Russian troops and mercenaries have rained artillery down on the last access routes to the besieged Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, bringing Moscow closer to its first victory in half a year after the bloodiest fighting of the war. The head of the Wagner Group, a private Russian army, said on Friday that the eastern salt-mining city, which has been blasted to ruins, was now almost completely surrounded with only one road still open for Ukraine's soldiers. The Reuters news agency reported intense Russian shelling of routes leading west out of Bakhmut, an apparent attempt to block Ukrainian forces' access in and out of the city. Ukrainian soldiers were working to repair damaged roads, and more soldiers were heading towards the front line in a sign that Ukraine was not yet ready to give up the city. To the west, Ukrainians were digging new trenches for defensive positions.
Ukraine's president says he met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the southern Ukrainian region of Mykolaiv and discussed the effect of Russian missile and drone strikes with regional officials. Finland's foreign minister says it is maintaining its plan to join NATO at the same time as Nordic neighbour Sweden despite a potential Turkish block on the latter's bid. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged South Korea to increase military support to Ukraine, citing other countries that have changed their policy of not providing weapons to countries in conflict following Russia's invasion. The Kremlin has accused Boris Johnson of lying after the former British prime minister said President Vladimir Putin had threatened the United Kingdom with a missile attack during a phone call in the run-up to the invasion of Ukraine. Iran has summoned Ukraine's charge d'affaires in Tehran over comments by a Ukrainian official on a drone attack on a military factory in the central Iranian province of Isfahan, according to the semiofficial Tasnim news agency.
Russia has begun its "big revenge" for Ukraine's resistance to its invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said, as Russian forces claimed a series of incremental gains in his country's east. Zelenskyy has been warning for weeks that Moscow aims to step up its assault on Ukraine after about two months of virtual stalemate along the front line that stretches across the south and east. While there was no sign of a broader new offensive on Monday, the administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk province, Denis Pushilin, said Russian troops had secured a foothold in Vuhledar, a coal mining town whose ruins have been a Ukrainian bastion since the outset of the war. Pushilin's adviser, Yan Gagin, said fighters from Russian mercenary force Wagner had taken partial control of a supply road leading to Bakhmut, a city that has been the focus of a Russian offensive for months. A day earlier, the head of Wagner said his fighters had secured Blahodatne, a village just north of Bakhmut.
Former Defense Intelligence Agency Officer Rebekah Koffler discusses why peace talks are unlikely between Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S., on'Varney & Co.' As we have welcome the New Year, many on both sides of the Atlantic are wondering whether the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the biggest war in Europe since World War II, will come to an end this year. The largest country on the continent, Ukraine, is being depopulated, having lost more than 100,000 of its citizens to death or injury. Europe itself is being destabilized by financial woes and influx of refugees from war-torn areas. Contrary to the hopes of many, not only will 2023 not bring peace, it will likely see the most bloodshed yet, as the key warring parties – Moscow, Kyiv, and Washington, D.C. – are all postured for decisive escalation. Here's why we are probably entering the "hottest" phase of this war.
After all the dreaming, our technologies can still take unexpected turns, amazing and alarming us. As we agonize through another year about whether, as the Christmas carol says, "the wrong shall fail, the right prevail," I've traditionally started each new year with what I've called "a massive MapReduce on the year gone by" -- a lively lightning round of overlooked moments, in a final closing ceremony for the year gone by. But in asking what was truly significant about 2022, are we also highlighting events that foreshadow things to come? Besides technology playing a role in the world's geopolitical conflicts, there was also one unmistakable trend in 2022 that was both haunting and hilarious. It was the advances in both the performance and the accessibility of AI technology.
Troops battle through burning streets. Missiles take down fighter jets. The dramatic visuals have the trappings of real-life combat, but they are clips from video games fueling misinformation. Footage from the war-themed Arma 3 video game, often marked "live" or "breaking news" to make it appear genuine, has been used repeatedly in recent months in fake videos about the Russian offensive in Ukraine. The frequency and ease with which gaming footage is mistaken as real, even by some media broadcasters, and shared as authentic news on social media highlights what researchers call its serious potential to spread misinformation.
Several blasts shook Kyiv on Monday, days after Russia blamed Ukraine for drone attacks on its Crimea fleet in the Black Sea. At least five explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital between 8:00 am (0600 GMT) and 8:20 am, according to AFP journalists. Kyiv had already been hit on October 10 and 17 by drones. After Monday's blasts, mayor Vitali Klitschko said in a Telegram message: "An area of Kyiv is without electricity and certain areas without water following Russian strikes." Monday's attack on the Ukrainian capital comes after Russia pulled out of a landmark agreement that allowed vital grain shipments via a maritime safety corridor.
Russia's blockade of grain exports makes it "impossible" for fully loaded ships to leave port, Ukraine charged Sunday after Moscow claimed drone attacks on its Crimea fleet had exploited the grain corridor safe zone. Kyiv's maritime grain exports were halted after Russia pulled out of a landmark agreement that allowed the vital shipments. The July deal to unlock grain exports signed between Russia and Ukraine and brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, is critical to easing the global food crisis caused by the conflict. "(A) bulk carrier loaded with 40 tons of grain was supposed to leave the Ukraine port today," Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted. "These foodstuffs were intended for Ethiopians, that are on the verge of famine. But due to the blockage of the'grain corridor' by Russia the export is impossible," the Ukrainian minister said.
A little before 7am on Monday, people in Kyiv heard a whining sound overhead before identifying where it was coming from – a group of "kamikaze" drones flying into the city. Drones have been widely used on both sides of the Ukraine conflict, but these were the first Russian attacks that deployed swarms of the aircraft. Videos and images began to circulate on social media of the drones flying directly over urban infrastructure such as power stations, residential buildings and railways as civilians and soldiers tried to shoot them down with guns. About 28 were launched on Monday morning in Kyiv. At least four civilians were killed after one of the aircraft hit a residential building.
Ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg joined'Your World' to discuss NATO holding nuclear exercises and recent Iranian-made'kamikaze' drones striking Kyiv. Russian drone and missile attacks have destroyed nearly a third of Ukraine's power stations, but Ukrainian forces continue to gain ground President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced Tuesday. Russia has launched barrages of missiles, shells and other ordnance into Ukrainian cities in a campaign that started after the bombing of the Kerch Bridge on October 8. The attacks have targeted population centers, parks and infrastructure as Ukraine's cold winter approaches. "Since Oct 10, 30% of Ukraine's power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country," Zelenskyy announced Tuesday.