Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has called for further sanctions against Moscow following Russia's new missile attacks on the country's energy infrastructure. There must be more pressure on Russia, Zelenskyj said in his evening video message distributed in Kiev on Thursday. He also criticized the fact that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear power plant was once again temporarily cut off from the power grid by a missile strike. "This is a critical situation," he said.

Russia can therefore no longer be a reliable partner in the nuclear sphere. "This means that the sooner Russia's nuclear industry is targeted by sanctions, the safer the world will be. A terrorist state cannot be allowed to use nuclear facilities anywhere in the world for terror," Zelensky said, referring to Zaporizhia. The nuclear power Russia builds and operates nuclear power plants in numerous countries.

Power and heating outages after Russian missile attacks

The Ukrainian head of state accused Russia of a war against civilization. He complained that Moscow's attacks on civilian infrastructure on Thursday had caused partial failures in the supply of electricity, heating and water in some regions and cities. Six people were also killed, Zelenskyj said. The situation is most difficult in Kharkiv, in the Zhytomyr region west of Kiev.

Half the city is without electricity and partly without water, said the mayor of Zhytomyr, Serhiy Sukhomomlyn. In the capital Kiev, Mayor Vitali Klitschko had said that electricity was available everywhere in the metropolis, but that 30 percent of the apartments would have to do without central heating. Work on restoring the heating is ongoing.

"It is not easy in Odessa, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, in Kiev and in Zaporizhia. Repair units, engineers, local authorities, central services – everyone will work until the energy supply of cities and regions is restored," Zelensky said. "No matter how insidious Russia's actions are, our state and its people will not allow themselves to be put in chains. Neither missiles nor Russian atrocities will help."

Since mid-October, Russia has repeatedly attacked the energy facilities in Ukraine with missiles from bombers and warships as well as with drones. The destruction of the infrastructure led to hourly and daily outages of electricity, district heating and water in all parts of the country. However, the Ukrainians repeatedly managed to patch up the broken net. Ukraine's Western allies had also sent the country many power generators to ensure emergency and basic supplies.

Zelenskyi praised the European Union's help in the fight for Ukraine's energy security. He also informed about a telephone conversation with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who had once again assured Ukraine of support. Accordingly, Zelenskyj also called for the expansion of sanctions against Russia during the conversation. At the same time, he stressed once again that he expected accession negotiations for Ukraine's EU membership to begin as early as this year. The EU has always stated that Ukraine still has a long way to go.

What will be important on Friday

In eastern Ukraine, fighting continues for the strategically important city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. President Zelenskyj wants to keep Bakhmut as a fortress to prevent the Russians from penetrating even deeper into the interior of the country.

US President Joe Biden will receive EU Commission President von der Leyen at the White House on Friday (20:00 CET) for talks on support for Ukraine, which is under attack by Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak want to discuss in the morning with members of both governments at a joint summit in the Élysée Palace in Paris also on strengthening cooperation in arms deliveries to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian soldiers.