Moscow strikes cities across Ukraine amid ‘huge’ Russian losses

Russia unleashes one of the year’s biggest aerial barrages against Ukrainian targets

Russia launched about 110 missiles overnight as well as drones against Ukrainian targets in one of the biggest barrages of the year, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday.

Most of the incoming missiles and drones were shot down – but at least seven civilians were killed and an unknown number of people were buried under rubble, Ukrainian officials said. Scores were reported injured.

Zelenskyy said the Kremlin’s forces used a wide variety of weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said Russia “apparently launched everything they have” against targets across Ukraine.

The roughly 18-hour onslaught that began on Thursday and continued through the night hit six cities, including the capital Kyiv, and other areas from east to west Ukraine, according to authorities.

This new wave of strikes shows that the country needs “more help” from the international community, reacted Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Three killed in Zaporizhzhia

Russian strikes killed three people and wounded nine on Thursday in two villages in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine, according to local authorities.

Two fishermen died in the shelling of the village of Bilenke, the prosecutor general’s office said on Telegram. Five civilians were also “injured to varying degrees of severity,” he added.

This locality, about thirty kilometres south of Zaporizhzhia, is located on the banks of the Dnieper, whose waters serve as a natural front line separating the Russian and Ukrainian armies.

Another attack, on the village of Orikhiv, left one resident dead and four injured, the authorities said.

Russian forces also carried out several strikes in the Kharkiv and Kherson region.

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffins of their killed comrades Vasyl Medviychuk and Dmytro Dosiak during a funeral ceremony in Verkhovyna, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023.

“Huge” Russian losses in Ukraine

Russia is suffering “enormous” losses in men and equipment in its war in Ukraine and its army will emerge “weakened” from the conflict, a senior German army official said in an interview published Friday.

“You know that, according to figures from Western intelligence services, 300,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or so seriously injured that they can no longer be mobilized in the war,” General Christian told the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Freuding, who oversees support for kyiv within the Bundeswehr.

Concerning equipment, “we think that they (the Russians, editor’s note) lost a number of tanks and armoured units numbering in the thousands and at the high end of the range,” he added.

At the same time, “the Russians still manage to recruit personnel, among other things by bringing in detainees” to the front, said General Freunding, “and we are of course observing massive investments in the arms industry “.

Ukrainian cargo ship crashes into Russian mine

a Panama-flagged civilian cargo vessel is seen in Odesa region Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023.

A civilian cargo ship struck a Russian mine in the Black Sea near Ukraine’s Danube ports Thursday, injuring two sailors, officials and analysts said, in an incident that underscored the dangers faced by those exporting Ukrainian grain during the war.

The Panama-flagged vessel struck the floating mine during stormy weather as it went to pick up grain, according to Ukraine’s Southern Defence Forces, adding that churning seas often increase the risk from mines.

As the fighting grinds on through the winter and likely into a third year after Russia’s February 2022 invasion, and with little recent change along the front line, Ukraine is aiming to strengthen its financial resources for what could be a protracted war.

After Russia pulled out of a UN-brokered export agreement last summer, Ukraine launched a new Black Sea shipping corridor to get grain, metals and other cargo to world markets. That has given a boost to Ukraine’s agriculture-dependent economy.

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