Ukraine War Updates: As Winter Sets In Russia Hits Ukrainian Power Grid, Steps Up Ground Offensive in East
Reuters: Strike on power grid forces “Kyiv to introduce emergency blackouts across the country as winter bites.”
As cold winter sets in, Russia is stepping up missiles strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
The Russian barrage fired ahead of the weekend was reportedly the “biggest attack” of its kind since the invasion began nearly 10 months ago. “Friday’s onslaught, which pummeled many parts of central, eastern and southern Ukraine, constituted one of the biggest assaults on the capital, Kyiv, since Russia began the war by attacking Ukraine on Feb. 24,” the Associated Press noted.
The latest strike on Ukraine’s power grid forced “Kyiv to introduce emergency blackouts across the country as winter bites,” the Reuters news agency reported Saturday.
The missiles strikes on civilian infrastructure are aimed at lowering Ukrainian morale, as large parts of the country go without heating, running water, or electricity as temperatures hit below zero. “The attacks have targeted civilian infrastructure, as temperatures drop below zero in many regions,” the BBC reported. “Kyiv has accused Moscow of using winter as a weapon by targeting essential facilities as temperatures drop,” the broadcaster added.
Some of the critical services have since been restored. “Ukraine has managed to restore power to almost 6 million people in the last 24 hours after massive Russian strikes against the electricity generating system, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday,” the TV channel France24 reported Sunday.
Russia Renews Ground Offensive in Eastern Ukraine
The Russian air and missiles strikes were followed by a large ground offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, media reports on Sunday say. “Ukraine claims to have repelled Russian strikes near a number of eastern settlements in the last day, as bombardment continues in the Donbas,” Sky News (UK) reported early morning Sunday.
“Kyiv says Moscow attempted to launch attacks on Stelmakhivka and Serebrianske in the Luhansk region, as well as Verkhniokamianske, Vyimka, Vesele, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Opytne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, and Krasnohorivka in Donetsk region,” the broadcaster added.
Kyiv Asks West for Advanced Air Defense Systems
Amid devastating Russian missile, air and drone strikes, the Ukrainian government is urging the U.S. and Western allies to bolster country’s air defenses.
Since the invasion began in early spring, Russia has maintained air superiority against Ukraine. The invading Russian forces have been able to hit Ukrainian targets right up to its western border with NATO-member Poland. Moscow appears to have a large missile stockpile, and has also supplemented it with hundreds of Iranian-made suicide drones.
The U.S. and European NATO allies are scrambling to supply Ukraine with better air defense capabilities. Last month , Ukraine received NASAMS, an air defense system jointly developed by the U.S. and Norway, and the Italian-made Aspide anti-aircraft missile system.
The German state-run DW TV reported President Zelenskyy’s request for more air defense systems:
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reiterated his demand for the delivery of air defense systems in the wake of Friday’s missile bombardment by Russia on Kyiv and 14 other regions.
In a video message on Saturday evening, Zelenskky urged the West to “increase the pressure” on Russia, adding that Kyiv urgently needs anti-aircraft missiles.
According to media reports, the US now wants to send one Patriot missile system to Ukraine but there has been no formal confirmation.
Ukraine might also get Patriot missile defense system from the U.S., media speculations suggest. “Rumours have been swirling these past few weeks that Ukraine will get advanced US-built Patriot defence missile systems to try to counter Russian missile and drone attacks,” the BBC reported Friday.
Ukrainian Military Expects a Major Russian Offensive This Winter
The Ukrainian military planners are gearing up for a large-scale Russian offensive in coming months. “Ukraine is preparing for Russia to try again to invade from the north – maybe around the anniversary of its first, failed attempt to seize Kyiv last February,” Sky News reported Sunday, citing a senior Ukrainian military official.
Russia could throw millions of troops into action, focusing this time on the northern part of Ukraine, Ukrainian defense sources claim. “Putin could even ultimately order millions of soldiers into the war as Russia’s offensive falters in the face of fierce and enduring Ukrainian resistance, Major General Andrii Kovalchuk, one of Ukraine’s most senior military officers, said in an interview,” the British broadcaster added.
The Ukrainian military assessment comes almost three months after President Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of the Russian population, drafting close to 300,000 reservists to fight in the military campaign in Ukraine.DONATE
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