War in Ukraine, day 685 | Russia wants to do everything to stop Ukrainian strikes on Belgorod

(Moscow) The Kremlin vowed on Tuesday that it wanted to do “everything” to stop Ukrainian strikes on Belgorod, a Russian city that has become the target of numerous attacks by Kyiv in the wake of the resumption of massive bombings in Ukraine by Moscow.

Commenting on military operations in its Ukrainian neighbor, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assured him that his army had “the initiative” on the front, despite the absence of major gains.

At the end of a week-long holiday to mark the New Year and Orthodox Christmas, the Kremlin’s response to the increase in Ukrainian attacks targeting Belgorod and its region in recent days was expected.

“Our army will continue to do everything in its power to first minimize the danger and then completely eliminate it,” promised Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

He also accused Kyiv of deliberately targeting “civilians” on Russian soil using military equipment supplied by the West.

These comments come after ten days marked in Russia by the multiplication of Ukrainian attacks targeting Belgorod, a town of 335,000 inhabitants located less than 40 km from the border with Ukraine.

The day after a massive bombing of Ukraine on December 29 which left dozens dead, the city of Belgorod was the target of a strike killing 25 people, the deadliest Ukrainian attack against civilians on the Russian soil since February 24, 2022.

In retaliation, Vladimir Putin said he wanted to “intensify” the strikes against Ukraine, his army continuing its massive bombings on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, like on January 2 and 8.

” Initiative ”

But a sign that concern is growing in Belgorod, “around 300” people have already evacuated the town according to the regional authorities, who have also postponed the start of the school year by ten days, to January 19. As for the municipality, it called on residents last week, for the first time, to secure their windows to prevent further attacks.

However, two months before the presidential election which should see Vladimir Putin returned to power at least until 2030, the Kremlin wants to do everything to continue to give the image that the conflict with Ukraine does not directly affect daily life and the security of Russians.

In the same vein, Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Minister of Defense, assured Tuesday as usual that his army inflicted heavy losses on the Ukrainian forces and that it was in a better position than its adversary, despite a largely frozen front. since fall 2022, after a series of Russian retreats.

The Russian army, however, foiled the major Ukrainian counter-offensive in the summer of 2023, which the Kremlin presents, almost two years after the start of the invasion, as a victory.

“We retain the strategic initiative across the entire front line,” Shoigu said during a meeting with senior army officers.

Since the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the tone has been much more optimistic in Moscow, despite significant losses on the ground, estimated by the United States at 315,000 soldiers wounded or killed, in almost two years.

The Russian army returned to the offensive in the fall of 2023, particularly around Avdiïvka in the Donetsk region. But the advances there have been minor and Kyiv claims to inflict significant losses on Russian forces.

For its part, Ukraine must face a debate within its society on a possible mobilization of hundreds of thousands of men to come and reinforce its lines and replace the dead and exhausted veterans after almost two years of a high-intensity conflict.

Not to mention that Kyiv, which is increasingly demanding more anti-aircraft defense systems to counter Russian attacks, is loudly worried about the erosion of Western support, against a backdrop of political dissension within the European Union and the United States. United.

Finally, the Ukrainian authorities announced on Tuesday the death of a new person after Russian strikes overnight from Sunday to Monday, bringing to five the number of civilians killed in this new wave of massive bombings.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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