16:43 30.03.2024

Attacks on Russian refineries are an answer to destruction of Ukraine's energy grid – Zelenskyy

3 min read
Attacks on Russian refineries are an answer to destruction of Ukraine's energy grid – Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that attacks on Russian refineries are a response to attacks on the Ukrainian energy system.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Friday, Zelenskyy argued that he could check Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy grid only by making Russia pay a similar price.

"If there is no air defense to protect our energy system, and Russians attack it, my question is: Why can't we answer them? Their society has to learn to live without petrol, without diesel, without electricity. … It's fair. When Russia will stop these steps, we will stop," he said.

As Russian drones, missiles and precision bombs break through Ukrainian defenses to attack energy facilities and other essential infrastructure, Zelenskyy feels he has no choice but to punch back across the border — in the hope of establishing deterrence, the newspaper reported.

According to Zelenskyy, "the reaction of the U.S. was not positive on this," but Washington couldn't limit Ukraine's deployment of its own home-built weapons. "We used our drones. Nobody can say to us you can't."

Zelenskyy noted that long-range ATACM-300 missiles, which he said could strike targets in Russian-occupied Crimea, especially the airfields from which Russia launches planes with precision-guided missiles that are doing heavy damage. These missiles recently hit Odesa and several other targets.

"When Russia has missiles and we don't, they attack by missiles: Everything — gas, energy, schools, factories, civilian buildings," Zelenskyy said.

"ATACM-300s, that is the answer," he continued.

He said he wanted to use the longer-range missiles not to attack Russian territory but those airfields in Crimea. "When Russia knows we can destroy these jets, they will not attack from Crimea. It's like with the sea fleet. We pushed them from our territorial waters. Now we will push them from the airports in Crimea."

The congressional delay in approving a $60 billion military aid package has been costly for Ukraine, Zelenskyy said. The military has been unable to plan future operations while legislators squabbled for nearly six months. He warned that hard-pressed Ukrainian forces might have to retreat to secure their front lines and conserve ammunition.

"If there is no U.S. support, it means that we have no air defense, no Patriot missiles, no jammers for electronic warfare, no 155-milimeter artillery rounds," he said. "It means we will go back, retreat, step by step, in small steps."

At the same time, according to him, If the front remains stable, he said, Ukraine can arm and train new brigades in the rear to conduct a new counteroffensive later this year.

Zelenskyy summed up the zero-sum reality of this conflict: "If you are not taking steps forward to prepare another counteroffensive, Russia will take them. That’s what we learned in this war: If you don't do it, Russia will do it."

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