Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has threatened to escalate attacks on Russia if Moscow repeats last winter’s strategy of bombing Ukrainian power plants, which left millions of Ukrainians battling freezing temperatures without electricity, heat or water.
The warning, issued by Mr. Zelensky in an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” comes as the war heads into another winter and as Ukraine has shown it can reach targets deep inside Russia.
“If you cut off our electricity, deprive us of electricity, deprive us of water, deprive us of gasoline, you must know that we have the right to do that,” Mr. Zelenskiy also said. transcript published to “60 Minutes”. Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin ordered attacks on civilian targets, Zelenskyy added, in an effort to “break” the spirit of Ukrainians.
Last winter, Russia tried to weaponize the weather, a campaign that ultimately failed but at times left millions of Ukrainians without heat and dependent on old wells for water. Ukraine is boldly threatening to do the same to the Russians this year, relying mainly on attack drones.
In recent months, the frequency of drones being fired at Russian targets has increased drastically. They hit a key bridge connecting the Crimean peninsula to Russia, recently damaged Russian naval ships in the region and threatened the border region of Belgorod. They also penetrated deep into Russia’s borders – as far as the greater Moscow region – but did not cause significant damage there.
Ukraine has not officially acknowledged the attacks on Russian soil, although Mr. Zelensky and other top officials have said they intend to bring the war to ordinary Russians. In the “60 Minutes” interview, Mr. Zelenskiy again tried to be ambiguous about the strikes, though he said: “Ukrainian drones went into Russia itself and hit the Kremlin, warplanes and Moscow high-rises.”
He further insisted that he did not order the drone strikes and that Ukraine uses weapons provided by its allies only on Ukrainian territory.
“But Russia needs to know that wherever it is, whatever missile launch site it uses to strike Ukraine, Ukraine has a full moral right to send a response to those locations,” Zelenskyy said. “We answer them by saying, ‘Your sky is not as well protected as you think.’