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Russian airstrikes have destroyed nearly a third of Ukraine’s power plants since October 10, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on October 18 as Moscow launched a new wave of airstrikes that hit Kyiv and other cities Ukraine, targeting residential areas and energy infrastructure.

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Zelensky tweeted that the attacks had caused massive power cuts across Ukraine and that there was “no more room for negotiations” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“A different type of Russian terrorist attacks: targeting energy and critical infrastructure (of Ukraine). Since October 10, 30 [percent] Ukrainian power plants have been destroyed, causing massive power outages across the country. There is no more room for negotiations with the Putin regime,” Zelenskiy wrote.

The Kyiv prosecutor’s office said two people were killed in October 18 strikes in the Ukrainian capital after five others lost their lives in drone attacks the day before.

Earlier on October 18, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said there had been three Russian strikes on an unspecified energy facility in northern Kyiv.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the attack targeted “critical infrastructure”.

The town of Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine was left without water and electricity after Russian airstrikes, its mayor has said.

Russian troops have also shelled energy installations in Dnipro and previously in Zhytomyr, and explosions have been reported in Kharkiv.

Explosions also rocked towns in Kriviy Rih and Mykolaivlocal officials said, a day after Russia launched waves of suicide drone strikes that killed at least seven people, including four in Kyiv, and damaged infrastructure in the Ukrainian capital and several other cities across the country.

“Kriviy Rih. Explosions in the northern part of the city. We are in shelters,” Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the military administration of the central Ukrainian city, said on social media, adding that so far no casualties nor any damage had been reported.

In the southern port of Mykolayiv, night shelling killed at least one person, Mayor Oleksandr Sienkovych said early on October 18.

On the same day, the British intelligence services identified the drones used by Russia in the attacks as Iranian-made.

In its October 18 daily intelligence bulletin, the British Ministry of Defense said the accelerated pace of Russian long-range strikes over the past week against targets across Ukraine included so-called suicide drones supplied by Iran.

“[Strikes] were carried out by cruise missiles, air defense missiles in a surface-to-surface role and Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles supplied by Iran,” British intelligence said.

US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House “strongly condemns Russia’s missile strikes” and said the attacks continue “to demonstrate [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s brutality.

She said the United States “will continue to impose costs on Russia, hold it accountable for its war crimes.”

The United States, Britain and France have agreed that Iran supplying drones to Russia would violate a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Oct. 17 that more than 100 such drones hit Ukraine last week, hitting power plants, sewage treatment plants, bridges and playgrounds.

“A third of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been affected”, according to a ministry statement said.

“We call on Tehran to immediately stop supplying arms to Russia. Otherwise, Iran and its leaders will bear the strictest responsibility, including in international legal proceedings regarding Russia’s crimes against Ukraine. “

Earlier on October 17, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on European Union foreign ministers to impose sanctions on Iran for supplying drones to Russia.

Russia and Iran have repeatedly denied that Iranian drones are being supplied to Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Oct. 18 that Moscow had no information on whether or not Iranian drones were used in attacks on Ukraine earlier this week.

On October 17, Iran also stuck to its denial that it would supply the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin had no comment.

Asked to comment, Iran’s mission to the United Nations repeated a statement issued by the government on October 14 that it supported respect for the United Nations Charter and the UN’s attempts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine.

The United States warned on October 17 that it would take action against companies and nations working with Iran’s drone program.

“Anyone doing business with Iran who might have a connection with drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) or ballistic missile development or the flow of weapons from Iran to Russia should be very careful and exercise due diligence – the United States will not hesitate to use sanctions or take action against the perpetrators,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

“Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something that the whole world — especially those in the region and around the world, frankly — should see as a deep threat,” Patel said.

With reports from Reuters, AP, dpa and AFP

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