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Russia Intensifies Bombing as Ukraine Braces for New Offensive

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Ukraine has accused Russia of “weaponizing winter”. Credit: @Liberov/Ukraine Defense

Russia fired 76 missiles and carried out drone attacks across Ukraine on Friday, officials said, striking the capital Kyiv and other cities as Kyiv says Putin is preparing a major offensive in the new year.

Power was completely down in Kharkiv in the north and several other regions.

Ukraine has accused Russia of “weaponizing winter” by striking essential facilities as temperatures fall below freezing. Defense ministry adviser Yuriy Sak told the BBC that emergency services were working to restore supplies but the situation was “still difficult”.

Kyiv city officials said around 40 missiles had been fired at the capital alone – one of the biggest barrages since Russia’s 24 February invasion.

Ukraine warns that Russia prepares for a major offensive

Ukraine’s defense minister is claiming in a news interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning a major new offensive to launch in the new year.

Oleksii Reznikov told the British newspaper The Guardian that emerging evidence indicates the Kremlin is preparing a broad new offensive possibly in February.

Reznikov said the new offensive is part of the second wave of a mobilization of 300,000 reservists Putin announced in September.

“The second part of the mobilization, 150,000 approximately, started their training courses in different camps,” Reznikov said. “The [draftees] do a minimum of three months to prepare. It means they are trying to start the next wave of the offensive probably in February, like last year. That’s their plan.”

Russia blasts reported US move to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine

Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson offered an angry response to reports that the United States is preparing to send Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine.

During a news conference Thursday, Maria Zakharova said that if media leaks are true, the move by the White House “would be another provocative step.”

“Given the increasing amounts of direct U.S. military assistance, including the presence of U.S. servicemen on the ground, the delivery of equipment of such complexity, the operation of which requires months of training, will signify a broader involvement of U.S. career servicemen in the hostilities with all the ensuing consequences,” Zakharova said.

Two U.S. officials have confirmed to ABC News that the United States has prepared plans to send Patriot air defense missile systems to Ukraine that could be approved by President Joe Biden by the end of this week.

If approved by Biden, the transfer of the advanced air defense systems would meet a long-standing request from Ukraine.


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