Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin deploys nuclear missile as strikes hit Kharkiv energy grid

Russia preparing 200,000 troops for military offensive in January, says Ukrainian general

Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin deploys nuclear missile as strikes hit Kharkiv energy grid

Russia has launched a fresh wave of missile attacks in Ukraine, hitting Kyiv and other areas of the country on Friday.

Three people have reportedly been killed in the attacks along with reports of damage to critical infrastructure and power outages around the country.

It comes as new video footage shows a Yars nuclear missile being moved for at least the third time, being driven to a garage just north west of Moscow.

'A missile regiment in the Tver Region in the Bologoye formation has entered combat duty with a road-mobile Yars system,' Russia's Colonel-General Sergey Karakayev told broadcaster Zvezda according to the Tass news agency.

A Yars missile can be launced in seven minutes. It has a 7,500-mile range so it could reach both the UK and US.

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Key infrastructure hit across Ukraine in Russian missile attacks

14:41 , Lucy Skoulding

The second biggest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv, has no power, water or heating following Russia's missile strikes this morning.

Mayor of Kharkiv Ihor Terekhov said: 'There is colossal damage to infrastructure, primarily the energy system. I ask you to be patient with what is happening now. I know that in your houses there is no light, no heating, no water supply.'

Three strikes have been reported on critical infrastructure in the city.

13:50 , Lucy Skoulding

A campaigner in Ukraine has described the impact of the electricity blackouts in Ukraine.

They described how it meant her grandma, suffering with pneumonia, had issues with getting oxygen due to the blackout.

They tweeted: 'Today I've experienced missiles attack from Russia in Zhytomyr region hospital. Suddenly electricity disappeared, my 88 years old grandma with pneumonia had problems with getting oxygen. The hospital doesn't have a generator yet. I went to the drug store to buy some medicines...'

13:20 , Lucy Skoulding

One in five Homes for Ukraine hosts are struggling to help families due to the rising pressures of the cost of living crisis, the ONS has found.

The sponsorship scheme allows Ukrainian nationals and their relatives to come to the UK if they have a sponsor who can provide accommodation for at least six months.

The percentage of adults who said soaring prices impacted their ability to provide support on the scheme 'very much' has doubled in five months, with 18 per cent reporting difficulty compared to nine per cent in July.

Read the full story.

12:47 , Lucy Skoulding

Russia has been accused of carrying out massive attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian state-owned energy company Ukrenergo has accused Russia of firing approximately '70 rockets' at energy infrastructure across the country.

It says it's caused an increased electricity shortage, which was already 'significant' before this attack.

As this is now the ninth attack in this vain. restoring supplies could take even longer than before.

The attack has been described as 'massive' on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

12:27 , Lucy Skoulding

Kyiv military spokesperson Mykhailo Shamanov said around 40 missiles were fired at the region on Friday.

37 of these were shot down.

He says it's one of the largest Russian bombardments since the start of the war.

Suspline News reports that one person has been injured.

It tweeted: 'Around 40 missiles were tracked in #Kyiv's airspace. Air defense forces managed to destroy 37, the city administration reports.

'So far, one person has been reported wounded, with the number of casualties and damage yet to be clarified.'

12:18 , Lucy Skoulding

Putin has reportedly moved a Yars nuclear missile for at least the third time, ramping up threats to the West.

New video footage shows the missile being transported to a garage in the Tver region in Russia, which is northwest of Moscow.

This deployment was marked with military ceremony in the Bologovsky Strategic Missile Forces compound.

'A missile regiment in the Tver Region in the Bologoye formation has entered combat duty with a road-mobile Yars system,' Russia's Colonel-General Sergey Karakayev told broadcaster Zvezda according to the Tass news agency.

A Yars missile can be launced in seven minutes. It has a 7,500-mile range so it could reach both the UK and US.

11:21 , Lucy Skoulding

Another death due to Russia's missile strikes on Ukraine has been reported following the announcement that two people died this morning.

One person has reportedly died in Kherson after today's shelling.

According to a statement from the regional prosecutor's office, several flats in a residential block caught fire and one person has died.

It comes after two people were killed and a further five injured elsewhere in the city of Kryvyi Rih today.

11:07 , Lucy Skoulding

The UK Ministry of Defence says Russia seems to be following 'traditional military plans for entrenchment, largely unchanged since the Second World War'.

Its analysis focuses on Moscow's recent efforts to construct 'major defensive lines' which it says is 'further illustration of Russia's reversion to positional warfare that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades'.

10:06 , Lucy Skoulding

Two people have lost their lives and a further five people, including two children, have been injured after a missile hit a residential building in Kryvyi Rih in the Dnipro region of Ukraine.

The injured people are being treated in hospital.

The Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspline tweeted: '2 people died as a result of hitting a house in #KryvyiRih, the head of RMA Reznichenko said.

'At least 5 people were injured, including two children. An apartment block is destroyed.'

09:12 , Lucy Skoulding

Russia has launched a second missile attack on Ukraine within a matter of days, causing damage to critical infrastructure and now power outages too.

The purpose of the attacks is to destroy Ukraine's power grid, making it easier for Putin and his army to make gains, according to authorities.

Authorities in Kharkiv and Poltava, in eastern and central Ukriane respectively, have reported power outages on Friday.

Oleh Syniehubov, governor of Kharkiv said energy infrastructure in the area had been hit while public broadcasts Suspilne said there were power outages in the area.

Sounds of air defence could also be heard in many other regions across Ukraine, including Donetsk, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kivrohrad, Ternipol, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia and Khmelnytskyi.

08:33 , Lucy Skoulding

Ukrainian officials are reporting that Russia launched a fresh wave of missiles at Ukraine today.

Air defence systems across the country have launched into action.

Local officials say key infrastructure has been hit in the eastern city of Kharkiv and in the Black Sea region of Odesa.

Witnesses for Reuters say they heard explosions in Kyiv, but it's uncertain if these were caused by missiles getting through defences at this stage. No casualties have been reported at this stage, and there are no details about what has been hit.

The governor of Sumy in the north says missiles have caused power outage in his area today.

07:41 , Lucy Skoulding

AFP news agency reports that President Putin is set to visit Belarus on Monday.

It comes as the UK Ministry of Defence has warned Belarus is reporting holding 'readiness exercises'.

Russia has also reportedly sent extra units of mobilised reservists into Belarus.

But the MoD says troops from Belarus are unlikely to be a force big and capable enough of carrying out a successful assault on northern Ukraine.

06:56 , Arpan Rai

Russian forces have continued to expend considerable effort to construct extensive defensive positions along the frontline, the British defence ministry said today citing imagery from the recent weeks.

'They have likely prioritised the northern sector around the town of Svatove,' the ministry noted.

It added: 'The Russian constructions follow traditional military plans for entrenchment, largely unchanged since the Second World War. Such constructions are likely to be vulnerable to modern, precision indirect strikes.

'The construction of major defensive lines is further illustration of Russia's reversion to positional warfare that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades,' the defence ministry said.

06:45 , Arpan Rai

Russia will double the number of test launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2023 to eight from four in 2022, Moscow's commander of strategic rocket forces said today.

The eight test flights will be scheduled from two launch sites - one near Murmansk in the north, the other near Volgograd in the south, Sergei Karakayev told military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.

He added that four launches had taken place this year and 'confirmed the high reliability of the missile systems'.

05:55 , Arpan Rai

Ukrainian shelling has killed at least eight people and injured another 23 in the village of Lantrativka in the Russia-controlled Luhansk region this morning, Russian state TASS news agency reported.

Further details of the attack are awaited.

05:46 , Arpan Rai

Russian forces fired four missiles, 23 airstrikes and 78 MLRS attacks against Ukraine in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian general staff said today.

In return, at least 22 strikes were fired on the areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment by Ukrainian aviation along with three strikes on Russian positions of anti-aircraft missile systems, the top military office said.

Two Orlan-10 type drones were also shot down by Ukrainian forces.

05:19 , Arpan Rai

The US is looking to expand its support for Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion as officials in Kyiv present eveidence that Moscow will have another go at the Ukrainian capital in early days of 2023, reported Politico, citing six people aware of the developments.

The Biden administration is contemplating sending other weapons like joint direct attack munition kits, which convert unguided aerial munitions into smart bombs, ground-launched small diameter bombs which will help Ukraine majorly extend its strike range, two US officials and another person familiar with the talks said.

Experts have predicted a slow burning conflict in the winter battle in Ukraine with Russia prolonging the offensive with little gains but by deploying reservists.

04:42 , Arpan Rai

Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian forces shelled Kherson more than 16 times yesterday as the invading forces continued their 'brutal large-scale offensive' in the eastern Donbas region.

The shelling killed two people in the centre of Kherson, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president's office. The attack also knocked out the recaptured city's power grid, officials said.

On the front line in the east, Russia's main focus remained on the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, the Ukrainian military general staff said. Russia is also trying to get a stronger foothold in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine, the top military official said.

04:26 , Arpan Rai

The European Union has approved a new package of sanctions - the ninth since the start of the war in Ukraine - aimed at ramping up pressure on Russia.

This tranche of sanctions designates nearly 200 more people and bars investment in Russia's mining industry, among other steps.

In addition, the EU is offering EUR18bn in financing to Ukraine next year.

'Our joint determination to support Ukraine politically, financially, militarily and in the humanitarian area for as long as necessary remains unbroken,' German chancellor Olaf Scholz said after talks among the 27 national EU leaders in Brussels.

The package was approved after days of deliberations during a meeting of the 27-nation bloc's ambassadors.

The Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, said the package will be confirmed by written procedure on Friday. Details will then be published in the bloc's legal records.

Read the full story here:

EU approves new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine war

04:05 , Lucy Skoulding

Russian forces are looking to launch a new offensive in January along with a second attempt to capture Kyiv, Ukrainian defence officials said citing evidence.

The attacks could come as early as January, Ukrainian general Valery Zaluzhniy and general Oleksandr Syrskiy said yesterday.

"The Russians are preparing some 200,000 fresh troops. I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv," Mr Zaluzhniy told The Economist magazine.

The military push can come from the eastern Donbas area -- where Russia has already battered Ukraine, the south or neighbouring Belarus, along with another ground assault on Kyiv, which Moscow failed to capture early in the invasion, the officials said.

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that the country was seeing mounting evidence that Russia is planning a broad new offensive.

This could come in February, he said, citing the likelihood of half of the conscripted 300,000 troops to enter the war's battlefield after finishing their training.

'The second part of the mobilisation, 150,000 approximately ... do a minimum of three months to prepare. It means they are trying to start the next wave of the offensive probably in February, like last year. That's their plan,' Mr Reznikov told The Guardian.

Earlier this week, Moscow ruled out Volodymyr Zelensky's Christmas truce plea, taking Ukraine to its 11th month of war.

03:23 , Arpan Rai

Good morning, welcome to our coverage of the Ukraine war on Friday, 16 December