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New Russian ‘Anniversary Offensive’ In Ukraine

by News Desk
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KYIV: Russia launched a long-awaited new military offensive in eastern Ukraine on Friday two weeks before the anniversary of Moscow’s invasion.Ukraine’s air force said 61 out of 71 Russian cruise missiles had been shot down, but Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko admitted that power facilities in six regions had been hit with missiles and drones, causing blackouts across most of the country.

Asked on Ukrainian television if the Russian offensive had begun, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Krylenko said: “Yes, definitely.”British Defense Ministry analysts said Russian forces had made some advances near Vuhledar, a Ukrainian bastion at the intersection of the southern and eastern fronts.

However, they said the limited Russian gains had come at a high cost in inexperienced units, including at least 30 armored vehicles abandoned in one failed assault. The attacks on Vuhledar have been branded a costly fiasco by some pro-war Russian military bloggers. One of them, Grey Zone, said: “A disaster is unfolding around Vuhledar, and it is unfolding again and again.”

Russia has also repeatedly attacked civilian infrastructure far from the front lines over the past four months, leaving millions of urban Ukrainians without power, heat or water for days at a time in the middle of winter.


The barrages have often followed Ukrainian diplomatic or battlefield advances. This one came as President Volodymyr Zelensky ended a tour of London, Paris and Brussels with standing ovations ringing in his ears, though no public promises of the fighter jets he was asking for.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said 10 Russian missiles had been shot down over the Ukrainian capital after air raid sirens blared across the country during the morning rush hour and officials urged weary civilians to heed them and shelter. Ukraine has been bracing itself for a new Russian offensive in the belief that, after months of reverses, President Vladimir Putin wants to tout a battlefield success before the anniversary of the invasion on Feb. 24.

Putin will give his delayed annual showcase address to parliament on Feb. 21, the date last year when he recognized the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent, a prelude to invading. The complete capture of those provinces, among four that Russia subsequently claimed to have annexed, would enable Putin to say that one of his main priorities had been achieved.

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