Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to award Gold Star medals to Heroes of Russia on the eve of Heroes of the Fatherland Day at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. AP
"There's a lot of noise about our strikes on the energy infrastructure of a neighboring country. Yes, we do that. But who started it?" Putin said at an awards ceremony in the Kremlin, adding that the criticism would "not interfere with our combat missions."
He presented the strikes as a response to a blast on Moscow's bridge to annexed Crimea and other attacks, accusing Kyiv of blowing up power lines from the Kursk nuclear power plant and not supplying water to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
"Not supplying water to a city of more than a million people is an act of genocide," Putin said.
He accused the West of "complete silence" on this and of bias against Russia.
"As soon as we move and do something in response, there is uproar and clamor spreading through the whole universe," he said.