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Other View: Putin cannot be allowed to freeze, starve Ukraine

From the editorial: "It (would be) attempted mass murder."

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Dave Whamond / Cagle Cartoons
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Having suffered deadly wartime winters over generations, perhaps Russia is more sanguine than most about its plans to devastate Ukraine's energy infrastructure as freezing temperatures arrive. But this is no small act; it is attempted mass murder. All the nations that have thus far unified to oppose Vladimir Putin's aggression must be equally unified in opposing the brutal attack on the civilian population.

Already, Russian strikes have damaged an estimated 40% of Ukraine's power grid, forcing the under-siege government to impose rolling blackouts to prevent a total network failure. Now, deploying many Iranian-made drones and more powerful missiles from Tehran, Putin's forces are expected to launch still more attacks on power stations, ones that could result in a total blackout for Kyiv's 3 million people.

The administration of President Joe Biden has confirmed that communication channels with Russia remain open and that it is focused on "risk reduction," which is essential given the twin perils of regional escalation and nuclear war.

Talks about a potential prisoner swap to free WNBA star Brittney Griner also continue, as they must.

In the meantime, Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy is rightly pleading for the world to "force Russia into genuine peace negotiations," which would begin only after a series of critical terms are met.

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Regrettably, House Republicans are intent on complicating matters. With some on his right flank preaching isolationism, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said Ukraine ought not get a "blank check," suggesting that additional U.S. aid could be at risk. How ironic it would be for the supposed party of "law and order" to empower Putin, the planet's biggest criminal.

While the billions sent to support Ukraine must be properly spent, cutting off aid soon would be a massive miscalculation. The correct response to Putin's inhumane invasion is victory for Ukraine and defeat for the invading hordes. While keeping the door open to talks, the U.S. and its allies must stand firm and force the aggressor to buckle.

— New York Daily News Editorial Board

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