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Putin ‘becoming more informed’ about challenges, US intelligence chief says

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on November 29. (Sergei Guneyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russia’s war in Ukraine has now entered its 10th month, and as the weather dips below freezing, the invasion is entering a new phase. According to the head of US intelligence, the war is taking place at a “reduced pace”. Meanwhile, a Kremlin official has defended Russia’s repeated strikes against Ukraine’s crucial energy facilities, which the civilian population needs to stay warm this winter. Here are the latest developments.

Putin more ‘informed’ of military difficulties, says intelligence chief

The US director of national intelligence said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had become “better informed” about the challenges facing the military. Speaking at a defense forum, Avril Haines said the Kremlin chief was no longer immune to negative information about Russia’s position in the war. Haines also said the conflict appeared to be running at a “reduced tempo” as both sides restocked for a possible counteroffensive in the spring.

Kremlin defends infrastructure strikes

The silhouette of a person sitting in a tent.

A local resident whose home was destroyed sits in a tent for warmth in Borodyanka, near Kyiv, on Sunday. (Dimitar Dilkov/AFP via Getty Images)

Sergei Lavrov, the Kremlin’s foreign minister, defended Russia’s ongoing attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, saying they were legitimate targets. “This infrastructure supports the combat capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Nationalist Battalions,” Lavrov said Thursday in a video call with reporters. Removing the energy facilities, he said, would in turn reduce the number of Russian casualties, because such infrastructure “allows you to continue injecting deadly weapons into Ukraine.”

Macron talks about peace talks

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference with President Biden.

French President Emmanuel Macron during a press conference with President Biden at the White House on December 1. (Susan Walsh/AP)

During a state visit to the United States, French President Emmanuel Macron said the West should heed Russia’s need for security guarantees if peace talks were to resume. Speaking in an interview with French media on Saturday, Macron said Europe should prepare a “dialogue” for Russian and Ukrainian officials to “come back to the table”.

“One of the main points that we have to address, as President Putin has always said, is the fear of NATO coming to his doorstep and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia,” Macron said. He added that preparation must be done so that Europe knows “what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states”.

Russia lost 60 aircraft, probably Ukrainian “air defense”

The wreckage of a downed Russian plane in a field.

The wreckage of a Russian plane in a field near the town of Izium, in the Kharkiv region, on September 30. (Vladyslav Musiienko/Reuters)

Britain’s Ministry of Defense revealed on Monday that Russia has lost more than 60 fixed-wing aircraft in the invasion so far. At the start of the war, Russia was flying up to 300 missions a day, but it is now “flying far” fewer missions a day. “The decrease in sorties is likely the result of the continued high threat from Ukrainian air defences, limitations on flight hours available to Russian aircraft and deteriorating weather conditions,” he added. tweeted the Department of Defense. “With Russia’s ground attack tactics relying heavily on visual identification and unguided munitions, the Russian Air Force is likely to continue a low rate of ground attack operations despite poor wintry weather.”

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