World news

Russia continues to strike Ukrainian cities massively

A new salvo of Russian strikes fell on Friday, December 16, on Ukrainian cities, from Sumy to Odessa via Kharkiv, Poltava and kyiv. About sixty missiles were launched, including 40 on the capital kyiv alone. 37 of them were destroyed by air defense forces, according to the region’s military administration. At least ten people died in the east and south of the country. Power and water cuts were recorded in kyiv, Kharkiv and Poltava.

Cause the collapse of the Ukrainian economy

The continuation of this massive bombing campaign against civilian infrastructure since October 10 aims to break the resistance of the population, to cause the collapse of the Ukrainian economy and a new wave of refugees. At the same time, Moscow seeks to raise the cost of supporting Ukraine for Western countries. The donor countries, meeting on Tuesday, December 13 in Paris, agreed to provide the latter with more than one billion euros. But, over the months, the bill gets longer (the Ukrainian gross domestic product is expected to decrease by 9% in 2023) and the political will is likely to be lacking.

In an interview with the British weekly The Economistthe commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zaluzhniy believes that the national energy network is ” on a wire “. “And if the power grid is destroyed…that’s when the soldiers’ wives and children start to freeze. But such a scenario is possibleunderlines the Ukrainian general. What kind of mood will the fighters be in, can you imagine?Without water, without light or heat, can we talk about preparing reserves to continue to fight? »

Valeriï Zaluzhniï also declares to expect a new Russian offensive in the very first months of 2023. The head of the Ukrainian armed forces claims to set “three strategic tasks” : “hold the line” 1,500 km front “and never lose ground again” ; “Create reserves and prepare for the war which can take place in February, at best in March, and in the worst case at the end of January” ; strengthen air and missile defence. According to him, the Russians are bombing the country’s energy infrastructure because “they need time” for “gather their resources” human and military with a view to a new offensive.

Two simultaneous military efforts

In its latest assessment, dated December 15, the American think tank The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) asserts that Russia is leading “two simultaneous military efforts” to compel Ukraine to negotiate or make prior concessions. The first aims to capture the entire Donetsk region, and Russian military operations around Bakhmut, the city of Donetsk and in the west of the oblast (administrative region) are part of it.

The second consists of massive missile and drone strikes against critical infrastructure. In case of failure, Putin could launch a new offensive by deploying in Ukraine in February the 150,000 mobilized men, still being trained in Russia. “Russia is trying to generate the necessary combat capability for a new offensive in the first months of 2023”, notes the ISW.

Putin-Lukashenko meeting Monday, December 19 in Minsk

More than ever at the controls of his “special military operation”, Vladimir Putin will find his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, this Monday, December 19, in Minsk. According to the ISW, elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army, an elite unit of the Russian army, withdrawn from the front in September 2022 after heavy losses, have been training in Belarus since December 15. But their effective combat power, after reconstitution with the help of reservists or conscripts, remains debatable.


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