Ukraine Latest: Kyiv Targeted in Latest Russian Missile Attacks

American Age Official

(Bloomberg) — Russia unleashed one of the most intense missile barrages of the war, targeting major Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv and Lviv in the west near Poland. It was the 10th such assault since the Kremlin began striking at critical infrastructure in September.

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Out of 69 cruise missiles launched by Kremlin forces from strategic bombers and ships in the Black Sea, 54 were downed by air-defense systems, according to Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine’s army commander-in-chief. Kyiv’s military administration reported that all 16 missiles directed at the capital were destroyed and said that two people had been injured by debris.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal accused Russia of trying to sabotage power facilities ahead of the New Year celebrations and said some energy infrastructure had been damaged in the latest attacks.

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Key Developments

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On the Ground

Overnight, Russian forces hit energy infrastructure in Kharkiv with Iranian-made Shahed drones, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook, adding that 11 of 13 UAVs were shot down by Ukrainian troops. Several buildings, a gas pipeline and a power line were damaged in an attack on the Zaporizhzhia suburbs, Oleksandr Starukh, the regional governor, said on Telegram. Three Russian missile carriers are now on combat duty in the Black Sea, according to a statement from the Ukrainian southern command.

(All times CET)

Belarus Says Ukrainian Missile Fell on Its Territory (12:30 p.m.)

A Ukrainian S-300 air-defense missile fell on Belarusian territory on Thursday morning, state-owned news agency Belta reported on its website.

A preliminary investigation indicated it could either be a stray rocket — similar to an incident in Poland last month — or a missile downed by Belarusian air defense, the agency said. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials on the alleged incident.

Putin, Xi to Hold Talks on Friday (12:15 p.m.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, will discuss “the most pressing regional problems” during a video call planned for Friday, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The two leaders are holding their end-of-year talks after Xi told former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week that China would like to see negotiations on Ukraine, adding that his administration was “actively promoting peace.” China has avoided criticizing Russia over the invasion, blaming the expansion of NATO. While Beijing signed off on a communique at last month’s Group of 20 summit in Indonesia that said “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” China continues to refrain from calling it a war.

Kazakhstan Seeks Druzhba Capacity (12 p.m.)

Russia’s oil-pipeline operator Transneft PJSC said it received a request from its Kazakh counterpart to book capacity on the Druzhba pipeline for oil supplies to Germany next year.

That could be a first step toward Kazakh oil flowing to German refineries as the country tries to find alternatives to Russian crude. While pipeline supplies are exempted from European sanctions, Germany pledged to wean itself off Russia by the end of this year.

Russia Rules Out Peace Talks (10:30 a.m.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ruled out talks with Ukraine to end the war, saying in an interview with state-run news service RIA Novosti that the Kremlin won’t discuss demands that it withdraw from occupied lands and pay reparations.

Ukraine should cede sovereignty over territories annexed by Russia since Putin ordered the Feb. 24 invasion, Lavrov said earlier this week.

Bolton Questions German Defense Goal (10 a.m.)

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton questioned whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz can honor his pledge to increase German defense spending in line with a NATO guideline of 2% of output.

Germany’s decision to buy F-35 fighter jets is “a first step,” Bolton, who worked in the administration of Donald Trump, was quoted as saying by the Handelsblatt newspaper. However, he also referred to technical problems with “Germany’s old equipment” and urged Scholz to follow the example of Japan, which has budgeted a 60% hike in defense spending over five years.

Japan to Continue Russia Shipping Coverage (9:40 a.m.)

Japan’s insurers will continue to provide war-risk coverage for vessels in Russian waters in January, Kyodo News reported, in a move that will likely ease concerns about disruptions to Russian liquefied natural gas shipments.

The insurance companies said earlier this month that they would halt the marine hull war risk coverage in Russian and Ukrainian territorial waters from Jan. 1. The firms are currently negotiating reinsurance coverage for January contracts and are near a formal agreement, Kyodo said without attribution.

Residential Buildings Struck in Kyiv (9 a.m.)

Debris from downed missiles damaged two residential buildings in eastern Kyiv, as well as an industrial compound and playground in the center, the city’s military administration said on Telegram.

Two people were rescued from a residential building and treated for injuries, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who warned that the city may experience problems with power supply and urged residents to charge their mobile phones and stock up on water.

JPMorgan to Extend Refugee Program (8:30 a.m.)

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Warsaw office is planning to extend a work and training program for Ukrainian refugees for another year after hiring around 50 this summer.

The Wall Street firm expects to recruit a similar number — depending on the war situation — into its 1,200-person Warsaw office, following positive feedback from employees, Paul Brazier, a managing director in the Warsaw office, said in an interview.

French Minister Visits Kyiv (8 a.m.)

Sebastien Lecornu, France’s minister of armed forces, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv Wednesday to discuss additional military support and strengthening Ukraine’s air defenses.

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