Ukraine war in the blog | Kremlin insider: Putin is preparing years of war

Day 339 since the beginning of the war: Preparations in the Kremlin for a long war. Aerial photos are said to show extensive destruction in the embattled Wuhledar. All information in the news blog.

The most important things at a glance

Kremlin insider: Putin is preparing years of war

11:52 a.m.: Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be preparing for a long war and preparing a new offensive in Ukraine as early as February or March. This is reported by the business magazine Bloomberg, citing advisors close to the Kremlin. In this way, Putin wants to prove his country’s military strength, after Russian troops have been unable to report any successes for many months.

The Russian President is convinced that the greater number of troops in his army and their willingness to make sacrifices will ultimately lead to victory. “Putin is disappointed, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up,” quoted Russian political adviser Tatiana Stanovaya as saying. “It just means it’s going to be bloodier, longer and worse for everyone involved.” Despite the 300,000 additional fighters mobilized in the fall, Western observers doubt whether Russia has the necessary resources for a major offensive in the near future.

Should a wave of attacks come before the start of spring, the recently promised main battle tanks from countries such as Germany and the USA are unlikely to have arrived in Ukraine. According to Bloomberg, the Russian leadership hopes to increase the pressure with a renewed offensive in order to be able to impose a ceasefire on Ukraine according to their own ideas. Should this not succeed, Putin is already planning to increase the number of troops by almost 50 percent, to introduce military training at schools and universities and to station soldiers at the Finnish border.

Drone footage shows massive destruction in Wuhledar

8:40 a.m.: On Saturday morning, the Russian-language media project Nexta published aerial photos of the small town of Wuhledar in the Donetsk region on Twitter. The drone video is said to show numerous destroyed homes and public spaces after Russian attacks.

The Telegram channel “War 2022” published footage on Friday afternoon that is supposed to show the shelling itself. Accordingly, the city is said to have been hit by thermobaric missiles from the Russian army. Also known as vacuum bombs, these weapons disperse liquid, powdered or gaseous explosives up to several kilometers in the air. Their use is contrary to international law.

Wuhledar is located directly on the front in south-eastern Ukraine. From there, the Ukrainian artillery controls a railway line that runs through Russian-occupied territory – and thus throttles supplies for Putin’s troops on the Crimean peninsula. For Russia, taking the city would be an important strategic achievement. You can read more about the importance of the Battle of Wuhledar here.

Tense situation in Donetsk – the most important thing from the night

A Russian soldier stands in front of rubble in Soledar (archive photo): Fierce fighting continues in the Donetsk region.
A Russian soldier stands in front of rubble in Soledar (archive photo): Fierce fighting continues in the Donetsk region. (Quelle: IMAGO/DPR People’s Militia)

UN: No new wave of refugees from Ukraine

4.20 a.m.: According to the United Nations, the currently violent Russian rocket attacks have not triggered any new large movements of refugees from Ukraine. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, told the German Press Agency in Kyiv on Friday. During a visit to the neighboring Republic of Moldova, the authorities confirmed to him that there are currently not more people leaving Ukraine.

However, because of the winter, fewer people returned to Ukraine than before Russian missile attacks on Ukraine’s power system began last October. “The winter is very hard with the conflict in some regions,” said the 65-year-old. That’s not very encouraging for a lot of people. All in all, Grandi was in Ukraine for six days and visited the cities of Odessa, Mykolaiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Poltava.

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