The Ukrainian army attacked the occupied city of Melitopol with rockets. ISW: Putin Will Lose Support of Donbas Militants

We are on day 291 of the war started by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine could get out of hand and turn into a war between Russia and NATO, the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. On the other hand, the British Defense Secretary said that Iran’s support for the Russian military could increase in the coming months, and Moscow could offer “unprecedented” military support to Tehran in return. Separately, Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Russian forces had “destroyed” the city of Pakmut in eastern Ukraine. More than 1.5 million people in the Odesa region were left without power after a Russian drone hit a power generation system. The Russian-installed administration in Kherson announced the withdrawal of the Ukrainian hryvnia from circulation.

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The Ukrainian army attacked the occupied city with rockets Melitopol

Update 09:00 The Ukrainian army launched an attack on the occupied city of Melitopol in the country’s southeast on Saturday evening, Reuters reported, citing Russian-backed officials and exiled Ukrainian officials in the strategically located city.

Pro-Moscow officials said two people were killed and ten wounded in the rocket attack, while the exiled mayor said dozens of “invaders” had been killed.

Reuters notes that it could not independently verify reports of attacks or casualties. Anti-aircraft defense systems destroyed two missiles and hit four targetsYevgeny Politsky, the Moscow-appointed governor of the annexed region of Zaporizhia region, wrote in a telegram.

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According to him, A Entertainment CenterUkraine’s Himars missile attack destroys dinner spot

The exiled mayor, Ivan Fedorov, also wrote in Telegram that he attacked a church that Russians had turned into a gathering place.

Vladimir Rokov, another official in the Moscow-annexed region of Zaporozhye region, said a large fire caused by the strikes engulfed the entertainment center. He posted a video of a building on fire.

HIMARS multiple rocket launchers have been one of Ukraine’s most effective weapons in the war, delivering precision fire at hundreds of targets, including Russian command posts.

On Friday, the United States announced that it would send additional aid to Kiev to strengthen its anti-aircraft defenses, particularly against drones, Agerpres notes.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Melitopol, a major industrial and transport hub occupied by Russia since March, was vital to the security of the south.

“All logistics connecting Russian forces in the eastern part of the Kherson region are heading towards the Russian border near Mariupol,” Arestovici said in a video interview on social media.

“If Melitopol falls, the entire defense line up to Kherson will collapse. Ukrainian forces will have a direct route to Crimea,” he added.

ISW: Putin risks losing support of Donbas soldiers due to military setbacks

Update 07.50 In the most recent assessment of the leadThe Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in Washington has reported that Vladimir Putin is at risk of losing favor. Some soldiers from Donbass As Russian forces failed to “secure” the Donbass by pushing Ukrainian forces west of Donetsk city.

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Igor Girkin, a former defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), who led the siege of Sloviansk in 2014, directly criticized Putin for failing to push Ukrainian forces further from the city of Donetsk, despite Putin’s identification. One of the objectives of the Russian “special military operation” is the protection of civilians in the Donbass.

Kirkin was particularly critical of Putin’s statement on December 9, which characterized the progress of the special military operation as “stable”, saying that only Putin and the Russian Ministry of Defense considered the war a success.

Girkin’s criticism is unprecedented compared to his previous attacks on the Kremlin. These open attacks on Putin may reflect a rift between Putin and his supporters.

Highlights of previous day:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces had destroyed the eastern Ukrainian city of Pakmut, while the Ukrainian military announced rocket attacks in several parts of the country.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the fighting in Ukraine could get out of hand and turn into a war between Russia and the North Atlantic alliance, the Associated Press reported.
  • According to a recent assessment by the British Ministry of Defence, Iran’s support for Russia’s military is likely to increase in the coming months.
  • The Ukrainian Air Force said the Ukrainian military shot down 15 Iranian-made Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 drones between Friday night and Saturday in the cities of Kherson, Nikolaev and Odesa.
  • More than 1.5 million people in the Odesa region are without power after a Russian drone struck a power generation system, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message on Saturday.
  • Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian Nobel Peace Prize laureates unanimously condemned the “crazy and murderous” war that Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed on Ukraine as they received the prestigious award in Oslo on Saturday.
  • The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced on Saturday that Ukrainian forces attacked a Russian base in the temporarily occupied territory of Zaporozhye region, the Kyiv Independent reports. According to the General Staff, 150 Russian soldiers were wounded and 50 soldiers were taken to a hospital in the Zaporizhia region of occupied Melitopol.

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Publisher: MDB

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