President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia's military must stop the shelling of Russian regions from Ukrainian territory, which he said had left many people homeless or without power.
Putin was addressing a government meeting about restoring destroyed housing and infrastructure in regions of southwest Russia that border Ukraine.
“Of course, the priority task is to eliminate the very possibility of shelling. But this is the business of the military department,” Putin said in remarks published on the Kremlin website.
Ukraine does not claim responsibility for strikes inside Russian territory but has described them as “karma” for Moscow's invasion, which has razed Ukrainian cities and systematically targeted the country's energy infrastructure, leaving people frequently without power and water in the depths of winter.
Putin cited the Russian regions of Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk, as well as Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine and annexed in 2014, as areas where housing had been damaged or destroyed.
People were facing “very acute” problems, and repairs and compensation were needed, he said.
“Many people found themselves in a difficult situation, lost their homes, were forced to move to relatives or to temporary places of residence, faced interruptions in the supply of water, heat, and electricity,” he said.
His comments signaled Moscow's frustration at the frequency of attacks in southern Russia, which have included strikes on sites such as electricity sub-stations and depots for weapons and fuel.