Zelensky near the front, new drone strike on a Russian base

Steph Deschamps / December 7, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went on Tuesday near the frontline, not far from Bakhmut, the main battlefield in eastern Ukraine where the Ukrainian army has been resisting a Russian offensive for months.
This trip also comes at a time when Russia accuses its neighbor of multiplying drone attacks against airfields on its territory, which Washington has however declared 'not to encourage'.
Kiev does not claim responsibility for these strikes, but they illustrate the difficulties encountered by the invasion launched on 24 February by Vladimir Putin.
"We do not allow Ukraine to organize strikes beyond its borders, we do not encourage Ukraine to launch strikes beyond its borders," assured to the press in Washington, the spokesman for the U.S. diplomacy Ned Price. Everything we do, everything the world does to support Ukraine, is in support of Ukraine's independence’.
The Ukrainians continue to suffer power cuts, the day after a new series of bombings on the energy infrastructure of their country.
These attacks cause 'a new level of humanitarian needs' for the population, the head of the UN humanitarian agency said in New York.
Since October, the prolonged attacks on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine have created a new level of need that affects the entire country and aggravates the needs caused by the war," said Martin Griffiths before the UN Security Council. 
For his part, President Volodymyr Zelensky released three videos of himself in the Donbass, a region that Moscow claimed as its annexation in September, but does not fully control.
Eastern Ukraine is the most difficult axis (of the front),' Zelensky told servicemen on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day. Thank you for your resilience," he added, before handing out decorations.
Nearby, in the pro-Russian stronghold of Donetsk, six civilians were killed in Ukrainian strikes, according to local authorities.
Volodymyr Zelensky regularly visits the frontline, something that the Kremlin master has never done so far, preferring video-conferences from his office or his residence.
Vladimir Putin has only made rare trips, such as to annexed Crimea on Monday, where images showed him driving a vehicle over the bridge linking this peninsula to Russia, which had been partially destroyed in early October by an attack attributed by Moscow to Kiev.
The Ukrainian president was only 45 kilometers from Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying to conquer since the summer at the cost of considerable destruction, without succeeding for the moment.
Moscow has deployed not only soldiers, but also the paramilitary group Wagner, which has recruited criminals.
The capture of Bakhmut would finally constitute a success for the Russians, who have been suffering setbacks since the autumn, forced to retreat to the north-east and the south.
Faced with the multiplication of these defeats, the Kremlin has decided, since October, to concentrate its attacks on Ukrainian energy installations, depriving the population of electricity, and even of water and heating, at a time when winter is arriving with its negative temperatures.
Again on Tuesday, the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Choigou, explained these 'massive strikes' by the need to 'reduce the military potential of Ukraine'.
While the Kremlin keeps swearing that it will overcome the Ukrainian resistance, the last few months have proven to be very difficult for the Russian military, faced with Ukrainians motivated and armed by their Western allies.
Moscow has also denounced Ukrainian attacks on military airfields over the past two days, including two targeted on Monday, which are located several hundred kilometers from the border. Kiev has not officially admitted any responsibility in these actions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called them a 'dangerous factor', adding, without giving details, that 'necessary measures will be taken'.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant writes that Ukraine used Soviet TU-141 drones to strike, in particular, on Monday, the base of Engels, housing strategic bombers and located 500 km from the nearest Ukrainian border.
The British Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that if Kiev had been able to carry out such an operation, Moscow must consider it as 'the most significant strategic failure to protect its forces since the invasion of Ukraine'.
In addition, on Tuesday morning, another drone attack, this time in the area of the Kursk airfield, near the Ukrainian border, set fire to a fuel tank.
Finally, Kiev and Moscow proceeded to a new exchange of prisoners, announced the Russian Ministry of Defense, noting in a statement that '60 Russian servicemen' had been released on Tuesday.
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