Clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces near the southern city of Kherson over the next two to three weeks could determine control of the only regional capital Russia has taken since its invasion began in February, according to a defense official.
Elsewhere, battle lines appear to have stabilized in the north near Kharkiv and in central Ukraine as winter approaches, according to the official who told reporters on condition of anonymity. Both sides continue to fire huge amounts of artillery shells, the official said. The Russians fire some 20,000 shells a day, while the Ukraine fires back with up to 7,000.
Ukraine will continue to demand that US and Western allies continue to supply it with artillery guns and ammunition, the official said.
The Russians have been unable to destroy any of the 20 or so immensely useful rocket-assisted artillery systems known as HIMARS. The Pentagon and other allies began supplying Ukraine with truck-mounted weapons over the summer. The Ukrainians have used the artillery system, which can hit targets more than 40 miles away with precision, to destroy supply depots and command posts.
►Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on claims by Russian-installed officials in occupied Donetsk that Ukrainian forces shelled the regional capital with HIMARS rocket launchers on Monday.
►Ukraine’s presidential office said Russian attacks in the Zaporizhzhia region targeted a cultural center, farmers’ warehouses and private residences. Three people died and seven were injured.
The White House and the Kremlin have reportedly held talks aimed at easing tensions.
A senior official in the Biden administration has held secret talks with influential advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to ease rising tensions between Washington and Moscow. Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Journal, citing US officials and authorities in other Western nations, said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan tried to derail the escalation of the war amid concerns that Russia could resort to nuclear weapons if they continue their fights on the battlefield using conventional warfare, according to the Journal. .
Sullivan has reportedly had an unknown number of conversations with Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, and Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Russian leader’s security council.
The Kremlin has backed off its nuclear rhetoric in recent days. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, in its most recent assessment said Putin’s alarming nuclear references last month “failed to generate the degree of fear within the Ukrainian government” that he likely intended. the Kremlin.
“Key Kremlin officials began to collectively reduce their rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons in early November,” after Putin said that Russian leaders have never discussed the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Warren Buffett’s son meets Zelenskyy in Kyiv
Howard Buffett, son of iconic billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. Zelenskyy, in a Telegram post, said he thanked Buffett for supporting a “kitchen factory” project started by Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska to provide hot meals in schools. The possibility of Buffett’s participation in the Fund for the Reconstruction of Ukraine was also considered, Zelenskyy said. He also presented Buffett with the Order of Yaroslav the Wise “for his support of the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and his contributions to rallying support for Ukrainians around the world.
Britain says Russia is losing planes faster than it can replace them
Russia seems to be lose planes and helicopters faster than you can build themsaid the British Ministry of Defense in its most recent assessment of the war. The assessment cites a claim by Ukraine that Russia had lost around 278 aircraft during the war, more than double the number lost in the decade-long Soviet-Afghan war, although the assessment notes that British authorities cannot verify the numbers. independently.
The time required to train pilots further reduces Russia’s ability to regenerate combat air capability, the assessment says, adding that both situations are unlikely to change in the coming months.
“Russia’s continued lack of air superiority is likely to be exacerbated by poor training, loss of experienced aircrews, and the increased risks of conducting close air support in dense air defense zones,” the assessment says.
4.5 million Ukrainians have no electricity, millions more face rolling blackouts
More than 4.5 million people in Ukraine are without power and millions more face blackouts this week as the war-torn nation scrambles to repair an energy infrastructure that is being hit relentlessly by Russian missile and drone strikes. Rolling blackouts in Kyiv, a city of 3 million now facing some of Ukraine’s most severe energy challenges, will begin at 6 am Low temperatures in Kyiv are forecast to rise. dive below zero next week.
Intentional cuts are also underway in the Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava regions, the state-owned regions. Ukrenergo said on Monday. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned the Ukrainians don’t expect russian attacks on energy to subside.
“The terrorist state is concentrating forces and means for a possible repetition of massive attacks on our infrastructure,” Zelenskyy said in a speech to his nation. “First of all, the energy.”
Contributing: The Associated Press