Attacks Continue While Putin Visits Belarus


Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin after their talks Monday. | Image by Getty Images

Russian attacks destroyed parts of Kyiv Monday morning as the Ukrainian capital’s electric grid continued to struggle during winter conditions after continued bombardments.

Russian forces struck Ukrainian military and equipment in 139 locations, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian News Agency TASS. He said 56 enemy artillery units were also destroyed on Monday.

“In the airspace of the Belgorod Region, four American HARM anti-radar missiles were shot down,” he said, according to TASS. Konashenkov also claimed Russia had shot down eight Ukrainian drones and six HIMARS and Uragan rockets.

The Kremlin said tactical aircraft hit a Ukrainian Special Forces temporary deployment site and took out two Ukrainian-aligned groups in the region of the Donetsk People’s Republic on Monday, as well as four Ukrainian-aligned groups in the Luhansk People’s Republic.

These latest Russian strikes included Iranian Shahed drone attacks, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced on Monday.

At least twenty drones reportedly targeted hospitals and heating sources, attacking regions across Ukraine, the spokesman said. Russia reportedly used 28 drones in Monday’s assault, of which Ukraine’s defense forces shot down 23.

These shellings come just days after one of the most significant missile attacks on the capital city last week.

On Telegram on Monday, Vitaliy Klitschko, Kyiv’s mayor, said workers are attempting to repair crucial infrastructure and restore heat in Kyiv. One of the key targets, a critical substation for energy and heat supplies, was also targeted last week, according to the mayor.

“Power engineers and thermal workers work around the clock,” he said (original message in Ukrainian, translated via Google Translate).

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the earlier attack on Ukraine affected more than 20 million people as major cities were left without electricity.

“In general, on the evening of December 16,” he said, “22,408,000 Ukrainians were disconnected from the energy supply.” Specifically, “more than 10 million people had their water and heat supplies cut off. Imagine the scale of this terror.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Monday with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, according to Putin’s office. It was Putin’s first visit to Belarus since 2019. Lukashenko reported the two leaders would discuss the region’s “military-political situation” and economic cooperation.

After his meeting with Lukashenko, Putin said Russia would continue to train crews for Belarusian Air Force planes refurbished for nuclear payload ammunition, TASS reported.

Putin noted that “this kind of cooperation is not [Russia’s] invention.”

“The U.S., for example, has been carrying out similar measures with their NATO allies for decades,” he continued.

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