Ukraine on Friday called on the European Union for “additional support” to get out of winter, as almost half of its energy infrastructure was destroyed by massive Russian strikes that destroyed them.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also announced that the EU and its partners are considering new sanctions against Iran, accused of supplying Russia with the kamikaze missiles used in the strikes.
As for Russia, it accused Ukrainian soldiers of executing dozens of captured soldiers, denouncing a “war crime” in the recently liberated city of Kherson, a day after Ukraine accused Russian forces of widespread torture.
On Friday, European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis visited Kiev with Ukrainian authorities, who are facing serious challenges at the start of winter after more than a month and a half of bombings on the energy grid. country.
Prime Minister Denis Chmygal stated during a joint press conference with Mr. Dombrovskis that “about half of our energy system is out of order.”
He called for “additional support” from the EU to deal with this situation, especially “purchase of additional gas volumes”.
Many Ukrainians are facing the start of winter with little or no electricity and hot water as the first snow of the winter fell on the country on Thursday.
“In Ukraine, restrictions are applied for several hours during the day,” the national electricity company “Ukrenergo” said on Friday. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday evening that “ten million Ukrainians” are still without electricity.
– Mutual accusations –
Russia accused Ukraine of a “war crime” on Friday, saying Kyiv’s troops “brutally” executed more than a dozen soldiers who had just surrendered.
The accusation comes after two videos, each about thirty seconds long, were published on Russian social networks by these Russian sources purporting to show the execution of the captured soldiers.
In the first video, taken with a mobile phone, we see a group of soldiers, one after the other, coming out of the building in the courtyard of the house with their hands raised, and lying face down on the ground. yellow armband and keeps them at gunpoint.
As the last dark silhouette appears on the left, the video abruptly cuts to the sound of an explosion.
A second aerial video, possibly shot by a drone, shows dozens of bodies lying in pools of blood.
By the end of the day, Kyiv had not reacted to the accusations, which it said was being investigated by the UN.
Ukraine has repeatedly claimed that the Russian military committed “war crimes” and “atrocities” during its occupation of part of Kyiv Oblast in March, as well as in the recently retaken areas of Kharkiv (northeast) and Kherson (south). ) regions.
Ukraine’s parliamentary human rights chief Dmitry Loubynets on Thursday condemned the “scale” of torture by Russian occupation forces in the southern city of Kherson, which was liberated a week ago.
– Fortifications in Crimea –
After the Ukrainian army recaptured part of Kherson province last week, the lines are finally moving towards the south of the country.
So now it is far behind the front in Crimea, annexed in 2014, the Russian army is building fortifications, while its withdrawal from Kherson and the west bank of the Dnieper River now allows the Ukrainians to reach there with artillery. .
“We are talking about ensuring the security of Crimeans,” assured Moscow Governor Sergey Aksyonov.
Ukraine has repeated several times in recent months that it wants to take back the peninsula by force if necessary.
In this regard, the White House reiterated on Friday that it is up to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to decide whether to start talks between Ukraine and Russia, rejecting any idea of American pressure on Kiev.
US media have recently reported that some senior officials have begun encouraging Ukraine to consider negotiations, which President Zelensky has so far rejected without withdrawing Russian forces from all Ukrainian territory.
On the ground, the Russian army claimed to have conquered Opytne, in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukrainian experts were working at the site of the missile crash in Poland on Friday to take part in an international investigation into the origins of the incident, which Kyiv and Moscow have denied responsibility for. .