Russia ‘may try to replicate its early plans to invade Ukraine on war anniversary’ | Russia

Russia could attempt to replicate a version of its original invasion plans, Ukrainian military officials believe, as Volodymyr Zelensky warned this weekend Vladimir Putin still has enough missiles to order heavier strikes.

Ukraine’s president was speaking the day after the latest wave of missiles targeting his country’s critical energy infrastructure after Russia launched 98 rockets on Friday at 20 towns and villages.

Officials said on Saturday, however, that repairs had been swift with water supplies restored across Kyiv and two-thirds of the capital now connected to electricity while the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, had been reconnected to the network after suffering a blackout. .

The infrastructure update came as a Ukrainian military commander warned Russia could again attempt to seize Kyiv after invading Belarus in the north, potentially towards the end of February, the anniversary of Putin first ordering his troops to invade.

War in Ukraine

Major General Andriy Kovalchuk revealed he could ‘predict’ Russian forces attempting to invade Ukraine north, east and south.

During interview with Sky News, Kovalchuk said: “We foresee such options, such scenarios. We are preparing for it. We live with the thought that they will attack again. It is our task.

His assessment comes as many analysts agree the 10-month war has reached another crucial stage, with both sides battling their way to a standstill, prompting Ukrainian military figures to plead with the West for more. weapons in order to regain the initiative.

Their nerves are unlikely to have been helped by reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may be taking an unduly cautious approach after asking for an assessment of the war’s progress. Sunak’s request is said to have caused concern among some in Whitehall, with military leaders saying arms deliveries to Ukraine could prove decisive over the coming winter months.

Last February, Russian forces crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine’s capital, less than 20 miles from central Kyiv. However, the offensive stalled before Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive to drive the Russians out of the city and eventually across the border into Belarus.

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at Russian positions near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Photography: Libkos/AP

Kovalchuk said Kyiv would be better prepared to repel Putin’s troops in the event of a repeat scenario, adding “it will no longer be the case that they will just come in, like on February 24.”

Last week the Guardian revealed in a interview with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov that Putin is preparing for another major offensive in the new year.

Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valeriy Zaluzhny, also revealed this week that he is planning another large-scale assault on Kyiv early next year. “The Russians are preparing some 200,000 new soldiers. I have no doubt that they will try another time in Kyiv,” Zaluzhny told the Economist.

Some analysts doubt Moscow will be able to mount a new ground offensive against Kyiv early next year, saying Russian forces are ill-prepared, battered and fatigued.

Meanwhile, in its latest intelligence update on Saturday, the Defense Ministry confirmed “a slight increase” in Russia’s campaign of long-range strikes against Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure.

Among the victims of the latest strikes was a toddler who was pulled by emergency teams from the rubble of an apartment building in the central town of Kryvyi Rih. Governor Valentyn Reznichenko of the Dnipropetrovsk region, where Kryvyi Rih is located, wrote on Telegram that “rescuers recovered the body of a one-and-a-half-year-old boy from the rubble of a house destroyed by a Russian rocket “.

A total of four people were killed in the strike and 13 injured, including four children, authorities said. The victims were “a 64-year-old woman and a young family with a small son,” Reznichenko wrote.

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