A barrage of Russian missiles was reported throughout Ukraine as Kyiv stated that Moscow could launch a brand new offensive and the Kremlin warned Washington to not ship Ukraine extra refined weapons.
Reside Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine
RFE/RL’s Reside Briefing offers you all the newest developments on Russia’s ongoing invasion, Kyiv’s counteroffensive, Western navy help, international response, and the plight of civilians. For all of RFE/RL’s protection of the warfare, click on right here.
Ukrainian authorities reported explosions in not less than three cities on December 16, saying Russia had launched a serious missile assault” on vitality services and infrastructure.
Native authorities stated on social media that there had been explosions within the capital, Kyiv, southern Kryviy Rih within the Dnipropetrovsk area, and northeastern Kharkiv as authorities sounded air raid alarms throughout the nation warning of a brand new barrage of Russian strikes, which have occurred intermittently since mid-October.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov stated on Telegram that the town was with out electrical energy after authorities stated three missiles had hit vital infrastructure.
Energy outages have been additionally reported within the Sumy area within the east. In Kyiv authorities stated “air protection is working within the area.”
The strikes concentrating on vitality infrastructure have been a part of a brand new Russian technique to attempt to freeze Ukrainians into submission after a number of key battlefield losses for Russian forces in latest months.
Earlier, Ukraine’s navy stated Russia’s predominant focus remained on the japanese cities of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka, however that it was additionally making an attempt to get a stronger foothold within the southern area of Zaporizhzhya.
The recent Russian missile assaults come as Moscow warned Washington in opposition to delivering refined air protection programs to Ukraine, saying these programs could be a “reputable goal” for the Russian navy, a menace that was rapidly rejected by america.
Russian Overseas Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on December 15 that if stories about U.S. plans to supply Kyiv with Patriot surface-to-air missile system show true, it will develop into “one other provocative transfer by the U.S.” and broaden its involvement within the hostilities, “entailing doable penalties.”
Requested in regards to the Russian warning, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder stated that america was “not going to permit feedback from Russia to dictate the safety help that we offer to Ukraine.”
His feedback got here because the U.S. navy introduced it should broaden coaching in Germany of Ukrainian navy personnel. Beginning in January, 500 troops a month will likely be educated, constructing on greater than 15,000 Ukrainians educated by america and its allies since April.
In the meantime, senior Ukrainian protection officers predicted that Russia will launch a brand new offensive early subsequent yr that would embrace a second try and take the capital, Kyiv.
Moscow’s new offensive might occur as quickly as January, Normal Valeriy Zaluzhniy and Normal Oleksandr Syrskiy have been quoted as saying in interviews with The Economist journal on December 15.
“The Russians are getting ready some 200,000 recent troops. I’ve little doubt they’ll have one other go at Kyiv,” Zaluzhniy was quoted as saying.
Ukrainian Protection Minister Oleksiy Reznikov additionally stated in remarks printed in The Guardian on December 15 that proof is rising that Russia deliberate a broad new offensive.
“The second a part of the mobilization, 150,000 roughly…do a minimal of three months to arrange. It means they’re making an attempt to begin the subsequent wave of the offensive most likely in February, like final yr. That’s their plan,” Reznikov instructed The Guardian.
Russia is constant to construct up its navy presence in Belarus, a senior Ukrainian navy official stated.
Russian items “are present process coaching and fight coordination” in Belarus, with the Kremlin utilizing Belarusian officers and coaching grounds to enhance the fight functionality of current items, in addition to to coach newly created items, in response to Oleksiy Hromov, the deputy head of the Normal Employees’s Predominant Operations Directorate
Talking at a press briefing on December 15, Hromov stated the chance of a Russian offensive from Belarus “stays low,” however he highlighted that the switch of Russian weapons to Belarus is ongoing, together with three hypersonic missile-carrying plane, a set of tanks and a long-range radar-detection plane.
In different information, the Russin-installed head of Donetsk, Aleksei Kulemzin, stated on December 15 that the town heart had been hit by what he described as the largest such strike for the reason that space got here beneath the management of Russian-backed separatists in 2014. Kulemzin stated residential buildings, a hospital, and a college campus have been hit within the alleged Ukrainian missile strike.