After the worst Russian rocket attacks in weeks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, electricity has been restored for almost six million people. This was announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday in his video message distributed every evening in Kyiv. “The repair work continues,” said Zelenskyj, referring to the “terrorist attack” on Friday. Russia fired more than 70 missiles at Ukraine.
In view of the severe damage, Zelenskyy called on the international community to give Ukraine the means to protect its airspace. What is meant is an effective anti-aircraft system. “You can do that. You can give our people protection – 100 percent protection against these Russian terrorist strikes,” said Zelenskyy. Accordingly, Ukraine is waiting for final approvals for the delivery of the weapons. Selenskyj is hoping for the US Patriot air defense systems. This is to prevent damage to the infrastructure in the future.
“Problems with the heating, big problems with the water supply remain,” Zelenskyy said. Accordingly, millions of people are still affected by power outages and other restrictions. The situation is most difficult in the city of Kyiv and in the region, but also in Vinnytsia and its surroundings and in Lviv. There are also power outages in other regions such as Odessa, Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk.
According to British secret services, Moscow is said to be using Iranian drones from a different location than before in its war of aggression in Ukraine. In addition to air and sea-launched cruise missiles, drones provided by Iran and launched from the southern Russian region of Krasnodar were most likely used in the attacks on critical infrastructure in recent days, according to the British Ministry of Defense’s daily briefing on Twitter on Saturday.
Previously, such drones were mainly launched from the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. The British take the shift as a sign that Moscow may be concerned about Crimea’s vulnerability. In addition, it is easier for the Russians to organize supplies at the new location, since the weapons are believed to arrive in the Russian region of Astrakhan, which is closer.
In an interview with the French news channel LCI, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about Vladimir Putin’s alleged “obsession” with himself. He made a clear statement.
“A man, a real man, if he wants to convey a message to someone, like smack his face, he does it all by himself, without using the services of an intermediary,” the head of state said. “If I had to convey such a message to Putin, I would do it all by myself.”
When the moderator asked if he was ready for a direct duel with the 70-year-old Putin, the 44-year-old smiled. “Always ready,” says Zelenskyj and even underlined it. “Tomorrow, but that would be President Putin’s last summit.”
The Kremlin, meanwhile, informed that President Vladimir Putin spent the whole day on Friday in the command staff of the “military special operation”. The Russian leadership uses this expression to describe their war of aggression against Ukraine. Putin was informed there about the next war goals. Details were not given. On Friday, Russia once again launched massive rocket attacks on Ukraine.
In the Donetsk region, sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the Ukrainian armed forces and a camp with foreign mercenaries were also destroyed, Konashenkov said. He also confirmed Friday’s new massive rocket attacks. “The aim of the blow has been achieved. All targeted objects have been destroyed.”
According to Bundeswehr Brigadier General Christian Freuding, soldiers of the Wagner mercenary group pay an “incredibly high blood toll” on the Donbass. In an interview on the Bundeswehr YouTube channel, Freuding said: “We have information that there are days when up to 500 Wagner workers die there.” The life expectancy of a Wagner mercenary at the front is only ” a few days,” continued Freuding.
For months, pro-Russian forces have been trying to capture Bakhmut, a city of little military value, amid heavy fighting. But Putin wants to claim victory, and hundreds are dying every day.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainians’ willingness to defend themselves remains unbroken even after the most recent rocket attacks. However, the latest wave of Russian missiles once again caused power, district heating and water to fail in large parts of the country. The European Union passed a new package of sanctions against Moscow on Friday.
“Whatever the rocket worshipers in Moscow hope for, it will not change the balance of power in this war,” Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Friday evening. Russia still has enough missiles for further massive attacks. “But we have enough determination and confidence to throw our own punches after those punches.”
Zelenskyy emphasized the effective work of the Ukrainian air defense, which shot down most of the incoming cruise missiles and rockets in the morning. “But unfortunately there were also goals,” he said. “Terrorists need such a mass of rocket attacks that at least some of their ‘products’ reach their intended targets.” After the war, most people in the world would probably associate the meaning of the word “terror” with “Russia’s insane actions.”
According to their own statements, the Ukrainian air defense system intercepted almost 80 percent of the 76 projectiles in the Russian missile strike. Of the 72 cruise missiles and four guided missiles, 60 were shot down. According to the Kyiv military administration, the main blow was aimed at the capital. Of 40 rockets, 37 were intercepted over the city of three million.
The Ukrainian government accuses Russia of “terror” for these attacks on the country’s energy supply – with the aim of plunging the country into darkness and cold.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described Russia’s new massive rocket attacks on Ukraine as barbaric war crimes. “These cruel, inhuman attacks aim to increase human suffering,” he said on Friday. The population, but also hospitals, emergency services and other essential services should lose their supply of electricity, heat and water. “These bombings constitute war crimes and are barbaric,” Borrell said.
After the recent Russian attack on the Ukrainian capital, technicians in Kyiv restored part of the district heating and water supply. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Ukrainian television that about a third of the city’s residents were supplied with district heating and water. The heating and water in the rest of the city should be working again by Saturday morning. At the same time, around 40 percent of the residents have electricity. “We understand that the main thing for us is the resumption of work on the subway,” emphasized the 51-year-old early Friday evening.
Given the ongoing Russian attacks on the energy grid and the resulting power outages, Ukraine still needs around 17,000 industrial or larger power generators for this winter. Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal gave this number at a government meeting on Friday, as reported by the Unian state agency. “So far, small and medium-sized enterprises have already imported around 500,000 smaller generators,” he said. “But to get through the winter, we still need around 17,000 larger or industrial generator systems.”
The ninth EU package of sanctions against Russia over the war against Ukraine is in force. As can be seen from the legal texts published in the EU Official Journal on Friday evening, the EU has imposed asset freezes and entry bans on a further 141 people and 49 institutions. Among them are several deputy prime ministers, ministers and companies from the defense and automotive industries.
Zelenskyj welcomed the new sanctions against Moscow. This package is the ninth, “but obviously not the last,” he said in the evening, a few hours after the most recent Russian missile attack on his country’s energy grid. “Because it’s obvious that the pressure needs to be increased.”
At least 11 people were killed in an artillery shelling by Ukrainian forces on the Russian-controlled region of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, according to local authorities. Another 20 people were injured in the attack on the village of Lantratowka, and the fate of another 20 people is uncertain, the Russian state agency TASS reported, citing regional authorities. The neighboring Donetsk region also came under Ukrainian artillery fire on Friday. One person died and five other people were injured.
The breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass, which are supported by Moscow, declared their independence from Kyiv years ago. In the meantime, Russia has integrated the regions together with the other occupied parts of Ukraine into its national territory in violation of international law. Ukraine wants to liberate these areas – and the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Also read: The Ukraine update on December 16th.