Ukraine Latest: More Than 60 Missiles Fired; Putin to Belarus

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(Bloomberg) — Kremlin forces launched over 60 missiles at Ukraine, the first large-scale attack since Dec. 5, causing cuts to power and water supplies in at least two major centers. Explosions were also heard in at least three districts of Kyiv. A residential building was hit in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, the home town of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, with at least two deaths reported.

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The strikes come a day after a top Ukrainian army commander warned there’s “no doubt” Russian forces will attempt to seize Kyiv as soon as January after failing in the spring, potentially from a staging ground in Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Minsk on Monday for talks with his Belarusian counterpart.

The US on Thursday sanctioned Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest tycoon but left his company, mining giant MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, untouched as it tries to maintain stability in the metals market. The Pentagon confirmed plans to expand its training in Germany for Ukrainian forces.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • EU Nations Back Russia Sanctions on Drone Imports, Banks

  • Russian Missile Barrage Knocks Out Power to Ukrainian Cities

  • War in Ukraine Hinges on Who Gets More Rockets and Shells First

  • A Million Shells and More: Pentagon Revs Up Ukraine Weapons Aid

  • US Sanctions Russia’s Richest Tycoon, Nornickel Boss Potanin

  • Belarus Announces Putin to Make First Visit in Years to War Ally

On the Ground

Friday’s missile barrage appears to be the ninth by Russia since early October focused on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Russian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in the east, Ukraine’s General Staff said in its latest update. Russian troops shelled the Nikopol district in the central Dnipropetrovsk region overnight and parts of the Mykolaiv region in the morning, local authorities said. The city of Kherson was hit by artillery fire, with Russian shells hitting residential areas and killing a woman and a child and injuring two people, according to the local military administration.

(All times CET)

Power Cuts in Several Regions After Missile Strikes (10:30 a.m.)

Emergency power cuts are happening across Ukraine after missiles hit energy facilities in several regions, including Kyiv, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s staff, said on national television.

Temporary disruptions in water and heating supplies are anticipated, with several hours before services are restored, he said.

Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine, said on Twitter that the first shipment emergency repair equipment has already arrived after the latest strikes.

Latest Russian Barrage Was More Than 60 Missiles (10:18 a.m.)

Russia launched more than 60 missiles of different types early Friday from the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, including Kha-101, Kalibr, S-300 from on Ukraine, Air Defence spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said in a television interview.

Russia used Tupolev Tu-95 rocket carriers from the Engels air base for the first time in the almost 10-month old conflict, he said. The turboprop-powered bombers have been in service since the 1950s.

Ukrainian air defense worked well, Ihnat said, adding that the final outcomes are not yet clear. He called Friday’s barrage, Russia’s ninth major strike on infrastructure targets since early October, “a typical morning in the country in war” and said Ukraine needs more air defense systems.

Energy Minister Reports Damage in Ukraine’s East and South (9:24 a.m.)

Friday’s latest wave of Russian missile strikes damaged energy infrastructure in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions, said energy minister Herman Haluschenko.

Power generation has dropped in the affected areas, and “temporary power cuts are possible,” he said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and part of the surrounding region are without power from early-morning strikes and automatic cuts, the regional governor said. Local train operation has been halted. Power outages were also seen in Poltava and Kivorohrad, among others.

Putin to Visit Belarus For Talks With Lukashenko (8:23 a.m.)

Vladimir Putin will travel to Belarus on Monday in his first visit in more than three years to his ally in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Alexander Lukashenko will host Putin in Minsk for talks on security issues and “joint measures to respond to emerging challenges,” according to a statement on the Belarusian leader’s website Friday.

The visit comes as Russia recently moved thousands of additional troops into Belarus, and Ukrainian officials have warned of a possible new attack on Kyiv from the north.

Russia Launches Another Large Missile Attack (8 a.m.)

All Ukraine’s regions faced air-raid alarms early Friday as Russia launched another large-scale missile attack, local officials said. Dozens of missiles may have been launched, Vitaliy Kim, governor of Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region, said on Telegram. There were reports about air-defense working in several regions.

Three strikes were made on “crucial infrastructure” in the Kharkiv region, governor Oleh Synyehubov said on Telegram. Strikes were also reported in the Kryvyi Rih region in central Ukraine, including a three-story residential building, where two deaths and several injuries were reported. Explosions were heard in three districts of Kyiv.

Russia has pounded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and other civilian facilities for more than two months. leading to widespread blackouts and water outages for millions of people. The Kremlin air campaign has consisted of eight large-scale strikes so far, and Friday’s barrage appears to be a ninth.

EU States Back Russia Sanctions on Drone Imports, Banks (10:45 p.m.)

European Union member states reached a deal on a ninth package of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, targeting Moscow’s access to drones, additional banks as well as officials responsible for allegedly abducting children from Ukraine.

The measures were agreed by the bloc’s ambassadors Thursday evening and affect more than 100 individuals and dozens of entities, according to people familiar with the matter. The EU also agreed to ban direct exports of drone engines to Russia or third countries, such as Iran, which could then supply drones to Russia.

US to Expand Training in Germany for Ukraine Forces (9:28 p.m.)

The Pentagon’s spokesman confirmed that the US will significantly expand its training in Germany for Ukrainian forces.

About 500 Ukrainian troops would be trained a month, “basically at battalion level,” Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters.

The expanded instruction will include “joint maneuver” and “combined arms operations training,” he said. The US already has trained 3,100 Ukrainian troops, according to the Associated Press.

US Sanctions Potanin, Russia’s Richest Tycoon (4:31 p.m.)

The U.S. sanctioned Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest tycoon and the president and biggest shareholder of mining giant MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC, but left his company untouched as it tries to maintain stability in the metals market.

The action was part of a broader sanctions package the Treasury Department rolled out, targeting some 40 people linked to Russia’s government.

Read the full story.

Ukrainian Army Chief Says Russia May Attempt to Take Kyiv Again (4:26 p.m.)

There is “no doubt” Russia will make another attempt to capture Ukraine’s capital after being repelled soon after its Feb. 24 invasion, Ukraine’s army commander-in-chief told The Economist.

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi told the magazine that the Kremlin is accumulating resources for another attack, which may start from the Donbas in the east, Belarus to the north, or from the south.

Ukraine needs help from its partners in the form of 300 tanks, 600 to 700 infantry fighting vehicles and 500 Howitzers to be able to restore the borders as they were before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, he said.

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