‘Hybrid war’ with West will last a ‘long time’
The Kremlin said yesterday that Russia's confrontation with hostile states and what it called a "hybrid war" being waged against it by the West would last a long time.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the prediction when asked how long what Russia calls it "special military operation" in Ukraine would last.
"If you are referring to a war in a broader context, a confrontation with hostile states, a hybrid war against our country, then it is going to last for a long time," Peskov told reporters.
"And here we need to be resolute and self-confident and to consolidate around the president," he said.
On the battlefield, Ukraine struck a railway depot and knocked out power in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, deep behind the front line, amid growing talk from Kyiv of a counterassault against Russian forces worn out by a failed winter offensive.
Unverified images on the internet showed explosions lighting up the night sky with streaks of contrails in Melitopol, base of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhia, one of five Ukrainian provinces Russia claims to have annexed.
Ukraine's exiled mayor of the city confirmed that there were explosions there. Russia's state TASS news agency, citing Moscow-installed officials, said a railway depot was destroyed and power knocked out to the city and nearby villages.
Melitopol, with a pre-war population of around 150,000, is a railway logisitics hub for Russian forces in southern Ukraine and part of the land bridge linking Russia to the occupied Crimea peninsula.
The strikes come as Kyiv has suggested it could soon mount a counterattack against Russian forces who have failed to secure any big victories in a months-long offensive that saw the bloodiest fighting of the war, reports Reuters.
The chief of the UN atomic watchdog said yesterday he was working on a security plan for the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and warned of increased military activity around it.
During a rare visit to Europe's largest nuclear plant currently controlled by Russian forces, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said he was working to find a compromise that would suit both Moscow and Kyiv.
"The idea is to agree on certain principles, certain commitments, including not to attack the plant," Grossi told AFP during a press tour organised by Moscow.
Russian officials say their forces are still capturing ground in street-by-street fighting inside Bakhmut, the small eastern city that has been their main target for months.
But they have failed so far to encircle it and force the Ukrainians to withdraw, as had seemed likely weeks ago.
British military intelligence said yesterday the Ukrainians had successfully pushed the Russians back from the main supply route to Bakhmut and Russian assaults in the city were lessening.