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Zelensky, in ’60 Minutes,’ warns Russia against attacks on power plants

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has threatened to step up attacks on Russia if Moscow repeats last winter’s strategy of bombing Ukraine’s power plants, leaving millions of Ukrainians struggling in freezing temperatures with no electricity, no heat and without water.

The warning, issued by Mr. Zelensky in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” comes as the war heads into another winter and Ukraine has demonstrated that it can hit targets located deep in Russia.

“If you cut off our electricity, if you deprive us of electricity, if you deprive us of water, if you deprive us of gasoline, you must know that we have the right to do it,” Mr. Zelensky, according to a transcript published by “60”. Minutes.” Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin had ordered attacks on civilian targets, Mr. Zelensky added, in an effort to “break” Ukrainian morale.

Last winter, Russia sought to weaponize the weather, a campaign that ultimately failed but at times left millions of Ukrainians without heat and dependent on old wells for their water. This year, Ukraine is boldly threatening to do the same to the Russians, relying primarily on attack drones.

In recent months, the frequency of drone strikes on Russian targets has increased significantly. They hit a key bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula with Russia, recently damaged Russian military ships in the region and threatened the Belgorod border region. They also penetrated deep within Russian borders – as far as the greater Moscow region – but did not cause significant damage there.

Ukraine does not officially recognize the attacks on Russian territory, even though Mr. Zelensky and other senior officials have said they intend to take the war to ordinary Russians. In the “60 Minutes” interview, Mr. Zelensky again tried to be ambiguous about the strikes, although he said: “Ukrainian drones penetrated Russia itself, hitting the Kremlin, planes of war and the skyscrapers of Moscow. »

He then insisted that he had not ordered the drone attacks and that Ukraine only used weapons supplied by its allies on Ukrainian territory.

“But Russia must know that wherever it is, wherever it launches missiles to hit Ukraine, Ukraine has the moral right to send a response to those places,” he said. Mr. Zelensky said. “We respond to them by saying, ‘Your skies are not as well protected as you think.'”

nytimes Eur

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