Good morning from Kyiv, where it’s another freezing and foggy morning, with a high, whistling wind. Nothing suggests going out is a good idea.

 But aside from the wind, the morning has been silent, without any air alerts in Kyiv (at least at the time of writing). However, the night wasn't so calm for other Ukrainian regions. Explosions were reported in Kharkiv, and an extensive missile attack took place in occupied Donetsk.

 What’s happening today?

 Recently, Russia has seen a series of frequent blazes ripping "out of nowhere" through oil depots, shopping malls and factories. Russian authorities usually blame "safety violations," such as smoking in the wrong places, etc. 

 Another sudden fire engulfed an oil refinery in the Siberian city of Angarsk early this morning.  According to local authorities, two people died and five more were injured, one of whom was hospitalized. 

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 Citing the emergencies ministry, local governor Ihor Kobzev said on messaging app Telegram that the fire was reportedly caused by "gas contamination."

 What was in President Zelensky’s latest message?

 In his latest address on Dec. 14, Volodymyr Zelensky expressed gratitude to the 96th anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Air Force – responsible for defending the skies over Kyiv city and the wider region.

 "Thank you, guys! A total of 13 Shaheds were shot down. These are 13 saved infrastructure objects, these are saved lives. In one morning," the president exclaimed.

Russia Forms New ‘North’ Military Group in Regions Bordering Ukraine
Other Topics of Interest

Russia Forms New ‘North’ Military Group in Regions Bordering Ukraine

Russia’s Ministry of Defense mentioned the group for the first time in its daily updates, and it is allegedly fighting in the Belgorod sector bordering Ukraine.

 Zelensky also mentioned that Ukraine has this week made important progress on the air defense issue.

 "I held a meeting of the Staff today. We talked, in particular, about the protection of the sky. We are constantly strengthening our air defense and anti-drone defense. And we are doing everything to get more modern and more powerful systems for Ukraine."

 What’s the latest military situation?

 The Dec. 13 British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update assessed the probability of a repeated invasion of Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. The MoD noted that, while Belarus played a key enabling role in Russia’s assault towards Kyiv from Feb. 24., Belarusian troops and Russian units exercising north of the Ukrainian border are currently deemed unlikely to constitute a force capable of conducting a successful new assault into northern Ukraine.

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 "On 13 December 2022, Belarus carried out a snap combat readiness inspection of its forces."

 "The exercises are reportedly taking place in the north-west of the country, away from the Ukrainian border. In addition, Russia has recently deployed extra units of mobilized reservists to Belarus."

 The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 14 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, notably:

 

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly postponed his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly, indicating that the Kremlin is not confident that it can continue to shape the Russian information space;
  • Ukrainian officials are forecasting that Russian forces may attempt to launch a large-scale offensive at the beginning of 2023;
  • The Kremlin will likely intensify information operations aimed at presenting the Ukrainian government as oppressing religious liberties and freedom of the press;
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas;
  • Russian forces continued defensive operations south of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast (region);
  • Kremlin officials admitted having received complaints about mobilization despite its apparent "de facto end";
  • Ukrainian partisans continue to aid Ukrainian forces in identifying valuable Russian targets. 

 

And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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