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Russia bombs Kherson, killing 5 as Zelensky warns more strikes could march Christmas

Russia’s war in Ukraine is now being fought in two largely separate arenas: ground battles in the south and east, and a competition between Ukrainian air defense systems and Russian cruise missiles and drones targeting electrical infrastructure. Military analysts say the infrastructure targeting campaign aims to demoralize Ukrainians and push their government into a ceasefire that could buy Russia time to regroup and rearm for future offensives.

Since October, Russia has fired volleys of missiles and drones at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure at intervals of about a week to 10 days, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence chief. Most volleys have included around 75 missiles.

That pace is likely set based on Russia’s arms supply, Britain’s defense intelligence agency said on Saturday.

“Russia has likely limited its long-range missile strikes against Ukrainian infrastructure to about once a week due to the limited availability of cruise missiles,” the agency said in its daily update. “Similarly, it is unlikely that Russia has increased its stockpile of artillery ammunition enough to allow for large-scale offensive operations.”

For weeks, Ukrainian officials have expressed concern that Russian forces could use neighboring Belarus as a launching pad for a new ground offensive, with Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, a potential target.

But the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency said in an interview with The New York Times on Friday that while the possibility could not be entirely ruled out, a recent flurry of Russian military activity in Belarus was an attempt by Moscow to incite Ukraine to divert soldiers. of the active front line in the south-east of the country.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, also said in its latest report that there was no evidence that Russia was preparing a strike force in Belarus, and that a new invasion of the country was “unlikely” this winter. .

Russian forces have ‘much more clearly established the conditions for an offensive’ in the northwestern part of the Luhansk region, the institute said, citing increased transport of Russian military equipment and personnel to the region .

Andrew E. Kramer contributed report.

nytimes Gt

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