March 25, 2023

KYIV: In subfreezing weather, Russia launched dozens of missiles and drones at Ukrainian energy systems Friday, pitching millions of civilians into the cold and dark in its deadly campaign to batter — and freeze — the populace into submission.
In the central city of Kremenchuk, Mayor Vitalii Maletsky said heat was out for more than 2,00,000 customers as temperatures hovered around 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and he implored people to “close all windows and take all possible measures to preserve heat.” In Kyiv, the capital and largest city, even after hours of emergency repairs, two-thirds of the residents had no heat and water, and 60% had no electricity, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said in the evening.
In the ninth large-scale wave of attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure this fall, and the second this week, explosions shook cities and towns across a country where millions of people have already been bombed or frozen out of their homes.
Frustrated and angry, Ukrainians living far from the front lines but under increasingly harsh conditions voiced a desire for relief — and vengeance.
“See how we live,” said Gennady Omelyan, a taxi driver in Kyiv. “We are fed up! We need to hit back at Russia. Give us weapons. We have enough soldiers — give us weapons.”
The barrage came as Ukrainian military and political leaders warned in a series of interviews and news conferences that Russia was preparing for a new ground offensive this winter, and would probably make another attempt to seize Kyiv. They did not cite specific intelligence, but their statements amounted to a coordinated pushback against talk from Moscow — and some officials in the countries backing Ukraine — about possible peace negotiations.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top advisers insist that Russia, which invaded unprovoked in late February, is not serious about peace, and that any pause in the war would only give the Kremlin time to cement its grip on the territory it has seized, and to rebuild its forces for a renewed assault on Ukraine. Officials in Kyiv fear that their Western backers, wearying of high energy prices and the cost of supplying Ukraine, might be all too eager to accept a cease-fire.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told The Guardian newspaper that a new Russian offensive could come as soon as February.

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