The Russian President, Vladimir Putinsaid that the situation in four areas of Ukraine that Moscow has declared part of Russia “extremely difficult” and ordered security services to step up vigilance to secure its borders and combat new threats.
The comments of putin in it Security Services Daya date celebrated across Russia, came as kyiv renewed its calls for more weapons after Russian drones hit energy targets and as fears grow that Moscow’s ally Belarus could open a new invasion front against Ukraine.
SIGHT: Putin calls for closer military ties with Belarus after attack on kyiv
Putin ordered the Federal Security Services (FSB, for its acronym in Russian) to intensify surveillance of Russian society and the country’s borders to combat the “emergence of new threats” from abroad and traitors from within.
putinin an unusual recognition that the invasion of Ukraine it has not gone smoothly, warned of the difficult situation in the Ukrainian regions that Moscow decided to annex in September and ordered the FSB to ensure the “safety” of the people living there.
SIGHT: War in Ukraine: Russian “kamikaze” drones reach kyiv and cause new blackouts
The situation in the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luganskin the regions of Kherson Y Zaporizhzhya It’s extremely difficult,” he said. putin late on Monday in comments translated by Reuters.
In September, a defiant Putin proceeded to annex a swath of Ukraine — about 15% of the country — in a Kremlin ceremony, but earlier this month he said war “may be a long process.”
SIGHT: Russian military units will carry out “tactical exercises” in Belarus
Putin’s move to annex the areas was condemned by kyiv and its Western allies as illegal.
Putin made his first visit to Belarus on Monday since 2019, where he and his counterpart hailed ever-closer ties at a late-afternoon news conference but barely mentioned Ukraine.
kyiv, meanwhile, was looking to the West for more weapons after Russian “kamikaze” drones struck energy targets early Monday.
“Weapons, shells, new defense capabilities, (…) everything that allows us to speed up the end of this war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening speech.
Ukraine’s military high command said its air defenses had shot down 23 of 28 drones — most over the capital Kiev — in the third Moscow-ordered airstrike in six days. Russia has attacked the Ukrainian power grid, causing blackouts against a backdrop of freezing temperatures.
The “kamikaze” drones used in the attacks are cheaply produced disposable drones that fly towards their target before plummeting at high speed and detonating on impact.
ACTIVITY IN BELARUS
Northwestern Ukraine, there has been constant Russian and Belarusian military activity for months in Belarus, a close Kremlin ally that soldiers in Moscow used as a launching pad for their foiled attack on kyiv in February.
Putin’s trip to Minsk has raised fears in Ukraine about further involvement of the Belarusian armed forces in the invasion. Putin and Lukashenko barely mentioned Ukraine in the post-meeting press conference, extolling the benefits of defense and economic alignment.
Lukashenko has repeated on several occasions that he has no intention of sending his country’s soldiers to Ukraine, where the invasion of Moscow failed miserably with a series of withdrawals from the battlefield in the face of a major counteroffensive.
The Kremlin on Monday rejected suggestions that Putin wanted to push Belarus into a more active role. The RIA Novosti news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov as saying such reports were “baseless” and “stupid.”
Both Putin and Lukashenko took pains to dismiss the idea of Russia annexing or absorbing Belarus.
“Russia has no interest in absorbing anyone,” Putin declared.
Asked about this comment, the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, said that it should be treated as the “height of irony”, since “it came from a leader who intends at this moment, right now, to violently absorb” his peaceful next door neighbor (Ukraine).
THE FIGHTING ESCALATES
The conflict in Ukraine, which is close to 10 months old and the biggest in Europe since World War II, has left tens of thousands dead, driven millions from their homes and reduced cities to ruins.
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian artillery shelled 25 towns and villages around Bakhmut and Avdivka in the east, and several areas around Kupiansk, a northeastern city recaptured by Ukraine in September.
He also claimed that Ukrainian artillery and air forces carried out more than a dozen attacks on Russian soldiers and materiel, including ammunition depots, and shot down two helicopters.
Alexei Kulemzin, the Russian mayor of the city of Donetsk, said Ukrainian shelling hit a wing of the hospital, along with a kindergarten, posting on the Telegraph a photo of what appeared to be a waiting room with vandalized furniture and fixtures.
Reuters was unable to independently verify both sides’ accounts of the battlefield.
Russia claims it is conducting its “special military operation”—as the Kremlin calls it—in Ukraine to rid it of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and the West describe the Kremlin’s actions as unprovoked war of aggression.
I am Jack Morton and I work in 24 News Recorder. I mostly cover world news and I have also authored 24 news recorder. I find this work highly interesting and it allows me to keep up with current events happening around the world.