Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday he had called on the European Union to sanction Russia’s missile production industry.
Kuleba tweeted that Russia’s missile production “must be put to a halt.” He said he communicated the message in a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and also thanked the EU for defense aid it has provided to Ukraine.
Russia has used missiles to carry out attacks on Ukrainian cities, including striking key infrastructure sites such as parts of the country’s electrical grid.
Ukraine’s military said Thursday that Russian forces were shelling several towns in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, including Bakhmut, Soledar and Opytne. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces also said Russia was using tanks and artillery to target Ukrainian positions in the southern city of Kherson.
The United States said Wednesday that Russia’s weekslong campaign targeting attacks on Ukraine’s vital heating, electrical and water infrastructure would not diminish Western resolve to support Kyiv in its nine-month fight against Moscow’s invasion.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following a two-day NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, said at a news conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin had focused his “fire and ire” against the Ukrainian civilian population as the brutally cold winter months settle in.
“Heat, water, electricity — these are President Putin’s new targets. He’s hitting them hard. This brutalization of Ukraine’s people is barbaric,” Blinken said.
The top U.S. diplomat accused Putin of trying to divide the Western coalition supporting Ukraine as world energy prices spike while Ukrainians face routine, widespread electrical blackouts.
“This strategy has not, and will not, work,” Blinken said. “We will continue to prove him wrong. That’s what I heard loudly and clearly from every country here in Bucharest.”
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a special court to prosecute Russian crimes against Ukraine.
Von der Leyen proposed a court backed by the United Nations “to investigate and prosecute Russia’s crime of aggression.”
She also said Russia and Russian oligarchs need to pay for costs to rebuild Ukraine from the damage done by Russian forces since they invaded Ukraine in February.
“Russia’s horrific crimes will not go unpunished,” von der Leyen said in Bucharest as the NATO foreign ministers discussed continued support for Ukraine.__VOANews