Overview:

  • As expected, Russia has begun assaults on Ukraine’s power grid
  • EU deploys guards to Finland border as Russia said to be concocting crises
  • Ukrainian forces make marginal gains in occupied Donetsk
  • Grain elevators and storage facilities in Odesa destroyed by Russian drones
  • Kyiv’s forces back on the defensive around Avdiivka

Russian shelling causes “temporary shortage of electricity” in unspecified areas

Ukraine’s energy ministry said on Thursday it “appeals to consumers to support power engineers by consuming electricity reasonably and economically, especially during peak load hours,” after Russian shelling predictably had struck unspecified power stations as winter approaches. It asked residents to be sparing in their consumption especially between 9 am and 7 pm.

A power plant near the front line was hit by shelling as temperatures dip below freezing, AFP reported. Officials did not specify where the power grid was hit.

“This afternoon, the enemy attacked one of the thermal power plants in the front-line zone. The equipment was seriously damaged as a result of shelling,” the energy ministry said on Thursday.

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The ministry said only that two of its power units had stopped working, leading to a “temporary shortage of electricity.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on social media that a lack of solar power preparations made things worse.

Kyiv has warned for a long time that, just as last winter, enemy forces would be targeting power infrastructure this time of year. The ministry again had cautioned in November that it could not produce enough power for residential and industrial heating, and has had to rely on neighboring EU countries, AFP reported.

OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine
Other Topics of Interest

OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine

OSCE condemned it as "a grave violation of participating states' commitments under international law" and called for the immediate release of Vadym Golda and two other jailed OSCE officials.

Dozens of guards deployed to troubled Russia-EU frontier as about 1,000 migrants appear

AFP reported on Thursday that the European Union’s border protection agency has deployed about 50 additional guards to oversee Finland’s border with Russia after Helsinki accused Moscow of orchestrating a migrant crisis there. Nearly 1,000 asylum seekers from Africa and the Arabian peninsula have turned up at the 1,340-kilometer border since August.

 “We know that migratory pressure is one of the tools used by the Kremlin so we can expect this to continue,” Frontex spokesman Piotr Switalsk said.

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At the same time, for reasons as yet unexplained, an unusually large number of African immigrants has begun to appear at the US-Mexico border in recent weeks, along with the usual influx from Central America, contributing to difficulties in Washington politics when it comes to allocating more US money to Kyiv.

Russian drones hit grain infrastructure in Odesa region

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Ukrainian forces shot down 15 of 18 Russian drones on Thursday, but some of them managed to hit a grain elevator and warehouse in the Izmail district of the Odesa region, citing Ukrainian forces. Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers claimed that Russian drones also struck the Starokostyantyniv airfield in the Khmelnytskyi region.

While continued strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure remain a concern, with Russian forces knocking out at least one power plant on Thursday, Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov said that Moscow “does not have enough resources to strike Ukrainian energy infrastructure on a larger scale than last winter,” the ISW quoted him as saying.

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Operations: Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions

According to ISW reports, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) made some advances Thursday along the Kupyansk-Kreminna front, citing Russian bloggers, who also specified that Kyiv’s troops on Wednesday made marginal gains near Terny and Yampolivka in Donetsk.

Meanwhile, Russian sources also claimed that Moscow’s forces advanced near Synkivka on Thursday and advanced up to 1.5 km deeper near Vesele on Wednesday, executing offensives near Petropavlivka (7 km east of Kupyansk) and continued to target Ukrainian crossings across the Oskil River in the Kupyansk area.

Operations: Avdiivka

According to the ISW, Russian forces marginally gained near the lynchpin AFU stronghold of Avdiivka on Thursday, citing geolocated footage, suggesting Russian advances east of Stepove (3 km northwest of Avdiivka), an area in which Kyiv’s forces had gained the upper hand on Wednesday.

Russian military bloggers also claimed on Thursday that the Kremlin’s invaders continued to close in on the industrial zone southeast of Avdiivka. The bloggers further said that, as part of Thursday’s surge, Moscow’s forces attacked near Novokalynove (8 km north of Avdiivka) and the nearby city’s critical coke and chemical plant.

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