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Zelenskiy asks Ukrainians to prepare for the onslaught of Russian winter


Nov 12 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned Ukrainians on Sunday to prepare for new waves of Russian attacks on infrastructure as winter approaches and said troops were anticipating an attack on the theater of war in the East.

A military spokesman said Russian attacks on the destroyed eastern town of Avdiivka had eased over the past day, but were likely to intensify in the coming days. come.

And Ukrainian military intelligence said an explosion killed at least three Russian servicemen in the Russian-occupied southern town of Melitopol, which it called an “act of revenge” by resistance groups.

Zelenskiy issued his warning during his nightly video address, a day after Russian forces carried out their first missile attack on the capital, kyiv, in about seven weeks.

“We are almost halfway through November and must prepare for the fact that the enemy may increase the number of drone or missile strikes on our infrastructure,” Zelenskiy said. “Russia is preparing to confront Ukraine. And here in Ukraine, all attention must be focused on defense, on responding to terrorists and on everything that Ukraine can do to get through the winter and improve the capabilities of our soldiers.”

Last winter, about ten months after Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, Russia launched waves of attacks on power plants and other plants linked to the energy grid, causing blackouts repeated in regions very distant from each other.

Energy Minister German Galushchenko said on Saturday that Ukraine would have enough energy resources to get through the winter, but added: “The question is how future attacks could affect supplies.” .

Ukrainian officials said late Wednesday that Russia had struck Ukrainian infrastructure 60 times in recent weeks, indicating a campaign of attacks may already be underway.

In his speech, Zelenskiy praised the “heroic” efforts of the troops defending Avdiivka, under pressure from Russian advance attempts since mid-October. Images show city buildings reduced to shells.

Military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said the number of infantry attacks in the past 24 hours was half that of earlier this week, but airstrikes were increasing.

“The enemy suffered significant losses the day before yesterday and needs to regroup,” Shtoupun said on national television.

The head of Ukraine’s ground forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said on Telegram that Moscow’s forces were “more active in the Bakhmut sector and trying to recover lost positions.”

Bakhmut, north of the city of Donetsk, was captured by Russian forces in May after months of fierce fighting, but Ukrainian troops have since recaptured nearby villages.

Russian accounts of Sunday’s fighting say their forces repelled five Ukrainian attacks near Bakhmut.

Reuters was unable to verify the accounts of both parties.

In Melitopol, the hub of Russian occupying forces, the explosion killed three men during a meeting at a post office used as a military headquarters, Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate said. The dead were officers of the Russian National Guard or FSB intelligence services, the leadership said in a statement.

There was no comment from Russian officials.

The Ukrainian army is increasingly actively attacking areas under Russian control, but does not always recognize these strikes.

Reporting by Ron Popeski and Maria Starkova; edited by Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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