Ukraine war: Russian defence minister visits troops, reviews situation on battlefront

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu inspected the country’s troops involved in the Ukraine offensive, his ministry said on Sunday. According to a statement issued by the ministry on Telegram, “Shoigu made a working trip to the Southern Military District and inspected the troops in the areas of the special military operation.”

Shoigu interacted with Russian servicemen on the frontline and received reports from commanders on the current situation and the actions of the troops in operational areas.

A video shared with the statement showed Shoigu aboard a military helicopter and some aerial shots of unidentified empty stretches of land.

The ministry did not mention where the visit took place or if the defence minister had also visited Ukraine. 

The defence ministry’s announcement comes a day after the Kremlin said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the country’s top military brass overseeing the war in Ukraine. Sergei Shoigu was a part of this meeting.

“On Friday, the President spent the whole day at the army staff involved in the special military operation in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said on Saturday. Footage of the meeting showed Putin presiding over a round-table meeting with Shoigu, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov among other top brass. 

The meeting came as Russia launched a barrage of missiles in Ukraine on Friday with multiple cities plunging into darkness, cutting water and heat and forcing people to endure sub-zero temperatures. Since October, Russia has pursued aerial attacks in Ukraine, after facing a series of battlefield defeats.  

On Saturday, Ukrainian authorities were working to restore electricity and water supplies after Friday’s missile strikes, a report by news agency AFP said. Later in the day, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that electricity was restored to almost six million citizens but noted the ongoing problems with heat and water supplies. 

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