As Russian attacks continue in the south and east of the country, Ukraine foresees that Vladimir Putin will try again to conquer kyiv in the first months of 2023.
“A very important strategic task for us is to create reserves and prepare for war, which can happen in February or March and in the worst case at the end of January,” said the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zalujny, in an interview with the British weekly The Economist.
“I have no doubt that they will try again to take kyiv”he added.
The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army stated in the interview that he had already “done all the calculations: how many tanks, how many artillery we need” to repel this offensive.
At the end of February, Vladimir Putin’s troops launched the invasion of Ukraine, aiming at the rapid capture of kyiv by his forces launched especially from Belarus to the north.
Russian forces were within tens of kilometers of the Ukrainian capital, before completely withdrawing from the region in late March and early April, a victory for the Ukrainian army.
For Zalujny, another current “problem” for his army is “maintaining the current front line”which extends from the south to the east, “and no longer lose ground”, after having driven the Russians out of the Kharkiv region (northeast) in September and from Kherson in early November (south).
According to the head of the Ukrainian army, the Russians have been bombarding the country’s energy infrastructure since October after a series of humiliating setbacks, as they “need time” to “gather their human and military resources” with the aim of carrying out a new major offensive in the coming months.
Kherson, the large city in southern Ukraine recently recaptured by kyiv, was shelled again on Thursday by Russian forces, in an attack that killed two and left it without electricity in the dead of winter.
“The enemy again attacked the center of the city, 100 meters from the regional administration” bombed the day before, said the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenkoon Telegram.
The bombardment caused “two deaths”, he added.
Soon after, the regional governor, Yaroslav Yanushevychreported that an “intense shelling” against essential infrastructure left Kherson “totally without power.”
Here, as in other parts of Ukraine, Russia has launched missiles and drones against energy infrastructure since October. Millions of Ukrainians now have only a few hours of electricity a day, with heating and water cuts, amid freezing temperatures.
Liberated by the Ukrainian army a month ago, the city of Kherson has been the target of almost daily Russian shelling ever since.
“We have injuries practically every day, and deaths practically every day. And this situation will continue to last”, confirmed a regional official, Yuri Sobolevskyquoted on Thursday by public television I suspilné.
At the international level, the UN announced that it had registered hundreds of summary executions of civilians during the first months of the Russian invasion, which points to possible “war crimes”.
A UN commission of inquiry recorded 441 summary executions and deaths in three regions of Ukraine – Kiev, Chernigov and Sumi – during its occupation between late February and early April, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported. Volker Turk.
“The real figures are likely to be considerably higher”he pointed.
The European Parliament recognized this Thursday that the Stalinist famine that caused millions of deaths in Ukraine in the 1930s was a “genocide”. Moscow rejects that this tragedy be described in this way.
(With information from AFP)