Sunday, December 18, 2022

Ukraine Steps Up Attacks on Russian Targets in Occupied Territory; Ukraine’s Secret Weapon Is Ordinary People Spying on Russian Forces; Ukrainian forces shell Russian-Controlled Donetsk; Russia Preparing for Ukrainian Troop Landings in Crimea, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Serhii Korovayny for The Wall Street Journal
WSJ: Ukraine Steps Up Attacks on Russian Targets in Occupied Territory:
Kyiv seeks to destabilize occupying Russian forces and place them on the defensive
Ukraine said it struck a Russian ammunition depot and military base on occupied territory in the country’s east, as both sides ruled out the possibility of a Christmas cease-fire after almost 10 months of fighting.
“A full cease-fire from our point of view will come only when there are no more occupying forces on our land,” Gen. Oleksiy Hromov, a senior officer on Ukraine’s General Staff, said Thursday in comments reported by Ukrainian media.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that a Christmas or New Year truce was “not on the agenda.”
The prospect of a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine has been distant for weeks, amid a stark divergence in both sides’ positions. Kyiv has insisted that Russia withdraw from all the territory it currently controls, including the Crimean Peninsula it annexed in 2014. Moscow has rejected such demands.
Meanwhile, Ukraine appears to have stepped up its attacks on Russian targets in occupied parts of the country’s east and south in recent days, seeking to destabilize Moscow’s forces and place them on the defensive. Kyiv is fighting to hold back an advance on the eastern city of Bakhmut as it looks to retake parts of the Luhansk region that it lost in the summer.
Such long-range attacks, targeting Russian ammunition depots and makeshift bases in the Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, make it much more difficult for Russia to entrench its control in areas of Ukraine it now claims as its own territory, and undermines the Kremlin’s narrative about restoring calm there.
The strategy was successfully deployed by Ukraine in late summer and early fall against Russian-held areas of Kherson region, where Kyiv used the U.S.-supplied Himars multiple-launch rocket system to damage bridges and other infrastructure that Russia relied upon to resupply forces in the regional capital. Kyiv ultimately succeeded in driving Moscow’s forces out of Kherson in November.
On Thursday, the Ukrainian armed forces’ Center for Strategic Communications published video footage of what it said was the latest strike against Russian assets: An arms depot in Kadiivka, a town around 30 miles west of the Russian-held regional capital of Luhansk, exploded after coming under attack. --->READ MORE HERE
Photographs by The Wall Street Journal 
WSJ: Ukraine’s Secret Weapon Is Ordinary People Spying on Russian Forces:
Locals helped Ukraine target troops occupying Kherson, highlighting one of Kyiv’s advantages in the war
During Russia’s occupation of the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, a large electronics store served Russian forces as a field hospital, barracks and storehouse for food.
One morning last summer, Ukrainian forces struck the store, completely destroying it. It was one of numerous attacks that day on Russian-controlled territory deep inside the Kherson region.
Before the blast, a small group of local Ukrainian activists had been sending photographs of the location and coordinates of the Russians over an encrypted Telegram channel to the Ukrainian military. That intelligence helped Ukrainian forces target the site, according to a military official who worked with such groups.
The Kherson-based group of Ukrainian partisans made spying on the Russians part of their daily routine, playing a key role in guiding the Ukrainian precision strikes that ultimately forced Moscow to abandon Kherson last month, according to Ukrainian military officials.
They monitored roads into the city, watched feeds from street cameras trained on key intersections and cycled into fields pretending to tend to livestock while clocking Russian troops.
But the channel’s members soon became a target. Russia’s Federal Security Service raided their homes and those of their relatives. Several remain imprisoned on espionage charges inside Russian-held territory, hoping a prisoner swap will set them free—although civilians, unlike members of the military, are rarely swapped.
Oleksiy Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in an interview that partisans like those in Kherson will assist in Ukraine’s continuing campaign to recapture Russian-held areas. --->READ MORE HERE
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