MOSCOW: The Kremlin denied that its attacks on Ukraine's electricity network were aimed at civilians, but said Kyiv could “end the suffering” of its population by meeting Russia's demands to resolve the conflict.
Repeated missile barrages against power infrastructure across Ukraine over the last few weeks have forced millions of people to go without light, water or heating for hours or days at a time, just as outdoor temperatures fall below freezing.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “there have been no strikes on ‘social' targets and there are none — special attention is paid to this”.
“As for targets that are directly or indirectly related to military potential, they are accordingly subject to strikes,” he said.
Peskov was asked how the suffering of Ukraine's civilian population could be reconciled with President Vladimir Putin's positions. Putin has said Russia does not wish to destroy Ukraine or its people.
“The leadership of Ukraine has every opportunity to bring the situation back to normal, has every opportunity to resolve the situation in such a way as to fulfil the requirements of the Russian side and, accordingly, end all possible suffering among the population.”
Ukraine's Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko has said more Western support is needed to help it meet its growing reconstruction costs following this week's escalation of Russian missile attacks.
In August the World Bank estimated it would take $105 billion to repair Ukraine's physical infrastructure but Marchenko told Reuters that number was rising.
“Unfortunately this number grows every day and in the worst case scenario will increase significantly,” he said in emailed comments.
Marchenko added current Western support meant “we'll have approximately $3 to 3.5 billion a month vs $5 billion this year,” which should be enough to keep the government running.