kyiv: Ukraine was preparing on Thursday to restrict its energy consumption to cope with the destruction of its infrastructure by the Russian army as winter approaches, with President Volodymyr Zelensky calling on the population to prepare for ” all possible scenarios.
As shelling continued across Ukraine on Wednesday, including in the capital, kyiv accused Russia of planning a “mass deportation” of people from recently annexed territories and the forcible conscription of Ukrainian citizens into its army.
In his Wednesday evening address, Zelensky said Ukrainian forces shot down 21 Iranian drones on Wednesday, ten of which were heading towards kyiv. “Unfortunately, there were also strikes, and further damage to critical infrastructure,” he lamented.
He called on Ukrainians to restrict their electricity consumption from Thursday 07:00 (04:00 GMT). A call relayed by the mayor of kyiv Vitaliy Klichko, who called on his constituents to refrain from turning on microwave ovens, air conditioners, electric kettles or electric heaters between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
The Ukrainian presidency had earlier announced “restrictions for electricity supply” across Ukraine on Thursday, and the creation of mobile electricity supply points for critical infrastructure.
“We are preparing for all possible scenarios as winter approaches,” Zelensky said. “We expect Russian terror to be directed against energy installations until, with the help of our partners, we are able to destroy 100% of missiles and drones,” he added. .
The European Union is preparing sanctions against Iran, accused of supplying Russia with armed drones to strike Ukraine. And, at the UN, the Security Council met for two hours behind closed doors on Wednesday on this issue.
“Ruthless and deliberate attacks”
US diplomacy “has seen a lot of evidence in recent months that Russia is using Iranian (drones) for ruthless and deliberate attacks against the Ukrainian population and critical civilian infrastructure,” a spokesman for the Department of Defense said before the meeting. ‘State.
Mr. Zelensky said on Wednesday that his army had destroyed 233 of these drones in a month.
Deputy Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitri Polianski and Iranian Ambassador Amir Saïd Iravani followed each other in front of the press at the door of the Security Council to deny it.
The Russian diplomat blasted “baseless accusations, conspiracy theories and no evidence presented before the Security Council”. He claimed that the drones “used by the Russian military in Ukraine were made in Russia”.
The Iranian ambassador also brushed aside “baseless and insubstantial allegations”, and repeated that his country wanted a “peaceful settlement” of the conflict.
Resist “until death”
In southern Ukraine, the Russian administration of the Kherson region assured Wednesday that the evacuations of civilians had begun. It plans to move “50,000 to 60,000” in a few days to the other bank of the Dnieper.
The city of Kherson, occupied since the spring, will be evacuated in the face of the advance of Ukrainian troops, said the head of the pro-Russian municipal authorities Vladimir Saldo, promising that the Russian soldiers would resist “until death”.
General Sergey Surovikin, recently appointed head of Russian operations in Ukraine, admitted on Tuesday that the situation there was “very difficult”.
But for the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, we are rather witnessing “the preparation of the massive deportation of the Ukrainian population” to Russia “in order to modify the ethnic composition of the occupied territories”.
“A crime which should be condemned by the United Nations and which has already been committed in Crimea”, unilaterally attached in 2014 to Russia, he added.
In total, “about five million inhabitants” of the four Ukrainian regions annexed in September by Moscow are currently on Russian soil, where they have “taken refuge”, for his part affirmed the secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.
These are those of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporijjia in which the Russian president ordered the establishment of martial law on Wednesday, a measure “null and void”, reacted Ukrainian diplomacy.
President Zelensky also warned the inhabitants of the annexed regions against a campaign of forced recruitment by the Russian army. “Try to leave the occupied territory. And if you can’t do it and you end up in Russian military units, try at the first opportunity to lay down your arms and go towards the Ukrainian positions,” he said. he throws.
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