The Ukraine is ramping up strikes to target’s in the Ukraine territory, held by the Russians. and even some Russian territory…
Russia launchs new rocket attacks against Ukraine power/energy targets….
Ukraine civilians are on the move again…This time from Kherson…..
Griner is NOT Whelen…
Their chances/terms for freedom were always different….
The Russian President is traveling to try and show that things are NOT as bad for his forces as the media is saying everyday….
Here’s what we know:
The Ukrainian authorities said the strike on the southern city of Melitopol hit a church that was being used as a base by Russian soldiers. A state-owned Russian news agency said two people were killed and 10 wounded in the attack.
The strike on Melitopol signals the importance of longer-range weapons in Ukraine’s campaign to recapture land in the south.
All of Ukraine’s thermal and hydroelectric power plants are damaged from Russian strikes, the prime minister says.
Zelensky says it will take days to restore electricity to the Odesa region.
Biden’s top hostage negotiator details Brittney Griner’s flight home.
In a string of appearances, a chatty Putin sends an underlying message.
The war in Ukraine is bringing an energy crunch, and paid protests, to Moldova……
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Ukraine deployed HIMARS rockets in Melitopol, Russian-installed officials said on Telegram, with regional governor Yevgeny Balitsky adding that the recreation center they hit was “destroyed” and civilians were eating dinner there. The Washington Post could not independently verify the claims. The United States has throughout the war supplied Ukraine with multiple High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, which are capable of striking precise targets from up to 50 miles away and have wreaked havoc on command posts and logistical hubs behind Russian lines.
- Ukrainian and pro-Russian officials reported different death tolls in the Melitopol strikes, with Balitsky claiming two deaths and more than 10 injuries. Ivan Fedorov, the exiled Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, said 200 people were killed or injured. The Post could not independently verify the figures, but such tolls have often been inflated by Ukraine and undercounted by Russia in the war.
- Ukraine’s biggest rock star, who has been described as the country’s Bruce Springsteen, showed support for Melitopol. Sviatoslav Vakarchuk posted a selfie on Instagramof him wearing a shirt that said, “Melitopol is Ukraine!” to his 342,000 followers. Fedorov thanked Vakarchuk on Telegram.
- “Nobody’s doing backflips … about the fact that Mr. Bout is a free man six years earlier than he would have been. But we’re going to protect our national security,” Kirby said on ABC’s “This Week.” In response to detractors of the deal, Kirby said: “They weren’t in the room. They weren’t on the phone. They weren’t watching the incredible effort and determination … to try to get both Paul and Brittney out together. I mean, in a negotiation, you do what you can. You do as much as you can. You push and you push and you push. And we did.” American negotiators have learned a lot about Russia’s expectations, Kirby said, and they’ll continue to seek Whelan’s return.
- Russian shelling of a residential neighborhood in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region killed two people, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said in a Telegram post. He said Saturday’s attacks targeted a hospital, cafe, infrastructure facility and residential buildings, and also injured five other people.
- Utility workers in the Black Sea port city of Odessa are working to restore power and water supplies to residents after the city’s civilian infrastructure was targeted overnight Friday. City officials warned Sunday afternoon that 43 of the city’s 140 boiler houses were not working and that water was being delivered by car to streets without running supplies. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky blamed the blackouts, which at one point affected 1.5 million people, on Iranian drones being used by Russia.
- Both Zelensky and Putin spoke on the phone Sunday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Reuters reported that Erdogan and Putin discussed a deal to secure grain exports from Ukraine and Russia — a lack of grain from two of the world’s largest producers could mean famine, especially in Africa and the Middle East. Zelensky posted on Telegram that his chat with Erdogan also revolved around grain. Ankara has continued to play a unique role as a NATO member, supplying Ukraine while also negotiating a grain deal that would benefit Kyiv and Moscow.
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted on Facebook that, following eight waves of missiles, attacks have left 40 percent of the country’s high-voltage energy networks damaged to varying degrees. He added that all thermal and hydroelectric plants were damaged.
- Russia is allocating 30 percent of its annual government budget to military spending, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Sunday, describing it as a “significant increase” from previous years and a figure that could put pressure on other areas of spending. The ministry said Moscow’s federal budget for 2023, which was signed into law by Putin on Dec. 5, was also likely based on overly optimistic revenue projections.
- Moscow is boosting its weapons production, former prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday on Telegram, claiming that it was to face off supposed threats from North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. “We are increasing production of the most powerful means of destruction,” he said, “including those based on new principles.”
- It will take 10 years to adequately rebuild the Luhansk region, said regional governor Serhiy Haidai, according to the Luhansk military administration Telegram account.
- Attacks continued in Bakhmut, which Zelensky on Friday said was “destroyed.” The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine posted Sunday on Facebook that 26 settlements throughout Bakhmut and Avdiivka were still experiencing attacks from tanks and artillery. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine posted on Telegram a photo of a burned-out vehicle it claimed was a 47th State Emergency Unit van trying to deliver aid to people in Bakhmut. That unit on Saturday helped extinguish a 300-square-meter fire caused by shelling, according to a Telegram post from Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs. The blaze struck the top three floors of a nine-floor apartment building. No information was provided about injuries or deaths, according to the post.
- Germany on Saturday said it has provided $21 million worth of generators to Ukraine, some of which will go to Odessa to help keep power on as Russian-backed troops target Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure. A local energy agency predicted it could take up to three months for the city to recover from the latest strikes. Norway announced a $100 million aid package the same day, which will be used to help repair Ukraine’s energy system, Zelensky said.
- Stormy weather pushed in mines from the sea to the coast, officials warned Sunday. The Odessa City Council posted on Telegram that tides overnight deposited one of the explosive devices in the Mykolaiv region and another near Odessa. Demolition teams destroyed the mines to prevent uncontrolled damage, per the Telegram post. Even during winter, people spend time in the Black Sea, so defense forces along Ukraine’s southern border are warning people to be safe, the city council posted….