Drone strikes inside Russia ramp up week after NATO member raised idea

Ukraine: Drones fly directly over Kyiv

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The Kremlin has blamed the Ukrainian army for drone strikes that rocked airfields deep inside Russia on Monday. The explosions at the Engels airbase in Saratov and the Dyagilevo airfield in Ryazan came a short time after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Romania. 

At the summit in Bucharest, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics argued that Ukrainian forces should be given the green light to launch attacks inside Russia in response to the Kremlin’s targetting of civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Mr Rinkevics said: “We should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or airfields from where those operations are being launched.”

The suggestion triggered a strong rebuke from the Russian Embassy in Latvia, calling Mr Rinkevic’s comments “incitement to unleash a large-scale war”.

Putin continues to struggle to make headway in Ukraine amid poor tactics and determined resistance on the ground. 

After the re-capture of Kherson last month, Ukraine has been forecast to inflict further setbacks on Russia.

Retired US commander Mark Hertling told CNN: “I think we’re gonna see because of a variety of factors Ukraine having a cross over the Dnipro river, Russia trying to force mobilise forces to the front.

“Some very good victories recently by Ukraine in both the Northeast and the Southeast. I think we’re going to see a little bit of slowing down, but Ukraine continues to defend well and fight and gain more ground.”

He added: “What we’re seeing and what’s been reported by both CNN and the Washington Post is this potential opportunity to train large numbers of Ukrainian forces at some of the US training areas

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“Which will create the capability for Russia for Ukrainian forces to counter what we’ve seen so far as very poor Russian tactics and capabilities.

“If Ukraine can train these large amounts of forces armed forces in combined arms operations, I think we’ll continue to see Ukraine getting more and more victories as the days go on.”

The retired US commander also believes Ukraine is “holding the upper hand” against Russia in terms of fighting in winter.

Temperatures are falling in Ukraine with soldiers on both sides facing fighting in freezing conditions.

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Mr Hertling told CNN: “The weather plays an equal part on both sides truthfully, but what you’re talking about is the preparedness and the discipline within the force.

“What we’ve seen in the Russian force so far is a lack of discipline, a lack of leadership, poorly equipped.

“They’re not prepared to address the kinds of things that are associated with winter warfare oil for equipment, the kinds of things you need to stay dry, the uniforms that will keep you warm.

“What NATO is providing Ukraine right now is the type of uniforms they need to sustain themselves.”

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