When Russia launched a surprise missile strike, electricity was even cut off in Ukraine, turning into chaos. In response to Russia’s atrocities, the European Union (EU) parliament designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, but real pressure seems elusive.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Al Jazeera on the 23rd (local time), Russia fired 70 missiles at Ukraine on the same day, causing electricity and water supply cuts throughout Ukraine, including Kiiu.
The missile strike killed six people and injured at least 30 others. Most of the 70 missiles were fired from Russian fighter jets, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. Ukrainian forces shot down 51 of them.
Kiu Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said via Telegram that water and electricity are not available in some areas. Three nuclear power stations were also shut down due to power cuts. In addition to Kieu, power cuts also occurred in Odessa, Dnipro, and Khmelnytsky. When power cuts occurred, authorities operated shelters that provided food and heat.
In particular, there is a growing voice of criticism towards Russia as there is also a maternity hospital in the Vilnyansk region that was targeted by the air strike. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The maternity ward of the Vilnyansk hospital was hit by a missile. A baby was killed and a woman was injured. There will still be people under the rubble.”
Analysts say Russia’s large-scale missile supply is a strategy to confuse Ukrainian public opinion before winter. The WSJ called the airstrike “one of the biggest airstrikes ever” and saw it as “a Russian strategy to cut off power and energy supplies when the winter cold sets in.” US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield also said, “Russia is clearly causing great pain to the Ukrainian people with winter as a weapon.”
There are also concerns about refugees. “This winter will simply be about survival,” said European Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Hans-Henry Kluge at a press conference in Kieu on the 21st,” he warned. In fact, sub-zero weather has already occurred in most areas of Ukraine. Kluge predicted that between 2 million and 3 million Ukrainians will be forced to leave their homes this winter in search of “warmth and safety.”
Meanwhile, on the same day, the European Union (EU) parliament designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, saying that Russia had violated international law by attacking civilian facilities such as hospitals and schools. “Deliberate attacks and atrocities by Russia against Ukrainian civilians, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and other serious human rights violations and violations of international human rights law by Russia constitute an act of terrorism,” the European Parliament said in a resolution.
However, the current bill appears to stop at symbolic measures. Reuters analyzed, “It will be symbolic because there is no legal basis to support the designation of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.”
Russia immediately objected to the EU parliament’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Telegram that “we intend to designate the European Parliament as an ignorant benefactor.”
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