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EU urged to welcome skilled Russians to ‘bleed’ Putin regime

Speaking at the French Institute of International Relations, Gudkov unveiled a study of the Russian diaspora in several EU member states, one of the first attempts to study the Ukraine war-triggered exodus…reports Asian Lite News

A group of exiled Kremlin critics on Tuesday urged EU countries to do more to welcome Russians fleeing Vladimir Putin’s regime, arguing that a shortage of skilled workers would deal a blow to the country’s war-time economy.

According to some estimates, up to one million people have fled Russia since Putin invaded Ukraine in 2022 but some of them have begun returning back, discouraged by the scarcity of available jobs and difficulties getting visas and long-term residence permits, in countries like Turkiye but also in the European Union.

“One less engineer is one less missile flying in the direction of Ukraine,” Russian opposition politician and former lawmaker Dmitry Gudkov said in Paris.

Speaking at the French Institute of International Relations, Gudkov unveiled a study of the Russian diaspora in several EU member states, one of the first attempts to study the Ukraine war-triggered exodus.

Conducted by researchers associated with the University of Nicosia on behalf of a new think tank co-established by Gudkov and the economist Vladislav Inozemtsev, the study is based on a survey of over 3,200 Russians living in France, Germany, Poland and Cyprus.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents left Russia after 2014, the year Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine. Of them, 44 percent fled after the full-scale invasion.

As part of policy recommendations, the study called for a broad program of “economic migration” from Russia, adding that most Russians who have fled the country were well-educated “Russian Europeans” supporting Western values.

“The strategy to undermine the Putin regime should include orchestrated ‘bleeding’: stimulating the outflow of qualified specialists and money from Russia unrelated to the war,” the study said.

Authorities in Moscow have acknowledged that labor shortages have become a serious problem, threatening economic growth.

Inozemtsev said more should be done, arguing that welcoming skilled Russians and their financial resources could be a more effective blow against the Kremlin than multiple rounds of Western sanctions that have so far failed to halt Russia’s war machine.

“Even we have been surprised by the qualifications of those who have left,” Inozemtsev said.

Citing figures from 2022, the study said the average monthly salary of Russian immigrants in Cyprus stood at more than 5,480 euros ($5,880), compared with the average monthly salary of 2,248 euros for native Cypriots.

Mindful of the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments across Europe, the study argued that Russian exiles could integrate into European societies relatively easily and would not be a burden on social security systems.

Several hundred thousand Russians could also provide an “additional boost” to slow-growing European economies, the study said, adding that in the future the exiles could help promote “reconciliation between Europe and Russia.”

EU nations, especially France and Germany, have welcomed anti-Kremlin Russians since the start of the invasion. But Gudkov said problems persisted and EU governments were concerned that new arrivals could pose a security risk.

Russian and Belarusian citizens, who were initially approved to serve as volunteers for the Olympic Games in Paris, were told by organizers in May that they had not passed security checks.

Ordinary Russians have also been affected by the fallout of sanctions.

Gudkov’s father Gennady Gudkov, himself a prominent Kremlin critic now based in France, said he struggled to open a bank account despite receiving political asylum.

Dmitry Gudkov said many Russian exiles were struggling and it was no surprise that some choose to go back to Russia.

“It is very hard to live like this,” he said.

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Putin threatens to arm countries that could hit Western targets

Putin was also probed about what a victory for former US President Donald Trump or incumbent Joe Biden would mean for US-Russia relations — an issue the Russian leader shrugged off…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticized the West’s delivery of long-range weapons to Ukraine, arguing Moscow could arm other countries with similar weapons to attack Western targets.

The comment — which Putin made at a rare press conference with foreign news outlets — came after several Western countries including the United States gave Ukraine the green light to strike targets inside Russia, a move Moscow has called a grave miscalculation.

“If someone thinks it is possible to supply such weapons to a warzone to attack our territory and create problems for us, why don’t we have the right to supply weapons of the same class to regions of the world where there will be strikes on sensitive facilities of those (Western) countries,” Putin said.

“That is, the response can be asymmetric. We will think about it,” he told reporters.

But the 71-year-old Kremlin chief dismissed as “bollocks” suggestions Russia planned to attack NATO members.

“There is no need to look for some imperial ambitions of ours. There are none,” he said.

Putin warned that Western arms deliveries to Ukraine were “a very negative step,” saying that donors were “controlling” the weapons.

The Russian leader singled out Germany for particular criticism, saying that when the first German-supplied tanks “appeared on Ukrainian soil, it provoked a moral and ethical shock in Russia” because of the legacy of World War II.

Referring to German authorities, he said: “When they say that there will be more missiles which will hit targets on Russian territory, this definitively destroys Russian-German relations.”

Sitting opposite representatives from news outlets including AFP, Putin repeated that his country “did not start the war against Ukraine,” instead blaming a pro-Western revolution in 2014.

“Everyone thinks that Russia started the war in Ukraine. I would like to emphasize that nobody in the West, in Europe, wants to remember how this tragedy started,” Putin said.

He declined to give the number of Russia’s battlefield losses in the more than two-year conflict, saying only that Ukraine’s were five times higher.

“I can tell you that as a rule, no one talks about it,” Putin rebuffed, when asked why Russia had not yet disclosed a figure.

“If we talk about irrecoverable losses, the ratio is one to five,” he said.

The issue of military casualties is extremely sensitive in Russia, where all criticism of the conflict is banned and “spreading false information” about the army carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence.

When asked about the killing of AFP video journalist Arman Soldin in Ukraine last year, likely as a result of Russian rocket fire, Putin indicated Moscow was ready to help investigate.

“We will do everything in our power,” he said.

“We are ready to do this work. I do not know how it could be done in practice since this person died in a warzone.”

Putin was also probed about what a victory for former US President Donald Trump or incumbent Joe Biden would mean for US-Russia relations — an issue the Russian leader shrugged off.

“By and large there’s no difference,” he said.

However he called Trump’s recent criminal charges for business fraud politically motivated, arguing his conviction “burned” the idea that Washington was a leading democracy.

“It is obvious all over the world that the prosecution of Trump… is simply the utilization of the judicial system during an internal political struggle,” Putin said.

“Their supposed leadership in the sphere of democracy is being burned to the ground,” the Russian leader added.

Trump became the first former US head of state ever convicted of a crime last week after a New York jury found him guilty of 34 felony charges in a hush money case.

Trump, who faces an election in November that could see him return to the White House, has praised Putin as a “smart guy.”

Putin also said Russia and the United States were in “constant contact” over a possible prisoner exchange that would free jailed US journalist Evan Gershkovich who was arrested on espionage charges last year.

“The relevant services in the US and Russia are in constant contact with one another and of course they will decide only on the basis of reciprocity,” Putin said.

ALSO READ-Putin says Ukraine should hold presidential election

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Putin says Ukraine should hold presidential election

Speaking of NATO members in Europe, Putin said that small countries there “should be aware of what they are playing with,” as they had small land areas and very dense populations…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike deep inside Russia, which he said could trigger a global conflict.

More than two years into the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two, Putin has increasingly spoken of the risk of a much broader global conflict as the West grapples with what to do about the advance of Russian troops in Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons, a view supported by some NATO members but not by the United States.

“Constant escalation can lead to serious consequences,” Putin told reporters in Tashkent. “If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the United States behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons?“

“It’s hard to say — do they want a global conflict?“

Putin said Ukrainian strikes on Russia with long-range weapons would need Western satellite, intelligence and military help — so the West would be directly involved. He said sending French troops to Ukraine would be a step toward a global conflict.

Speaking of NATO members in Europe, Putin said that small countries there “should be aware of what they are playing with,” as they had small land areas and very dense populations.

“This is a factor that they should keep in mind before talking about striking deep into Russian territory,” Putin said.

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine touched off the worst breakdown in relations with the West for 60 years, and the crisis is escalating into what diplomats say is its most dangerous phase to date.

The invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, driven millions to flee abroad, and reduced neighborhoods and whole cities to rubble.

Russia, which controls 18 percent of Ukraine, is advancing and has opened a new front in the Kharkiv region, triggering a debate in the West about what else it can do after giving Kyiv hundreds of billions of dollars in aid, weapons and intelligence.

Western leaders and Ukraine have played down Russia’s warnings about the risk of a broader war involving Russia, the world’s biggest nuclear power, and NATO, the world’s most powerful military alliance led by the United States.

Ukraine says it should be able to hit behind Russian lines, including against Russian sovereign territory, to fight back.

But Russian officials say Moscow’s patience is wearing thin after repeated Ukrainian attacks on Russian cities, oil refineries, and, in recent days, even against elements of its nuclear early warning system.

Asked by Russian state television about the legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Putin said the only legitimate authority in Ukraine now was parliament, and that its head should be given power.

Zelensky has not faced an election despite the expiry of his term due to martial law which was imposed after the invasion.

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Putin starts new six-year term with challenge to the West

Putin told Russia’s political elite after being sworn in that he was not rejecting dialogue with the West, including on nuclear weapons…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was up the West to choose between confrontation and cooperation as he was sworn in for a new six-year term on Tuesday at a Kremlin ceremony that was boycotted by the United States and many of its allies.

More than two years into the war in Ukraine, Putin said he wanted to “bow” before Russia’s soldiers there and declared in his inauguration speech that his landslide re-election in March was proof the country was united and on the right track.

“You, citizens of Russia, have confirmed the correctness of the country’s course. This is of great importance right now, when we are faced with serious challenges,” he told dignitaries in a gilded Kremlin hall where a trumpet fanfare sounded to greet his arrival.

“I see in this a deep understanding of our common historical goals, a determination to adamantly defend our choice, our values, freedom and the national interests of Russia.”

At 71, Putin dominates the domestic political landscape. Leading opposition figures are in prison or exile, and his best known critic, Alexei Navalny, died suddenly in an Arctic penal colony in February.

Yulia Navalnaya, the late dissident’s wife, urged supporters in a video on Tuesday to keep up the struggle against Putin. “With each of his terms, everything only gets worse, and its’ frightening to imagine what else will happen while Putin remains in power,” she said.

On the international stage, Putin is locked in a confrontation with Western countries he accuses of using Ukraine as a vehicle to try to defeat and dismember Russia.

Putin told Russia’s political elite after being sworn in that he was not rejecting dialogue with the West, including on nuclear weapons.

“The choice is theirs: do they intend to continue trying to restrain the development of Russia, continue the policy of aggression, incessant pressure on our country for years, or look for a path to cooperation and peace?” he said.

With Russia’s troops advancing gradually in eastern Ukraine, the top US intelligence official said last week that Putin appeared to see domestic and international developments trending in his favor and the conflict was unlikely to end anytime soon.

It remains unclear how far Putin will seek to press the war and on what terms he might discuss ending it — decisions that will depend in part on whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November. Ukraine says peace can only come with a full withdrawal of Russia’s troops, who control nearly 20 percent of its territory.

Putin, in power as president or prime minister since 1999, will surpass Soviet leader Josef Stalin and become Russia’s longest-serving ruler since 18th century Empress Catherine the Great if he completes a new six-year term. He would then be eligible to seek re-election again.

He won victory by a record margin in a tightly controlled election from which two anti-war candidates were barred on technical grounds. The opposition called it a sham.

The United States, which said it did not consider his re-election free and fair, stayed away from Tuesday’s ceremony.

Britain, Canada and most EU nations also decided to boycott the swearing-in, but France said it would send its ambassador.

Ukraine said the event sought to create “the illusion of legality for the nearly lifelong stay in power of a person who has turned the Russian Federation into an aggressor state and the ruling regime into a dictatorship.”

Sergei Chemezov, a Putin ally, told Reuters before the ceremony, that Putin brought stability, something which even his critics should welcome.

“For Russia, this is the continuation of our path, this is stability – you can ask any citizen on the street,” he said.

Russia’s relations with the United States and its allies are at their lowest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the world came to the brink of nuclear war.

The West has provided Ukraine with artillery, tanks and long-range missiles, but NATO troops have not joined the conflict directly, something that both Putin and Biden have warned could lead to World War Three.

Underscoring the rise in nuclear tensions, Russia said on Monday it would practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons as part of a military exercise, after what it said were threats from France, Britain and the United States.

One of the decisions awaiting Putin in his new term will be whether to seek to renew or replace the last remaining treaty that limits Russian and US strategic nuclear warheads. The New START agreement is due to expire in 2026.

In line with the constitution, the government resigned at the start of the new presidential term. Putin ordered it to remain in office while he appoints a new one which is expected to include many of the same faces.

ALSO READ-EU Divided on Putin’s Fifth Term Ceremony

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Putin Orders Tactical Nuclear Exercise: Why?

The announcement did not say if the missiles would be equipped with nuclear warheads…reports Asian Lite News

Russia will conduct an exercise of its tactical nuclear forces on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, the Defence Ministry announced on Monday.

The announcement did not say if the missiles would be equipped with nuclear warheads. Russia has previously carried out nuclear forces training without nuclear warheads.

“As part of the exercise, a series of activities will be carried out to practice the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the Defence Ministry in Moscow said.

It was initially unclear when and where exactly the exercise, in which the southern defence district and the naval forces are involved, would begin.

In October, the Russian military fired two intercontinental missiles and several cruise missiles for training and deterrence purposes. It justified the exercise, which it had announced, by alleging “provocative statements and threats by individual Western officials against the Russian Federation.”

Since the start of its full-scale war against Ukraine more than two years ago, Russian representatives have repeatedly tried to test international support for Kyiv by stirring up fears of a nuclear war.

ALSO READ: Russia adds Zelensky to ‘wanted’ criminal list

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Putin says plans to visit China next month

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin had in February this year accused Washington of “interfering” in their countries’ affairs during a telephone call…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has plans to visit China this May, Kyodo reported citing Russian news agency TASS.

This would mark the first overseas trip of Putin after his fifth term in office begins May 7.

“I have a visit (to China) scheduled in May,” Putin was quoted as saying in his address at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs congress on Thursday, Kyodo reported.

The announcement by Putin came shortly after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Putin had in February this year accused Washington of “interfering” in their countries’ affairs during a telephone call.

Xi Jinping had met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Beijing earlier this month, marking the first face-to-face discussion between Lavrov and Xi in six years. Their last meeting in 2018 occurred just before Putin’s inaugural visit to China following his re-election.

Since then, China and Russia have intensified their economic, trade, and diplomatic collaborations, particularly in the aftermath of Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Despite Beijing claiming neutrality in the conflict, it has emerged as a crucial economic partner for Russia, providing vital support to its isolated economy. The two nations have also aligned diplomatically against perceived Western containment efforts.

Beijing has been importing Russian oil after other countries placed sanctions on Russian imports.

Putin’s last visit to Beijing occurred in October 2023 during the Belt and Road Forum, while Xi visited Moscow for a state visit in last March in 2023.

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Putin signs decree on spring military conscription

The ministry said investigation of these incidents showed that “the traces of these crimes lead to Ukraine.”…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out the routine spring conscription campaign, calling up 150,000 citizens for statutory military service, a document posted on the Kremlin’s website showed on Sunday.

All men in Russia are required to do a year-long military service, or equivalent training during higher education, from the age of 18.

In July Russia’s lower house of parliament voted to raise the maximum age at which men can be conscripted to 30 from 27. The new legislation came into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Compulsory military service has long been a sensitive issue in Russia, where many men go to great lengths to avoid being handed conscription papers during the twice-yearly call-up periods.

Conscripts cannot legally be deployed to fight outside Russia and were exempted from a limited mobilisation in 2022 that gathered at least 300,000 men with previous military training to fight in Ukraine – although some conscripts were sent to the front in error.

In September Putin signed an order calling up 130,000 people for the autumn campaign and last spring Russia planned to conscript 147,000.

Meanwhile, Russia is demanding that Ukraine hand over all people connected with terrorist acts committed in Russia, including the head of the country’s SBU Security Service, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The SBU immediately dismissed the Russian demand as “pointless” and said the Russian ministry had “forgotten” that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement listed violent incidents that have occurred in Russia since the Kremlin’s forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, including bombings that killed the daughter of a prominent nationalist and a war blogger, and an incident in which a writer was seriously hurt.

The ministry said investigation of these incidents showed that “the traces of these crimes lead to Ukraine.”

“Russia has turned over to Ukrainian authorities its demands … for the immediate arrest and extradition of all those connected to the terrorist acts in question,” the statement said.

Among those listed in the statement to be handed over are SBU head Vasyl Maliuk, who has acknowledged his service was behind attacks on the bridge linking Crimea to the Russian mainland since the Kremlin’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Russia seized control of Crimea in 2014; the bridge was built after the region was annexed.

“The Russian side demands that the Kyiv regime immediately cease all support for terrorist activity, extradite guilty parties and compensate the victims for damages,” the ministry statement said.

“Ukraine’s violation of its obligations under anti-terrorist conventions will result in it being held to account in international legal terms.”

ALSO READ-Kremlin reveals Putin’s inner turmoil post-Moscow terror attack

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Kremlin reveals Putin’s inner turmoil post-Moscow terror attack

Law enforcement has apprehended all four assailants, with suspicions of assistance from five others, as per investigators….reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin puts up a tough exterior, but he’s deeply disturbed by recent events in the nation, including the deadly terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov disclosed to VGTRK, TASS reported.

“The head of state takes these tragedies to heart. And believe me, just because you don’t see tears on his face does not mean that he is not hurt. And I doubt if anyone, including you and me, knows about his inner turmoil,” the Russian presidential spokesman said.

On the fateful evening of March 22, terrorists struck the music venue in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region, just beyond the city’s borders. The latest figures report 144 fatalities.

Law enforcement has apprehended all four assailants, with suspicions of assistance from five others, as per investigators. The Russian Investigative Committee asserted that the attackers have ties to Ukrainian nationalists.

Furthermore, the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s department in the Moscow Region has updated the count of those injured in the terrorist onslaught on Crocus City Hall to 551.

“At the time of 6:00 a.m. Moscow time on March 30, 2024, the toll from the terrorist attack stood at 695 casualties, with 144 fatalities, including five children,” the ministry disclosed in an official statement.

Health officials informed TASS that the majority of those injured in the attack have been receiving outpatient care.

Last Sunday, Russia declared its first nationwide mourning since 2018.

A solemn minute of silence was observed in memory of the victims of the Crocus City Hall attack before the commencement of a charity concert near the makeshift memorial erected at the scene of the attack.

Candles, arranged to resemble cranes, adorned the stage; many attendees held candles in their hands. During the minute of silence, footage depicting cranes soaring into the sky was projected onto the facade of Crocus City Hall, followed by images of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

The minute of silence commenced at 19:52 Moscow time, approximately the time when the tragic events unfolded on March 22. Following the poignant tribute, a musical ensemble led by director Valery Gergiyev took the stage. Several survivors also joined the performance, sharing their harrowing experiences of surviving the attack.

Throughout the day, people continued to bring flowers in honour of the victims. Security measures were heightened, with the crowd being divided into multiple streams, and metal detectors were installed to ensure safety, TASS reported. (ANI)

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Putin Blames Radical Islamists for Moscow Attack

The Russian President said it is already known who carried out the terrorist attack, but now “we are interested in who ordered the crime…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the deadly terrorist attack in the Crocus City Hall in suburban Moscow was carried out by radical Islamists, but many questions still remain.

“We know that the crime was committed by the hands of radical Islamists, whose ideology the Islamic world itself has been fighting for centuries,” Putin said on Monday at a meeting on measures taken after the terrorist attack.

The Russian President said it is already known who carried out the terrorist attack, but now “we are interested in who ordered the crime”, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said that the US, through various channels, is trying to convince everyone that there is supposedly no Kiev trace in the bloody terrorist attack.

However, Putin believes questions still remain. “It is necessary to obtain answers to a number of questions, for example, are radical, even terrorist, Islamic organizations really interested in striking Russia, which today stands for a fair solution to the escalating Middle East conflict,” he said.

Putin also noted that it is necessary to answer the question of why the terrorists tried to go to Ukraine after committing a crime in Crocus, and who was waiting for them there.

Calling the attack an act of intimidation, Putin said, “The question arises who benefits from this.”

The investigation into the terrorist attack should be carried out to the highest degree professionally, objectively and without political bias, despite the general desire to punish the perpetrators, Putin added.

ALSO READ: Death toll in Russia terror attack rises to 133

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‘Putin wants to blame Ukraine for Moscow attack’

Kyiv has angrily dismissed the claims by the Russian leader, which come more than two years after Moscow invaded Ukraine…reports Asian Lite news

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin of seeking to “shift the blame” onto Kyiv for the Moscow concert hall attack that killed 133 people.

“What happened yesterday in Moscow is obvious: Putin and the other scum are just trying to blame it on someone else,” Zelensky announced, after Putin said the suspects had been fleeing towards Ukraine. “They always have the same methods,” Zelensky added.

In a televised address earlier Saturday, President Putin said the four gunmen arrested for the deadly attack were “travelling towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border”.

Kyiv has angrily dismissed the claims by the Russian leader, which come more than two years after Moscow invaded Ukraine. “Putin, instead of dealing with his Russian citizens, addressing them, was silent for a day, thinking about how to bring it to Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

“Everything is absolutely predictable.” The Moscow attack has been claimed by Daesh. It was the deadliest attack in Russia for almost two decades and the deadliest in Europe to have been claimed by Daesh. Putin made no reference to the group’s claims of responsibility in his address.

‘Unacceptable, must end immediately’

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “in the strongest terms”, condemned the large-scale missile strikes by Russia on Ukraine, that have caused widespread destruction, and have reportedly killed and injured many civilians.

In an official statement, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said the Secretary-General was “appalled by the continued killing and destruction”.

“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms today’s large-scale missile and drone attacks by the Russian Federation on Ukrainian cities and towns across the country, including against civilians, energy and other critical infrastructure,” Haq quoted Guterres as saying.

The strikes have inflicted severe damage, including on the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“The Secretary-General is appalled by the continued killing and destruction and once again underlines that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law. They are unacceptable and must end immediately,” the statement read.

“The attacks reportedly killed and injured many civilians and caused major damage, including to the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant in the Zaporizhzhia region, leaving more than one million Ukrainians without access to electricity and water in Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhzhia,” it added.

Russia plundered Kyiv with a barrage of missiles on Thursday, injuring at least 13 people and damaging several residential buildings and industrial facilities, in what was the biggest assault on the Ukrainian capital in weeks, the New York Times reported, citing local officials.

The Ukrainian Air Force said its air defence systems had intercepted all 31 of the Russian missiles that targeted Kyiv. But, still, the debris from the downed missiles fell in various parts of the city, causing injuries and damage.

No deaths have been reported so far.

“Such terror continues every day and night,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a social media post to which he tagged a video purportedly showing firefighters dousing burning buildings with water.

The attack took place in the early hours of the day, with loud blasts jolting residents awake around 5 am (local time) as air defence systems went into action. Many people rushed to take shelter in subway stations.

Several orange fireballs lit up the sky, apparently the result of missile interceptions. Air-raid alerts ended at 6:10 am (locKyiv Mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said that missile debris had caused fires in at least three residential buildings and in parking lots.

He said on Telegram that emergency responders had been deployed to help victims. Four people were hospitalised, the city’s military administration said.al time) just as the sun rose, revealing the damage.

Thursday’s assault came at a difficult time for Ukraine’s military, with Russian forces pressing ahead with ground attacks at several locations along the front line of more than 600 miles, the New York Times reported.

Faced with a shortfall of troops and ammunition, Ukraine has struggled to contain Russian assaults in its east and south.

Ukrainian officials have vowed to launch a counteroffensive this year, but experts say the military has yet to receive the kinds of weapons that would let it regain the initiative on the battlefield, with American aid held up in Congress.

ALSO READ: 60 Killed, Over 100 Injured in Moscow Terror Attack