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EU Label Russia ‘State Sponsor Of Terrorism’ As Power Cuts Hit Ukraine, Moldova

The European Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” on Wednesday, accusing its forces of carrying out atrocities in Ukraine.

The symbolic move came as Russian strikes targeted energy infrastructure in Kyiv and other regions of western Ukraine, leaving millions without electricity and causing widespread power cuts in neighbouring Moldova. 

Meanwhile, power units at three Ukrainian nuclear power plants have been switched off after the latest Russian missile strikes, says the country’s state-run nuclear energy firm Energoatom.

Energoatom said in a statement that, “due to a decrease in frequency in the energy system of Ukraine”, emergency protection was activated at the Rivne, Pivdennoukrainsk and Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plants.

“Currently, they (power units) work in project mode, without generation into the domestic energy system,” Energoatom said.

The Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have caused blackouts across half of neighbouring Moldova, says the country’s deputy prime minister.

“Massive blackout in Moldova after today’s Russian attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure,” Andrei Spinu, who also serves as infrastructure minister, said on Twitter.

“Moldelectrica, TSO (transmission system operator), is working to reconnect more than 50% of the country to electricity.”

Power outages were also reported in the unrecognised, Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria, the local interior ministry said in a statement.

This is just as Russia launched new missile strikes on western Ukraine, hitting at least one critical infrastructure target in Kyiv as explosions echoed across the capital. Three people were killed and six injured in Kyiv, according to city officials.

The western city of Lviv was left completely without power, according to its mayor. “The whole city is without power. We are waiting for additional information from energy experts,” said Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi on social media, warning that there may also be interruptions to the city’s water supply. 

Air sirens were heard across Kyiv as Russian strikes hit the Ukraine capital, damaging energy infrastructure, in the latest in a series of systematic attacks that has caused nationwide blackouts as winter sets in.

“The enemy is launching missile strikes on critical infrastructure in Kyiv city. Stay in shelters until the air alert ends,” Kyiv city administration said on social media, with mayor Vitali Klitschko saying infrastructure had been hit.

The European Parliament has recognised Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, accusing its forces of carrying out atrocities during its war on Ukraine.

The move by the European legislators is a symbolic political step with no legal consequences, but MEPs urged the governments of the 27-nation EU to follow their lead. 

“The deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror,” a resolution approved by EU lawmakers said. 

Moldova, while decrying the situation, said on Wednesday Russia had sent no signals that it would stop supplying it with gas next month but that it was ready for any scenario because Moscow was using energy resources as “a tool of blackmail”.

State-run Russian gas company Gazprom accused Ukraine on Tuesday of keeping gas supplies destined for Moldova, and that it could from November 28 start reducing gas supplies to Moldova that pass through Ukraine.

Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, has denied withholding Russian gas meant for Moldova. Chisinau, which is dependent on Russia for its gas, said on Wednesday it would pay for any gas deliveries.

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Ukrainians today were suffering from the “martyrdom of aggression” and compared the war to the “terrible genocide” of the 1930s, when Soviet leader Josef Stalin inflicted famine on the people there.

He was speaking at the end of his general audience before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

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