Putin says strikes on Ukraine infrastructure ‘inevitable’

OFFENSIVE “CONTINUES”

The Kremlin also indicated Moscow was in no mood for talks over Ukraine, after Biden said he would be willing to sit down with Putin if the Russian leader truly wanted to end the fighting.

“What did President Biden say in fact? He said that negotiations are possible only after Putin leaves Ukraine,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding Moscow was “certainly” not ready to accept those conditions.

“The special military operation continues,” he added, using the Kremlin term for the assault launched on Feb 24.

Russia’s strikes have destroyed close to half of the Ukrainian energy system and left millions in the cold and dark at the onset of winter.

In the latest estimates from Kyiv, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelensky, said as many as 13,000 Ukrainian troops have died in the fighting.

Both Moscow and Kyiv are suspected of minimising their losses to avoid damaging the morale.

Top US general Mark Milley last month said more than 100,000 Russian military personnel have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, with Kyiv’s forces likely suffering similar casualties.

“WE ARE NOT DEFEATED”

The fighting in Ukraine has also claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and forced millions to flee their homes.

Those who remain in the country have had to cope with emergency blackouts as authorities sought to relieve the pressure on the energy infrastructure.

In an attempt to boost the mood in the capital Kyiv, musicians played a classical music concert on Thursday with hundreds of LED candles lighting up the stage.

“We thought it was a good idea to save energy,” Irina Mikolaenko, one of the concert’s organisers, told AFP.

She said they wanted to spread “inspiration, light and love” and “tell people that we are not defeated”.