The opera is unlikely to boost the morale of Russian troops in Ukraine | Daily News Byte

The opera is unlikely to boost the morale of Russian troops in Ukraine

 | Daily News Byte

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Russia is sending opera singers to its frontline troops in Ukraine to boost the morale of Russian troops. Russia last week announced the creation of a creative brigade, which will also include actors and circus performers.

In a British Ministry of Defense intelligence update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Sunday, the agency said “fragile morale almost certainly continues to be a significant weakness in Russian forces,” with troop concerns elsewhere.

“Soldiers’ concerns mainly focus on very high casualty rates, poor leadership, pay problems, shortage of equipment and ammunition and lack of clarity about war objectives,” the ministry said. “The creative brigade’s efforts are unlikely to significantly address these concerns,” the ministry said.

A day after Russia’s massive airstrikes on Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address that power had been restored to about 6 million Ukrainians. However, he added, crews continue to work to stabilize the energy grid in an effort to restore heat and water supplies to residents.

The most difficult situation, he said, “Kiev and the region, Vinnytsia and the region, Lviv and the region.” Large-scale power outages are affecting several other regions, including Dnipro and Dnipropetrovsk.

Russia fired more than 70 missiles at Ukraine on Friday, one of its biggest attacks since the start of the war, Ukrainian officials said. The attack knocked out power in Kharkiv, the second-largest city, and forced Kiev to impose a nationwide emergency blackout, officials said.

Zelensky also said on Saturday that, so far, “Russia’s massive investment in terror” amounts to “more than 4,000 missiles”.

Zelensky thanked the EU and the United States for their decisions to provide defense, energy and financial aid to Ukraine in the coming year. But he added that much more remains to be done and called for a “reliable air defense shield” that would protect the Ukrainian people from “the main form of Russian terror – missile terror”.

“In recent days, Russia’s campaign of long-range strikes against critical national infrastructure in Ukraine has increased,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update on Saturday.

“The strike wave consisted mostly of air and sea-launched cruise missiles but almost certainly also included an Iranian-supplied uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) being launched from Russia’s Krasnodar region,” the ministry tweeted.

“Previously, these UAVs were mainly launched from positions inside the occupied Crimea,” the ministry tweeted. “The launch site is likely to change due to Russian concerns about the vulnerability of Crimea, when it is convenient to resupply from a possible arrival point in Russia, at Astrakhan.”

Early Saturday, emergency workers pulled the body of a 1-year-old boy from the rubble of an apartment building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih following a Russian missile strike.

The Kremlin said the barrage of long-range Russian strikes targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure was coming as Russian President Vladimir Putin held meetings with the commanders of his armed forces, seeking proposals on Russian military strategy against Ukraine.

Russia has said attacks on basic infrastructure are militarily legitimate. Ukraine has said that attacks aimed at inflicting suffering on civilians are a war crime.

The United States will provide additional security assistance to Ukraine, National Security Council strategic communications coordinator John Kirby told VOA in an interview Friday.

Asked if Washington would heed Russia’s warning not to deliver sophisticated Patriot air defense missiles or risk the consequences, Kirby replied “Russia will not dictate to the United States or any other country what security assistance we provide to Ukraine.”

The US official said Washington is “in lockstep with the Ukrainians, talking to them almost every day about what their needs are and making sure we’re meeting those needs as best we can.”

Kirby stressed that air defense capabilities remain a key need for Ukraine’s military after “unprecedented” airstrikes with Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drones, “which we’ve seen again in the last 12 to 18 hours,” he told VOA.

Kirby said Washington’s focus is to help Ukraine succeed on the battlefield in whatever way Zelensky sees fit. He said that the US Does not dictate to Ukraine how to defend its territory.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned the US that if it sends sophisticated Patriot air defense missiles to Ukraine, Moscow will consider it a “provocative step” that could prompt a response from the Kremlin.

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not spell out what Moscow’s response might be but said the US should “draw the correct conclusions” from Russia’s warnings that US-supplied equipment is a legitimate target for Russian attacks. With its arms shipments to Ukraine, she said the US had already become “effectively a party” to the war.

US officials confirmed to reporters this week plans to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine, which Zelensky has long said Ukraine needs to defend itself against an onslaught of Russian airstrikes targeting vital infrastructure, including power and water facilities. As of now, no official announcement has been made.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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