Russia Official Says No Choice But To Freeze and Starve Ukrainian Civilians

A Russian politician has said Moscow should focus on cutting off Ukraine's electricity supply, so its people have no access to heat, running water and refrigerated food.

Andrey Gurulyov, a deputy in the State Duma, made the comments during a discussion show on Russian state TV. Konstantin Dolgov, a senator in Russia's upper house and former commissioner for human rights, told the panel he "totally supports" Gurulyov's stance.

A video of the discussion, posted on Twitter by Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, has been watched more than 400,000 times since Wednesday night.

Davis tweeted that the two lawmakers "advocate freezing, starving the Ukrainian civilian population, forcing them into exile by making their survival otherwise impossible."

She added: "State TV host Olga Skabeeva disingenuously claims that Russia simply has no other choice."

Gurulyov said: "The absence of electricity means the absence of water, the absence of refrigerators, the absence of sewer.

"One week after all electricity is cut off, the city of Kyiv will be swimming in s***, pardon my expression. There will be a clear threat of an epidemic."

He went on to explain how Russia could cripple Ukraine, saying the military would not need to target traditional infrastructure like train stations.

"Another relevant point that is quite serious, we don't have to strike the railway junctions, the railroads or even the bridges. We need to knock out the control centers, we're in the digital age.

"Data centers with servers control the railways and Ukraine's energy supply systems as well as banking systems and a mint that prints the money.

"These strikes that are being carried out today, I believe they are extremely effective, our strategic operation of destroying critical infrastructure is being carried out in a classic manner.

"Carrying out strikes, appraising the situation, analysis of the affected targets, additional intelligence and more strikes, precisely and consistently disabling."

Gurulyov was then asked how turning off electricity and water to residential buildings would help Russia in the long term. Another panelist pointed out that Russia was fighting Ukraine's military, not its civilians.

Vladimir Putin
President Vladimir Putin at a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, on October 14. A Duma member has suggested Putin's forces should target civilian life in Ukraine. Getty

He hit back: "How would they live? Let me finish, if you have no water, no sewer, we're projecting the flood of refugees towards Western borders, correct?

"Because it's impossible to survive, there is no heating, no water, no sewers, no lights.

"You can't cook food, no place to store the food, there is no way to transport the food, the monetary system does not work and so on and so forth. How does one live in a country where nothing works. If there are no jobs, who will pay any one?"

Skabeeva then intervened, saying Russians were "by no means gloating" and "we love everyone." Moscow had been driven to this and had no other options, she said. "They want to destroy us, we're forced to react … and we will react."

Newsweek has contacted Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.