Russia-Ukraine war live: Russian strikes on infrastructure more infrequent due to missile shortage, says UK | Ukraine

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Russian strikes on infrastructure more infrequent due to missiles shortage – UK MoD

Russia is probably limiting its missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure because of its limited supply of cruise missiles, the UK’s Ministry of Defence says.

In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said Russia had increased its forces in Ukraine with tens of thousands of reservists since October, easing personnel shortages, but that “a shortage of munitions highly likely remains the key limiting factor on Russian offensive operations”.

It said that just sustaining defensive operations along Russia’s lengthy front line required a significant daily expenditure of shells and rockets.

Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to around once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles.

Similarly, Russia is unlikely to have increased its stockpile of artillery munitions enough to enable large-scale offensive operations.

Ukrainian emergency workers clear rubble at a building destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, central Ukraine, last week
Ukrainian emergency workers clear rubble at a building destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, central Ukraine, last week. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

Key events

A Ukrainian official has called for Iranian drone and missile factories to be destroyed because of their use by Russia in the war.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Iran “blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions”.

Podolyak said that Iran was planning to boost missile and drone supplies for Russia.

In a tweet, he said that plants should be “liquidated” and suppliers “arrested”.

The Netherlands has pledged €2.5bn ($2.7bn) to help Ukraine in 2023, with most of the money earmarked for military aid.

“Nearly two billion is intended for military support”, the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, told a press conference in the Hague on Friday.

Agence France-Presse reported him as saying the would go towards humanitarian aid, rebuilding infrastructure as well as ensuring accountability.

The exact use of the contribution depends on the needs of Ukrainians and therefore on the course of the war.

Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte: ‘Ukraine can rely on the Netherlands.’ Photograph: Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters

The Dutch government said support for reconstruction was designed to help rebuild hospitals, housing, energy and agricultural infrastructure, as well as demining work.

Last week the Dutch defence minister, Kajsa Ollongren, said the Netherlands had provided nearly €1bn in military support to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last February.

Rutte tweeted earlier on Friday:

As long as Russia continues its war against Ukraine [the Netherlands] will provide assistance … Military, humanitarian and diplomatic. Ukraine can rely on the Netherlands.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Ukrainians that Russia could launch more strikes over Christmas, urging them to “pay attention to air raid alarms, help one another and look out for one another”.

The Ukrainian president said in his nightly video address on Friday:

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Russian terrorists could again step up their activities. They have no regard for Christian values or any values for that matter.

Reuters also reported that Zelenskiy, switching to Russian, warned that “citizens of Russia must clearly understand that terror never goes without a response”. He did not elaborate.

He said he had met his top commanders to review the military situation and that his government was “preparing for various scenarios of action by the terrorist state – and we will respond”.

Zelenskiy giving a televised address
‘Look out for one another’: Zelenskiy. Photograph: Ukrainian presidential press service/AFP/Getty Images

Russian strikes on infrastructure more infrequent due to missiles shortage – UK MoD

Russia is probably limiting its missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure because of its limited supply of cruise missiles, the UK’s Ministry of Defence says.

In its latest intelligence update, the ministry said Russia had increased its forces in Ukraine with tens of thousands of reservists since October, easing personnel shortages, but that “a shortage of munitions highly likely remains the key limiting factor on Russian offensive operations”.

It said that just sustaining defensive operations along Russia’s lengthy front line required a significant daily expenditure of shells and rockets.

Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to around once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles.

Similarly, Russia is unlikely to have increased its stockpile of artillery munitions enough to enable large-scale offensive operations.

Ukrainian emergency workers clear rubble at a building destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, central Ukraine, last week
Ukrainian emergency workers clear rubble at a building destroyed in a Russian missile attack in Kryvyi Rih, central Ukraine, last week. Photograph: Evgeniy Maloletka/AP

US urges Putin to ‘acknowledge reality’ after ‘war’ reference

The United States has called on Vladimir Putin to acknowledge reality and withdraw troops from Ukraine after the Russian president finally called the conflict a “war”.

Agence France-Presse reported that since Putin ordered the invasion in February, Russia has officially spoken of a “special military operation” and imposed a law that criminalises what authorities call misleading terminology.

But at a news conference on Thursday, Putin used the word “war” as he said that he hoped to end it as soon as possible.

A State Department spokesperson said on Friday:

Since February 24, the United States and rest of the world knew that Putin’s ‘special military operation’ was an unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine. Finally, after 300 days, Putin called the war what it is.

As a next step in acknowledging reality, we urge him to end this war by withdrawing his forces from Ukraine.

The State Department said that, whatever Putin’s terminology, “Russia’s aggression against its sovereign neighbour has resulted in death, destruction and displacement”.

The people of Ukraine no doubt find little consolation in Putin stating the obvious, nor do the tens of thousands of Russian families whose relatives have been killed fighting Putin’s war.

A Russian court earlier this month sentenced an opposition politician, Ilya Yashin, to eight-and-a-half years in prison under the new law over his “false information” about the war.

Yashin had spoken of a “massacre” in Bucha, the town near Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv where the bullet-ridden bodies of Ukrainians in civilian clothes with hands tied behind their backs were discovered after Russian forces retreated.

An opposition legislator critical of the invasion, Nikita Yuferev, on Friday said he was seeking legal action against Putin for spreading “fake news” over his “war” reference.

Ilya Yashin in court earlier this month
Ilya Yashin in court earlier this month. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Opening summary

Hello and welcome back to the Guardian’s ongoing live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. It’s 9am in Kyiv. Here’s a snapshot of the latest developments on this Saturday 24 December 2022.

  • Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s defence industry chiefs ensure its army gets all the weapons, equipment and military hardware it needs “in the shortest possible timeframes” to fight in Ukraine. The Russian president also called for their proposals on “addressing the problems that are inevitable” and how to “make sure there are fewer of them”. Putin’s comments in the city of Tula, a centre for Russian arms manufacturing, came just days after he pledged to give his army anything it asked for in a meeting with Russia’s top military officials.

  • Russian forces have been demolishing a theatre in occupied Mariupol in southern Ukraine that was the site of a deadly airstrike believed to have killed hundreds of civilians, according to an aide to the city’s exiled Ukrainian mayor. Ukraine’s culture minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, said the move was an “attempt to hide forever the evidence of the deliberate killing of Ukrainians by Russians”. Video posted on Ukrainian and Russian websites on Friday showed heavy equipment taking down much of the building. An Amnesty International investigation concluded the Russian attack was a war crime.

  • Iran is seeking to expand the supply of advanced weapons to Russia, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency has said, according to local media. The warning from David Barnea comes after the US this month expressed alarm over a “full-scale defence partnership” between Tehran and Moscow.

  • Russian forces shelled the recently liberated Kherson region 61 times on Thursday, killing one person and injuring two, said the head of the eastern Ukrainian region’s military administration, Yaroslav Yanushevych. About half the strikes hit Kherson city, striking residential blocks, educational institutions and private houses, he said, while a kindergarten was also affected. Two civilians were killed in shelling of the city on Friday morning, according to the regional prosecutor’s office.

  • Two people were injured after a car bomb exploded in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in south-eastern Ukraine, according to a local pro-Moscow official. Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-appointed official in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia province, described the incident as a “terrorist attack” carried out by “militants of the Kyiv regime” to Russian state media. Ivan Fedorov, the exiled mayor of Melitopol, wrote on Telegram that witnesses said a car was “blown up”.

  • Germany’s vice-chancellor, Robert Habeck, has described the discovery of a German intelligence official suspected of working for Russia as “alarming”, amid fears the offical had access to sensitive information from western allies. The man, an employee of the BND foreign intelligence agency identified as Carsten L, was arrested on suspicion of treason for allegedly passing state secrets to Russia, German prosecutors said.

  • Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, warned the risk of a clash between the US and Russia was “high” and compared US-Russia relations to an “ice age” in comments reported by Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency. The Kremlin accused the US of fighting a proxy war against Russia.

  • The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has posted a video saying he is back at work in Kyiv after his landmark visit to Washington this week. “I am in my office – we are working toward victory,” he said in the video, posted to his Telegram channel on Friday.

  • Zelenskiy’s visit to the White House confirmed that Ukraine and the US are “strategic partners” for the first time in history, the Ukrainian leader’s most senior adviser has said. Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainan president’s office, told the Guardian the trip had cemented Zelenskiy’s bond with the US president, Joe Biden, and senior US Republicans.

  • The top Russian-installed official in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region said shelling of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had “almost stopped”. Speaking on Russian state television, governor Yevgeny Balitsky said on Friday that Russian troops would not leave the nuclear plant – Europe’s largest – and it would never return to Ukrainian control.

  • Ukraine estimates its grain harvest fell by about 40% year-on-year due to the Russian invasion, a representative for the country’s industry told Agence France-Presse. “We expect a grain harvest of 65-66 million tonnes” by the end of the year, the head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, Sergiy Ivashchenko, said on Friday, after a record harvest of 106m tonnes last year. “The main reason is the war,” which immediately led to fuel shortages and hindered sowing, he said.

  • Ukraine plans to open new embassies in 10 African countries, Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced, with the aim of increasing Kyiv’s presence in Africa and strengthening trade ties. There were also plans to develop a “Ukraine-Africa trade house” with offices in the capitals of “the most promising countries” on the African continent, he added.




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