London: Vladimir Putin will “send Ukraine back to the 18th century” by pushing ahead with attacks on the country’s energy facilities, one of his top allies has claimed, said a media report.
Pyotr Tolstoy, the deputy speaker of the Duma, warned that there would be no let-up in the Russian strikes on Ukrainian power stations ahead of winter, Daily Mail reported.
“The infrastructure of Ukraine will be destroyed, and Ukraine will be sent back to the 18th century,” the member of Putin’s United Russia party declared, Daily Mail reported.
In a tirade on French broadcaster BFM, the MP from Russia rubber-stamp parliament, who has been sanctioned by the US, the EU and Britain, warned that Ukraine’s allies “will pay the price.”
He added that the West should “prepare itself for a war that will last years.” But Tolstoy’s bizarre intervention appears to be at odds with a statement made by the Russian defence ministry on Thursday.
Officials in Moscow made the baseless claim that the damage to the Ukrainian capital’s critical infrastructure had been caused by “foreign and Ukrainian” air defence missiles.
“Not a single strike was made on targets within the city of Kyiv,” the Russian defence ministry said, although it failed to address similar attacks that knocked out power elsewhere.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said Ukraine could “end the suffering” by backing down in “such a way as to fulfil the requirement of the Russian side”.
“The leadership of Ukraine has every opportunity to bring the situation back to normal,” Peskov, Putin’s long-serving propagandist, said, Daily Mail reported.
Moscow has repeatedly rejected Ukraine’s demand that they pull out of the country before peace talks can begin.
Since the start of October, Russia has fired a barrage of missiles and sent Iranian-made drones towards energy targets across Ukraine to cripple its power grid as temperatures plummet below freezing.