Russia plans to attack Ukraine one last time around the New Year, and its forces are getting ready to take over the old industrial heartland of Donbas in the east right away.
The Russian Defense Ministry says that on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited army units fighting in Ukraine.
Russia took over Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia (two provinces of Donbas) in September, but it still doesn’t have full military control over these four “oblasts” (provinces).
Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of the Russian army, said that Russian troops are “focused on finishing the liberation” of Donetsk. Gerasimov also told AFP that Russia had used hypersonic missiles, like Kinzhal missiles, for the first time in Ukraine. These missiles are part of Putin’s arsenal of weapons that he has called “invincible.”
Russian sources say that the Ukrainian army is running out of weapons, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited the US on December 21 for the first time since the war started in February 2021, hopes to get an extra $45 billion in aid from Joe Biden to help “defend our values and independence.”
President Obama promised Zelensky more military aid, especially the Patriot surface-to-air missile battery, and he gave Ukraine $1.85 billion in security aid.
About Ukraine’s Donbas
Donbas is where coal and steel are made in Ukraine. Its two biggest eastern regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, are south of Mariupol and north of the Russian border.
Most people in Donbas speak Russian, but according to BBC, the so-called “people’s republics” created by Russia are not recognised in the area.
Putin wanted to take over Donbas because he kept saying that Ukraine killed people in the east, which hasn’t been proven yet. Moscow is likely to take over Donbas and other nearby areas, like it did in 2014 with Crimea.
On Thursday, the Kremlin said that Kiev and Washington were ignoring its worries and that the US was using Ukraine as a battleground to hurt Russia.
President Vladimir Putin had just said that Russia was trying to end the “war” as soon as possible. “Our goal is… to put an end to this fight. Putin said, “This is what we want.” “We will try to make sure it all stops as soon as possible.”