The United States has accused Russia of wanting to “freeze” Ukraine into submission because it failed to triumph on the battlefield, while Moscow continued to move thousands of civilians out of the region of Kherson occupied by Russia.
Since Kyiv forces advanced against invading troops in eastern and southern Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly rained explosive missiles and drones on Ukrainian infrastructure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that Russia’s campaign against Ukraine’s energy grid has left about 4.5 million people without electricity.
“President (Vladimir) Putin seems to have decided that if he can’t take over Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it until it submits,” the secretary said on Friday. US state Antony Blinken after the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Germany.
The West has pledged to help Ukraine rebuild after the damage caused by the Moscow attacks.
Top diplomats from the rich nations club have agreed on a structure to channel aid to Ukraine to replace the infrastructure Russia has hit after holding two days of talks in Muenster.
The United States, which has already committed more than $18.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began in February, is also examining options to undo the damage.
The Pentagon announced on Friday that the United States would send Ukraine an additional $400 million in military aid and establish a security assistance headquarters in Germany that would oversee arms transfers and military training for Ukraine.
The aid also includes contracts for 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones, funding to refurbish 45 tanks and 40 additional river boats.
The Phoenix Ghost drone is an armed “kamikaze drone” that explodes on contact with its target.
US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Friday to reaffirm US support for Ukraine.
Sullivan told a press conference in Kyiv that Ukraine had “an acute need for air defense at this critical time”.
As an impending Ukrainian offensive looms in the south, Moscow has continued to pull civilians out of the Kherson region, with Putin saying residents must be “removed” from dangerous areas.
The Russian military said “more than 5,000 civilians” crossed the Dnieper every day, showing images of soldiers leading lines of cars towards flotillas crossing the east bank of the river.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the claims.
Moscow forces began urging tens of thousands of civilians to leave Kherson in mid-October, vowing to turn the region’s main city of the same name into a fortress.
Kyiv compared the departures to Soviet-style “deportations” of its people.
“Those who live in Kherson should be kept away from dangerous combat zones,” Putin said in Red Square as he marked Russian Unity Day, a patriotic holiday.
“The civilian population should not suffer from shelling, offensive, counter-offensive or other such things,” he said.
A resident of Kherson told the Associated Press news agency that Russian soldiers were moving into vacant apartments.
Russian military personnel were going door to door, checking property deeds and forcing tenants to leave immediately if they could not prove they owned the apartments, he said.
“They force the townspeople to evacuate, then Russian soldiers move into vacated apartments all over Kherson,” said the resident, who spoke on the condition that only his first name – Konstantin – be used for reasons. of security.
“It is obvious that they are preparing to fight the Ukrainian army in the city.”
Southern Ukraine military spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian television that some Russian servicemen dress up as civilians.
The claims could not be independently verified.