Zelensky hits out at Putin’s new wave of terror’

Russia's Vladimir Solovyov discusses war in Ukraine in 2008

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Volodymyr Zelensky urged countries to issue more sanctions against Russia in response to Vladimir Putin’s “new wave of terror”. On Monday, Russia launched its biggest attack on Ukraine in months, killing at least 19 people in missile strikes across the country.

Mr Zelensky defiantly said the attacks will only “delay our recovery a little”, but insisted more sanctions were needed to combat Russia.

On Tuesday, he said: “For such a new wave of terror there must be a new wave of responsibility for Russia – new sanctions, new forms of political pressure and new forms of support for Ukraine.”

“The terrorist state must be deprived of even the thought that any wave of terror can bring it anything.”

The Ukrainian President’s fresh calls come after he met the G7 group of nations for emergency virtual talks.

In Russia’s strikes on Monday, they fired missiles from the air, sea and land against at least 14 regions, spanning from Lviv in the west to Kharkiv in the east.

Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the morning rush hour attacks.

Moscow insisted missiles targeted military and energy facilities, but some struck civilian areas while people were heading to work and school, one hit a playground in downtown Kyiv and another struck a university.

Andriy Yermak, a senior adviser to Mr Zelensky, said the strikes had no “practical military sense” and that Russia’s goal was to cause a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Putin said the attacks were retaliation for Saturday’s explosion on a key bridge linking Russia to Crimea.

Mr Zelensky said 28 more missiles were fired, 20 of which were shot down, and claimed these were joined by 15 Iranian combat drones.

In his Tuesday night address, he said: “If it wasn’t for today’s strikes, we would have already restored the energy supply, water supply and communications that the terrorists damaged yesterday.

“Today, Russia will achieve only one additional thing: it will delay our recovery a little.”

Before his speech, Mr Zelensky asked G7 leaders for more air defence systems and a monitoring mission on the Belarusian border, as Russia continued to attack key infrastructure in Ukraine with fresh missile strikes.

In response to the Ukrainian leader’s speech, G7 leaders issued a statement saying they would “stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes”.

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John R Bryson, Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography at the Birmingham Business School, told Express.co.uk: “Putin has defined Saturday’s attack as an act of terrorism, but this was an attack on a structure that does not exist under international law.

“Putin has made three disastrous decisions regarding the Crimean bridge. The first was to authorise and fund the construction of an expensive piece of fixed infrastructure that would always be a target for the Ukrainian military and any terrorist organisation. 

“The second was Putin’s failure to approve a bridge design, and supporting defence strategy, that would have prevented Saturday’s explosion. 

“It is important to note that the damage to the bridge comes not from the explosion, but from Putin’s failure to protect this structure. 

“His third failed decision was to respond in anger to the explosion on the bridge by authorising attacks that can be defined as war crimes, crimes against humanity and climate crimes.”

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said Putin “totally miscalculated” Russia’s military strength and ability to occupy Ukraine.

Speaking to CNN, the President said: “I think … he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that where he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated.

“I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.”

When asked by interviewer Jake Tapper how realistic he believed it would be for Putin to use a tactical nuclear weapon, Biden responded: “Well, I don’t think he will.”

Jeremy Fleming, the UK’s head of GCHQ, also said on Tuesday that the agency has not seen any indicators that Russia is preparing to use a tactical nuclear weapon in or around Ukraine.

In September, Putin said he would use “all available means” to defend Russian territory, and argued the atomic bombs dropped in 1945 by the US “created a precedent”.

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