Vladimir Putin will “send Ukraine back to the 18th century” by continuing attacks on the country’s energy facilities, one of his closest allies has claimed.
Pyotr Tolstoy, the deputy chairman of the State Duma, warned that Russian attacks on Ukrainian power plants would not stop before the winter.
“Ukraine’s infrastructure will be destroyed and Ukraine will be sent back to the 18th century,” the member of Putin’s United Russia party declared.
In a diatribe on French broadcaster BFM, the MP of Russia’s parliament, which has faced sanctions from the US, EU and Britain, warned that Ukraine’s allies will “pay the price.”
He added that the West “must prepare for a war that will last for years.” But Mr Tolstoy’s bizarre intervention appears to be at odds with a statement issued by Russia’s Defense Ministry yesterday.
Officials in Moscow made the baseless claim that the damage to the Ukrainian capital’s critical infrastructure was caused by “foreign and Ukrainian” air defense missiles.
“No attacks have been carried out against any targets in the city of Kiev,” Russia’s defense ministry said, though it declined to comment on similar attacks that knocked out power elsewhere.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said Ukraine could “put an end to suffering” by withdrawing “in a way that meets the demand of the Russian side.” “The leaders of Ukraine have every chance to return the situation to normal,” said Peskov, Putin’s staunch propagandist.
Moscow has repeatedly rejected Ukraine’s demand to leave the country before peace talks can begin.