By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Authorities urged residents in Ukraine’s capital to make plans to leave after the president warned of more Russian air strikes that could cut off Kyiv’s power supplies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the nation Sunday in his regular nightly address that Russia was “concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of mass attacks on our infrastructure. First of all, energy.”
He spoke after U.S. officials reportedly warned the Ukrainian government in private that it needs to signal an openness to negotiating with Russia.
Officials in Washington expressed concern that “Ukraine fatigue” among allies could worsen if Kyiv continues to be closed to negotiations.
Zelensky has said Ukraine is only prepared to enter negotiations with Russia if its troops leave all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea and the eastern areas of the Donbas, which have been de facto controlled by Russia since 2014. He also remands that Russians who have committed crimes in Ukraine face trial.
And in a move further complicating peace talks, Zelensky made clear that he would not hold negotiations with the current Russian leadership.
Last month, he signed a decree specifying that Ukraine would only negotiate with a Russian president who has succeeded Vladimir Putin.
He inked the decree despite U.S. concerns that Western support for Ukraine’s cause could waver as the war’s impacts on energy and food prices persist into winter.
On Sunday, Zelensky expressed outrage that more than 4.5 million Ukrainian consumers were already without power due to Russian air strikes.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who traveled to Kyiv on Friday and pledged Washington’s “unwavering and unflinching” support for Ukraine, reportedly held undisclosed talks with Russian officials to avoid further escalation.
Moscow-backed officials have blamed Ukraine’s leadership for rising tensions. Russian officials said Sunday that Kyiv was preparing to attempt a second offensive to retake more of the active Kherson region.
Military observers say recapturing it would have symbolic and logistical value for Ukraine as Russia wants the area to secure water supply to the Crimea peninsula and a land bridge to Russia. The Russian-controlled Kherson administration said electricity and water supplies were down after a “terrorist attack” damaged three power lines in the occupied part of the area.
Tens of thousands of people, including Russian and Ukrainian soldiers as well as civilians, are believed to have died since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
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