Putin admits attacks on Ukraine infrastructure, asking, ‘Who started it?’


Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted on Thursday that Moscow is targeting key civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and he has vowed to continue the strikes – during the winter, which has left the million people without heat, light and water.

“There is a lot of noise right now about our strikes on the energy infrastructure of neighboring countries,” Putin said, during a press conference on Thursday in the Kremlin. “Yes, we are doing this. But who started it?”

Holding a drink and talking with a joke, he said that the international condemnation of the weapons “will not stop us from completing our military goals.”

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Since the beginning of October, Moscow has fired a number of missiles at energy and infrastructure sites across Ukraine, leading to blackouts and disabling all areas of water, electricity and sometimes heat when the winter chills descend.

Ukrainian officials and some Western officials have said Moscow’s actions may amount to war crimes because of their impact on civilians. The Kremlin insists the bombs are a military project, but in his remarks Thursday, Putin dismissed them as tit-for-tat retaliation.

The Russian president accused Kyiv of having provoked the weapons, and pointed out, in particular, an attack in early October on the Crimean Bridge – a $4 billion symbol of Putin’s imperial ambitions in Ukraine, which connected with Crimea and mainland Russia.

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Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility for the explosion but the event was widely praised in Ukraine and officials have separately acknowledged the role of Ukrainian special services.

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“Who Killed the Crimean Bridge?” Putin asked. “Who blew up the power lines of the Kursk nuclear power station?”

Putin also accused the world of remaining silent on Ukraine’s abuse of civilians in the Russian-speaking region of Donetsk – despite Russia instigating the separatist war there that began in 2014.

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“Who is not supplying water to Donetsk,” Putin asked. “Not providing water to a city of 1 million people is genocide.”

Since the start of Moscow’s attacks on infrastructure, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on citizens to limit their electricity use and seek shelter during air threats.

“To get through this winter, we must always help each other and take care of each other,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram on Thursday. “To get through the winter, we need to be stronger and more united than ever.”


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