World Must Recognize Russia As Terrorist State, Ukraine's Kuleba Says Ahead Of UN Security Council Meeting
By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service November 23, 2022
Russia should be declared a terrorist state around the world, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said after another massive Russian missile attack killed six people and wounded 36.
Kuleba said the latest barrage of missiles on November 23 should make clear to any country still in doubt that "Russia must be recognized as terrorist state worldwide and Ukraine must get all necessary air defense systems ASAP."
Kuleba's message on Twitter came after the European Parliament designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Kuleba said Russia launched "missile terror against Ukraine's capital, other cities" in celebration of the designation. Russia has been unable to win in a fair fight against the Ukrainian military, so it is "waging a cowardly war of terror against civilians," he said.
The meeting of the UN Security Council was expected to discuss the missile strike, which follows other similar deadly attacks in recent weeks.
"The killing of the civilian population, the destruction of critical infrastructure is terrorism, and Ukraine will continue to demand a decisive response from the world to these crimes," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter.
"Ukraine will not be frightened by the cowardly inhumane terrorist attacks of Russian war criminals!" Zelenskiy added.
Ihor Klymenko, chief of Ukraine's National Police, said the rockets fired on November 23 hit 16 objects in Ukraine, including a residential building in the Kyiv region's Vyshhorod district, killing three people and injuring 20.
Among the other victims was a newborn baby killed when a missile struck a maternity hospital in southern Ukraine.
"The enemy has once again decided to try to achieve with terror and murder what it wasn't able to achieve for nine months and won't be able to achieve," Zelenskiy said on Facebook after the attack on the hospital in Vilnyansk, located 18 kilometers from the regional capital of Zaporizhzhya.
"Instead, it will only be held to account for all the evil it has brought to our country," he added.
The Ukrainian military said its air defenses destroyed 51 out of 70 missiles fired by the Russians.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had faith in the success of its offensive in Ukraine.
"The future and the success of the special operation are beyond doubt," Peskov said.
He did not address the symbolic political step of the European Parliament, but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier on November 23 said on Telegram: "I propose designating the European Parliament as a sponsor of idiocy."
The attack damaged infrastructure in Kyiv, leaving some areas of the capital without electricity, heat, and water, but work is under way to restore services, Kyiv's military administration said on Telegram, promising that heat and water would be restored by the morning of November 24.
The Russian missiles also forced the shutdown of nuclear power plants, and several Ukrainian regions and neighboring Moldova reported electricity outages. The western city of Lviv was left completely without power, Mayor Andriy Sadoviy said.
"The whole city is without power. We are waiting for additional information from energy experts," Sadoviy said on social media, warning that there may also be interruptions to the city's water supply.
The Russian missile strikes also caused a massive power outage across Moldova, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said.
"Massive blackout in Moldova after today's Russian attack on Ukraine's energy infrastructure," Spinu said on Twitter. "Moldelectrica, TSO (transmission system operator), is working to reconnect more than 50 percent of the country to electricity."
Before declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, the European Parliament argued that Moscow's military strikes on civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools, and shelters violated international law.
Zelenskiy welcomed the move, though it carries no legal consequences.
"Russia must be isolated at all levels and held accountable in order to end its long-standing policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe," Zelenskiy tweeted.
The European Parliament's website subsequently came under a distributed denial-of-service attack. Roberta Metsola, the president of the parliament, said a pro-Kremlin group claimed responsibility.
"Our IT experts are pushing back against it & protecting our systems. This, after we proclaimed Russia as a State-sponsor of terrorism. My response: #Slava Ukraini (glory to Ukraine)," she said on Twitter.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks direct high volumes of Internet traffic toward targeted servers in a bid to knock them offline.
Zelenskiy also thanked the United States for a new $400 million aid package announced earlier on November 23. The package includes weapons, munitions, and air defense equipment, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
"The artillery ammunition, precision fires, air defense missiles, and tactical vehicles that we are providing will best serve Ukraine on the battlefield," Blinken said in a statement.
The Pentagon said the package included additional munitions for NASAMS air-defense systems and for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS).
The Biden administration has so far provided $19.7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine as it fights a war triggered by Russia's invasion nine months ago.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces repelled multiple Russian attacks in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on November 23.
Russia has been pressing an offensive along a stretch of front line west of the city of Donetsk, using some of the forces it moved following its withdrawal from around the city of Kherson in the south.
"The enemy does not stop shelling the positions of our troops and settlements near the contact line [in the Donetsk region]," the Ukrainian military said.
The Ukrainian Army repelled attacks in 11 locations in Donetsk and Luhansk, the military said, including Bilohoryivka, Bakhmut, Kurdyumivka, and Severniy, the military said.
"Over the past day, the enemy launched five missile attacks on populated areas of the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions and carried out some 45 multiple-rocket attacks on the positions of our troops," it said.
The Ukrainian military also said on November 23 that it had identified a center for the training of operators of both Russian and Iranian drones in Sevastopol, in Russian-occupied Crimea.
"The duration of training for the specialist drone operators is up to three weeks. Currently, about 30 servicemen are being trained," the military added.
The statement came after the Moscow-installed governor of Sevastopol said Russian air defenses had repelled a drone attack on an electricity and heating plant in the Balaklava district of the city.
Mykhaylo Razvozhayev blamed the Ukrainian military for the attacks. The Ukrainian military has not commented on Razvozhayev's accusations.
The British Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update on November 23 that, since September, Russia has likely launched hundreds of Iranian-manufactured drones against Ukraine.
"Russian commanders likely also wanted Iranian-sourced UAVs to prioritize medical facilities as targets of opportunity, and strike them with guided munitions if identified," the British intelligence report said.
Russia's use of drones was most probably intended to make up for its severe shortage of cruise missiles, the report said, adding that the approach has had limited success, and that most drones have been neutralized.
Ukrainian forces have been pushing a counteroffensive in the south of Ukraine and earlier this month reclaimed Kherson, the capital of the region bordering the peninsula.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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