(Reuters) – Russia is attacking Ukrainian power plants because it wants to force people to leave their homes and move westward to European Union nations, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Thursday.
Zelenskiy earlier this week said Russia had already destroyed around a third of the country’s power plants, causing electricity and water cuts as winter approaches. Kyiv ordered nationwide power restrictions for the first time on Thursday.
The United Nations says 7.7 million Ukrainians, roughly 19% of the pre-war population, are now living across Europe after fleeing in the wake of the Feb 24 invasion. Some refugees have struggled to find decently-paid jobs.
“Russia is provoking a new wave of migration of Ukrainians to European Union countries,” Zelenskiy said in video remarks to an EU summit. Zelenskiy’s office released a recording of his remarks.
“Russian terror against our energy facilities is aimed at creating as many problems with electricity and heat as possible for Ukraine this autumn and winter, so that more Ukrainians go to European countries,” he said.
In response, allied nations should provide more anti-aircraft systems and impose additional sanctions on Iran, which produces some of the drones Moscow is using, he said.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alistair Bell)