. It plunged millions of Ukrainians into darkness and deprived them of running water, sometimes for days.

In a report drawn up Thursday, a week after the attacks, Ukrainian private operator DTEK estimated that Russia had “destroyed 40% of the Ukrainian energy system.”

Most Ukrainian homes only have electricity for a few hours a day.

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However, in Kiev, people try to live normally during this traditional music concert where 600 artificial LED candles light up the stage.

“We thought it was a good idea to save energy,” Irina Mikolenko, the concert’s organizer, told AFP.

“We want to bring inspiration, light and love to people who find themselves in a situation […] Tell people that it is difficult and we are not defeated,” he adds.

Ukrainian officials said Monday they expect a new wave of Russian bombings soon.

On merit, Messrs. So Scholes and Putin can only overlook their differences.

In this hour-long telephone conversation between the two leaders, Mr. The chancellor pointed out that Scholz “urged the Russian president to find a diplomatic solution as soon as possible that would mean the withdrawal of Russian troops.”

Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, pointed to the West’s “catastrophic” position, saying the West’s political, financial and military support is encouraging Kiev to reject “any idea of ​​negotiations,” according to a Kremlin statement.

Mr. Vladimir Putin Calling on Scholes to “reconsider his approach”.

Earlier, the Kremlin had already brushed off the conditions mentioned by US President Joe Biden, who said he was “ready” to discuss whether the Russian president was looking for “a way to end the war”. Take back his forces.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia “clearly” rejects the idea. “Military action continues,” he insisted.

Dmitry Peskov

AFP

Dmitry Peskov

Apart from Crimea, which was annexed in 2014, the Russian president ordered the annexation at the end of September, even though he does not control four parts of Ukraine.

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Kyiv rejects any talks with Putin without respecting its territorial integrity, including Crimea.

Militarily, the Russian army suffered several defeats, being forced to withdraw from the north of the country in April, then from part of the northeast in September, and finally from part of the south in November.

Since October, Russian forces have had a tactic of bombing Ukraine’s installations that provide electricity and heat, even as winter settles in.

To increase pressure on Russia, which is already the target of several economic sanctions, the West is seeking to agree on a mechanism to control Russian oil prices.

Americans and Europeans must try to deprive Moscow of the manna that is being used to finance its military offensive.

A deal was almost sealed by EU countries’ ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday evening, but it still awaits a green light from Poland, which considers the instrument too limited.

Although sanctions adopted since February have largely isolated Russia, its economy has so far held up well, mainly thanks to hydrocarbon revenues.