Lviv/Moscow, Dec 19 (EFE).- Russia launched another round of drone attacks on several regions in Ukraine on Monday, as Russian president Vladimir Putin visited Belarus, sparking fears that that country could again be used as a base for a fresh Kremlin offensive early next year.
According to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia launched 34 drone strikes in the early hours of the morning.
“The Kyiv region repelled the third Russian attack in the last week. Three victims and nine private houses were damaged as a result of night shelling by Shaheds,” the head of the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram.
Emergency power outages were in effect in the region, Kuleba said, adding that the situation was “difficult” as only critical infrastructure had been restored.
The attack took place hours after the Kyiv authorities had restored the heating system that was destroyed in earlier shelling.
Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s national energy company, said that the Russian latest attacks meant the country’s energy system might not be fully restored for “a long time.”
Meanwhile, Putin traveled Monday to Belarus, Moscow’s main ally in its invasion of Ukraine, amid growing rumors of a new Russian offensive that could see more involvement from Minsk.
Some of Russia’s forces invaded northern Ukraine in February from military bases in Belarus, which has stopped short of deploying its own troops in the conflict.
“Our goal today is to take stock of the work of our governments in different spheres,” Putin said at the start of the meeting with Lukashenko.
Faced with the spread of information about plans for a new phase of hostilities that could also involve Belarusian troops, the Kremlin responded by calling them “unfounded and absurd speculations,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.
Minsk also announced the end of exercises that began last week to verify the combat readiness and capability of the country’s armed forces in a bid to quash the rumors that Belarus was preparing to send men over the border into Ukraine.
This is Putin’s first visit to the Belarusian capital since December 2019.
In addition to bilateral integration, Putin and Lukashenko discussed “the military-political situation” of the two countries, their “defensive and security capabilities”, as well as “joint measures of response” to the challenges they face. EFE