Russia launched fresh strikes across Ukraine on Tuesday morning, continuing a days-long aerial assault under President Vladimir Putin’s new war commander that has taken a serious toll on Ukrainian power infrastructure and civilians. Moscow insists it is only targeting power installations, and it has indeed hammered Ukraine’s energy and water supplies, including a power plant in Kyiv that was hit Tuesday.
With power cuts already spreading as Ukraine’s harsh winter approaches — and with civilians being killed daily by the ongoing barrage of “suicide drones” that Russia is launching along with its missiles — Kyiv’s mayor and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy have labeled Russia a “terrorist state.”
A photo provided by Ukraine’s State Emergency Service shows firefighters working to douse a blaze at Thermal Power Plant-6 in the capital city Kyiv after it was hit by a Russian missile strike, October 18, 2022. Handout/State Emergency Service of Ukraine
A swarm of the Iranian-made, explosives-packed drones slammed into buildings in Kyiv on Monday killing four people, including Viktoria Zamchenko, who was reportedly six months pregnant with her first child.
Ukraine claims Russia has ordered nearly 2,500 suicide drones from Iran, reportedly at a cost of around $20,000 each, a fraction of the price of a guided missile.
Iran has denied that it is providing Russia with weapons for the war, but the Reuters news agency reported Tuesday, citing unnamed Iranian sources, that Tehran had actually agreed to provide Russia with even more weapons in a new deal arranged during an early-October visit by Iranian security officials to Moscow. The deal, which CBS News could not independently verify, apparently saw Iran promise not only drones, but surface-to-surface missiles.
Russia launches new wave of “suicide drone” attacks on Ukraine 06:48
Ukraine’s foreign minister said Tuesday that he was submitting a proposal to Zelenskyy to sever the country’s diplomatic ties with Tehran completely over its provision of drones to Russia. Last week, a top British intelligence official said the Russian military’s “supplies and munitions are running out.”
“The world must stop this terror,” Zelenskyy said Monday night, renewing his months-long plea for Western nations to provide Ukraine with more, and more advanced, air defense systems.
Many of Ukraine’s cities, including Kyiv, had been relatively calm for months. But since General Sergei Surovikin, or “General Armageddon” as he’s also known, took over as commander of Putin’s struggling war effort, Moscow has increasingly relied on the small, relatively cheap suicide drones, and they could have a significant impact on the course of the war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin applauds Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin during an awards ceremony for troops who fought in Syria, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 28, 2017. Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
Russia’s goal, according to Ukrainian officials, appears to be to destroy enough infrastructure and civilian lives that support for the war wanes inside Ukraine, and among its international partners. While there’s been no indication that the Russian tactic is working to that end, Ukrainian officials have started warning people to brace for a difficult winter.
“The situation is critical now across the country,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of President Zelenksyy’s office said on television. “The whole country needs to prepare for electricity, water and heating outages.”
Zelenskyy said in a tweet that “30% of Ukraine’s power stations” had been destroyed over the last week alone, leading to “massive blackouts across the country.”
Another kind of Russian terrorist attacks: targeting 🇺🇦 energy & critical infrastructure. Since Oct 10, 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country. No space left for negotiations with Putin’s regime. @United24media pic.twitter.com/LN4A2GYgCK
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) October 18, 2022
The power cuts were already hitting parts of the capital, the Zhytomyr region west of Kyiv, and Dnipro in the south.
“The terrorist state will not change anything for itself with such actions,” Zelenksyy said in another message posted to the Telegram messaging app. “It will only confirm its destructive and murderous essence, for which it will certainly be held to account.”
In the meantime, Ukrainian civilians continue to pay the price.
“They [Russians] probably get pleasure from this,” the owner of a flower shop in the southern city of Mykolaiv told the Reuters news agency after a Russian missile slammed into a nearby apartment building, killing one person and damaging his store. “They get pleasure from us feeling bad. I think they want us to bomb and shell [their] city buildings. But we won’t do that, to be different from them.”