Thursday, December 29, 2022

Six Factors That Will Shape Russia’s Winter War in Ukraine; Ukraine Hits Deep Inside Russia, Putin Calls for Talks; Air Force Calls Explosions On Russia’s Engels Airbase ‘consequences of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine'; Ukraine Will Return Occupied Crimea by Force, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photographs by Manu Brabo for The WSJ
WSJ: Six Factors That Will Shape Russia’s Winter War in Ukraine:
From cold weather to Western support, here are the issues that will help determine whether Kyiv can sustain battlefield momentum
As Russia’s war in Ukraine moves into another year, the next few months will provide critical clues as to whether Moscow’s forces will be able to halt or even reverse the momentum gained by Ukrainian troops on the battlefield. With the end of the campaign still looking a long way off, here are six big factors that will influence the trajectory of the war in the early months of 2023.
The Weather
It is still the season of mud in Ukraine. Temperatures have dropped below freezing but haven’t stayed low for long enough to harden the ground. Even tracked vehicles struggle to move except on paved roads. Across much of the front line dividing Russian and Ukrainian forces, the tempo of the conflict has slowed. 
Hard ground—if or when it comes—would likely see the intensity of the conflict increase. That would likely favor Ukraine, the side that has proved itself more capable of rapid military maneuver, though it would also make it more challenging for advancing forces to dig in and defend newly won positions.
Ukrainian forces, helped by state-of-the-art, cold-weather gear provided by Canada and others, appear better equipped for winter than their Russian counterparts. Ukrainian supply lines are shorter and Ukrainian troops are rotating in and out of the front lines, allowing them to rest and recuperate. They also appear more highly motivated than the Russian forces.
If cold weather helps Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines, it will make the struggles of ordinary Ukrainians harder as Russian bombardment of energy and heating infrastructure continues, plunging settlements across Ukraine into darkness. But such bombing has rarely in history translated into success on the battlefield, and Ukraine’s war effort doesn’t depend on national production of weapons. A Russian route to victory through undermining the morale of the Ukrainian population seems unlikely to work, and certainly not in the near term.
The Russian effort to capture the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region has taken on a psychological importance beyond its strategic significance. Losing would allow Ukrainian forces to retreat to higher, more defensible positions but would cede a propaganda victory to Moscow.
The city remains one of the few areas where Russian forces are trying to advance, but their relentless pounding of Ukrainian positions in recent months has yielded only minimal advances and has come with very high casualties. A Wall Street Journal report from the town said Ukrainian forces reported a recent slowing of Russian artillery fire, possibly because Russia is running low on ammunition. --->READ MORE HERE
Ukraine hits deep inside Russia, Putin calls for talks:
Three Russian military personnel were killed early on Monday by falling wreckage of a Ukrainian drone that was shot down as it was attacking a base in Russia's Saratov region, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Defense Ministry. It was the second attack on the base this month.
"A Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down at low altitude while approaching the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region," news agencies reported the Russian ministry as saying.
"As a result of the fall of the wreckage of the drone, three Russian servicemen of the technical staff who were at the airfield were fatally wounded."
The base, near the city of Saratov, about 730 km (450 miles) southeast of Moscow and hundreds of kilometers from the front lines in Ukraine, was hit on Dec. 5 in what Russia said was Ukrainian drone attacks on two Russian air bases that day. The twin strikes dealt Russia a major reputational blow and raised questions about why its defenses failed, analysts said, as attention turned to the use of drones in the war between neighbors. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Air Force calls explosions on Russia’s Engels airbase ‘consequences of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine'+++++

+++++Intelligence chief: Ukraine will return occupied Crimea by force+++++

General Staff: Ukrainian army strikes 9 Russian control points

Luhansk military administration reports ongoing fighting near Kreminna

Large-scale fire in Novosibirsk, Russia: eyewitnesses report explosions

Bridge destroyed by Russian forces in Kharkiv Oblast fully restored

Defence Forces explained how they "give trouble" to invaders in Ukraine's south

Russian missiles rain down on Ukraine towns

Russia shoots down Ukrainian drone near its Engels airbase

The struggle to save the tropical plants of Kyiv's Botanical Garden

Ukraine seeks to have Russia expelled from UN

Pavel Antov, Russian sausage tycoon who criticized Ukraine war, dies in fall

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