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Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 296 of the invasion

Ukraine defence minister says half of mobilised Russians are being prepared more thoroughly for new offensive in coming months

Vladimir Putin is preparing for a major new offensive in the new year, Ukraine’s defence minister has said. In an interview with the Guardian, Oleksii Reznikov, said evidence was emerging that the Kremlin was preparing a broad new campaign despite a series of humiliating battlefield setbacks for Russia in recent months. Referring to Russia’s partial mobilisation of about 300,000 soldiers, Reznikov suggested that while half – often after receiving minimal training – were being used to reinforce Moscow’s forces now, the remainder were being prepared more thoroughly for future offensives.

The head of Ukraine’s armed forces believes Russia will make a renewed attempt at capturing the capital, Kyiv, after its previous attack was repelled earlier this year. In an interview with the Economist, Gen Valeriy Zaluzhny said he was trying to prepare for Russian forces to have another go at taking the city, possibly in February or March.

Russian shelling killed two people, including a Red Cross worker, in Kherson on Thursday and completely cut power in the southern city, Ukrainian officials said, with temperatures near freezing. Moscow-allied officials in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, meanwhile, said they had come under some of the heaviest shelling in years from Ukrainian forces, leaving one person dead.

Russia is to double the number of test launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles to eight next year from four in 2022, the commander of strategic rocket forces was quoted as saying on Friday. Sergei Karakayev told the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda that the eight test flights would be scheduled from two launch sites – one near Murmansk in the north, the other near Volgograd in the south.

A Russian airbase in Kursk was struck on Wednesday night, a senior Ukrainian official has said. Anton Gerashchenko, a senior presidential adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, posted a series of updates on Telegram, saying an “unknown drone” struck the military facility.

The US military announced it would expand training in Germany of Ukrainian military personnel. Starting in January, 500 troops a month would be trained, building on more than 15,000 Ukrainians trained by the US and its allies since April.

Electricity blackouts due to Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure are crippling its economy, including in key sectors such as mining and manufacturing. The report in the Washington Post said Ukraine needed another $2bn a month on top of the $55bn already projected for next year to meet basic expenses.

An €18bn EU finance package for Ukraine looks likely to go ahead after Poland dropped its opposition. Diplomats from Warsaw had objected to a minimum corporate tax level, which diplomats had told Reuters had “blindsided” those negotiating the deals. They, and Lithuania, had also argued for tighter restrictions on their neighbour Russia.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the next six months of the conflict with Russia will be “decisive”. In an online address to the European Council on Thursday, Ukraine’s president said: “The next six months will be decisive in many respects in the confrontation Russia started with their aggression.”

Vladimir Putin has said Russia will try to overcome the financial impact of western sanctions by selling gas to its eastern neighbours. In a televised speech he said Russia would develop its economic ties with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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