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Don't expect Santa to come to the Ukraine this winter?

The idea that Ukraine will rapidly install a missile defense system to keep its electrical grid from being continually pummeled is far-fetched. It's going to be a very difficult winter as Vlad curtails EU energy sales, pounds the nation from the air, and attacks with fresh troops.


It's time to give Putin the Donbas and negotiate and end to the conflict else it's going to get worse?


Drones Strike Ukraine as Kyiv Scrambles to Restore Power and Heating

A new wave of Russian attacks using Iranian-made drones comes as Kyiv says it has restored power to six million people


By Matthew Luxmoore, WSJ

Updated Dec. 19, 2022 6:39 pm ET


Russia launched a fresh wave of drone attacks against Ukraine on Monday as the country struggled to repair energy infrastructure damaged by recent missile attacks that have left millions without power.


The Ukrainian Air Force said it destroyed 30 Iranian-made Shahed 136 drones launched by Russia overnight into Monday from the eastern coast of the Azov Sea. Authorities in Kyiv said 23 of the drones, which detonate upon impact, had been spotted in the skies over the Ukrainian capital in the morning, of which 18 were shot down. No number was given for the total number of drones used in Monday’s attack on Ukraine.


The head of Kyiv’s military administration, Serhiy Popko, said emergency workers were doing repair work on some infrastructure that was hit. Debris from drones shot down over the city also blew out the windows of one high-rise building in the city center and damaged the surface of a road, he said, though no injuries were reported.


The new wave of attacks came as Ukrainian authorities were touting the results of the latest repair effort to water and power infrastructure affected by a Russian missile barrage that had damaged nine power-generating facilities as well as electricity substations.


In his nightly television address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said power had been brought back online for six million people throughout the country. The mayor of Kyiv said that heating was fully restored to the capital, but that one-third of the city remained without electricity.


Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s electricity-transmission-system operator, said that, as of Monday morning, emergency power shutoffs continue in 10 regions of Ukraine and that repairs there could take some time. It didn’t specify the number of Ukrainians still living with daily blackouts.


Mr. Zelensky called on Ukraine’s allies to aid the country by providing air-defense systems to counter Russia’s attacks on civilian areas. Ukraine has a host of air-defense missile systems, including a medium-range Iris-T system and Gepard mobile air-defense tanks from Germany, which has pledged to deliver three more Iris-T systems next year.


Last month, the first National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, produced and delivered by the U.S., Norway and Spain, arrived in Ukraine, Kyiv said. The two NASAMS supplied were the longest-range systems provided so far.


Spain is sending four older U.S.-made Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, Ukraine says. U.S. officials last week said the U.S. is completing plans to give Kyiv its coveted Patriot missile-defense systems, the most sophisticated system the U.S. has provided Ukraine since the war began in February.


“By helping us to fully defend our sky, by giving us modern air-defense systems more quickly and in sufficient amounts, you can deprive the terrorist state of its main instrument of terror,” he said. “This will be one of the most powerful steps to bring closer to an end to this aggression.”


In Ukraine’s south, Kherson continued to bear the brunt of Russia’s campaign of strikes against residential areas in the aftermath of its recapture by Ukrainian forces last month. The head of the surrounding Kherson region, Yaroslav Yanushevych, said on Monday that Russia had shelled the region 69 times in the previous 24 hours, wounding six people.


Authorities in Kherson city said the regional administration building was struck on Monday for the third time in recent weeks.


As Russia continues its attacks on energy infrastructure with the aim of sapping Ukrainians’ morale while temperatures continue to drop, fierce fighting continues in the eastern city of Bakhmut. The city has become the main battlefield in the war, as Russia seeks a symbolic prize after months without significant military victories.


“Bakhmut is the hottest spot on the entire frontline—more than 1300 kilometers of active hostilities,” Mr. Zelensky said in his Monday night address. “Since May, the occupiers have been trying to break our Bakhmut, but time goes by and Bakhmut is already breaking not only the Russian army, but also the Russian mercenaries who came to replace the wasted army of the occupiers.”


Russia is mounting offensives there using regular troops and members of the Wagner Group mercenary company, which has recruited actively among inmates of Russian prisons and promised them an annulment or reduction of their prison terms in return for at least six months’ service in Ukraine.


On Monday, the U.K.’s Defense Ministry said Russia’s approach to Wagner operatives, which includes threats of summary execution for those who deviate from preplanned assault routes, suggests that poorly trained convicts among them are largely viewed as expendable.


Russians living on territory close to the border of Ukraine are also increasingly being affected by the fighting. After a rocket strike on Sunday killed at least one person in Russia’s Belgorod region near Ukraine, according to local officials, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said 14,000 residents have been left without electricity in the regional capital.


Russia on Monday said it would hold joint naval drills with China starting Wednesday and running through Dec. 27, in a move that highlights the close partnership between the two nations as the Kremlin seeks to bolster support among allies for its war in Ukraine.


The announcement of the drills came the day Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in Minsk, amid warnings from some Ukrainian officials that Moscow could be preparing to open another front in Ukraine with another attack on Kyiv from the north.


Mr. Lukashenko has denied plans to deploy troops to Ukraine, but his military has held joint exercises with Russian troops in recent months. On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry television channel Zvezda posted a video of Russian troops training in Belarus, with motorized riflemen and artillery and mortar detachments doing combat exercises.


On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed as “stupid and unfounded” reports that Mr. Putin was traveling to Belarus to force Minsk to become more heavily involved in the war, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reported.


Write to Matthew Luxmoore at matthew.luxmoore@wsj.com

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