Friday, February 3, 2023

Live Update: Russia’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine; Day 298

Russia, wary of NATO’s eastward expansion, began a military campaign in Ukraine on February 24 after the Western-leaning Kiev government turned a deaf ear to Moscow’s calls for its neighbor to maintain its neutrality. In the middle of the mayhem, Moscow and Kiev are trying to hammer out a peaceful solution to the conflict. Follow the latest about the Russia-Ukraine conflict here:

Fragile morale among Russian force significant: UK MoD

Fragile morale almost certainly continues to be a significant vulnerability across much of the Russian force, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said in its latest defence intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine.

In its daily briefing posted on Twitter, the MoD announced soldiers’ concerns primarily focus on very high casualty rates, poor leadership, pay problems, lack of equipment and ammunition, and lack of clarity about the war’s objectives.

It added the establishment of two front line “creative brigades” tasked with raising the morale of troops through providing entertainment and musical instruments among other things is “unlikely to substantively alleviate these concerns”.


Russia’s DM visits troops involved in Ukraine operation

Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, inspected the country’s troops involved in Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the defence ministry announced on Sunday.

The ministry said on the Telegram messaging app, “The head of the Russian military flew around the areas of deployment of troops and checked the advanced positions of Russian units in the zone of the special military operation.”

The ministry added Shoigu spoke with troops “on the frontline” and at a “command post”. However, it was not immediately clear when the visit took place or if Shoigu had visited Ukraine itself.

A short video posted with the statement showed Shoigu in a military helicopter and a couple of aerial shots of empty swathes of land.

The announcement comes a day after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, held a meeting with the country’s top brass, including Shoigu, seeking proposals on how they think Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine should proceed.


Power restored to 6 million Ukrainians after strikes: Zelensky

Power has been restored to nearly 6 million Ukrainians after Friday’s barrage of Russian missile strikes against the country’s infrastructure, including its electricity generating systems.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy noted in a video address on Saturday, “Repair work continues without a break after yesterday’s terrorist attack.”

The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has also stated that heat had been restored for three-quarters of the capital’s residents and engineers were continuing to work to stabilise supply.

However, half of the Kyiv province still lacked electricity on Saturday, regional governor Oleksiy Kuleba was quoted as saying, with snow and rain complicating efforts.


Ukraine tried to kill Chief of Russia’s General Staff: Report

Ukraine’s authorities have allegedly made an attempt to assassinate General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, The New York Times has reported.

According to the daily, Kiev allegedly launched the attack when Gerasimov was on the front line. The newspaper gives neither the date nor any other information about the attack in question.

However, the paper said, Washington was against Kiev’s plans to kill Gerasimov for the worries that an attempt on his life could lead to an escalation. The Americans withheld the information about the general’s movements from the Ukrainians, and then asked “Ukraine to call off an attack — only to be told that the Ukrainians had already launched it.”


Ukraine says Russia rained down 98 missiles on Friday night

Ukraine’s army has put the number of missiles launched by Russia yesterday at 98 rather than 76 as had been previously stated.

Russia launched a major attack on Ukraine’s power grid on Friday, killing at least three people, damaging nine energy facilities and forcing Kyiv to introduce emergency blackouts across the country as winter bites.

Many people headed for shelters during the morning rush hour to take cover from the latest big attack on vital infrastructure since October, which a Kyiv official described as one of the largest missile barrages since Russia invaded in February.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had put the total number of missiles fired at 76 with 60 intercepted by Ukraine.


Russia says it hit Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, military targets on Friday

Russia’s defence ministry announced its “high-precision” weapons hit parts of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex and energy and military administrative facilities on Friday.

“As a result of the strike, the transportation of weapons and ammunition of foreign production has been thwarted,” it said on Saturday.

Ukraine’s plants producing weapons, military equipment and ammunition had been disabled, it added.

Ukrainian officials earlier stated Russia fired more than 70 missiles at Ukraine on Friday in one of its biggest attacks since the start of the military operation, knocking out power in the second-biggest city and forcing Kyiv to implement emergency blackouts nationwide.

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