Putin asks his commanders how Russia’s campaign in Ukraine should proceed


President Vladimir Putin has sought proposals from his armed forces commanders on how they think Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine should proceed during a visit to the operation’s headquarters, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

In video footage released by the Kremlin, Putin presided at a meeting of around a dozen people at a circular table, flanked by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and military Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Putin was then shown at the head of another conference table at the joint task force headquarters, inviting suggestions from a number of military commanders.

“We will listen to the commanders in each operational direction, and I would like to hear your proposals on our immediate and medium-term actions,” Putin said.

Putin, in a suit and tie, sits behind a table, at a distance from five men in green military uniforms. Their table is perpendicular to Putin's. The table is covered in documents.
The meeting’s location was not disclosed. (Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/Kremlin/The Associated Press)

Air Force Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, was also shown attending the meetings in still photographs on the Kremlin website.

Putin spent the whole of Friday at the task force headquarters, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency.

No other details of Putin’s visit or the location of the headquarters were reported.

Water back on in Kyiv

Meanwhile, the mayor of Ukraine’s capital said early Saturday the city’s subway system was back in service and that all residents had been reconnected to water supply a day after the latest wave of Russian air strikes on critical infrastructure.

Ukrainian officials said Russia fired more than 70 missiles on Friday in one of its biggest attacks since the Kremlin’s Feb. 24 invasion, forcing emergency blackouts nationwide.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko also said heating had been restored to half the city and electricity had been returned to two-thirds.

A figure in the middle distance, hood up, walks through the dark, with buildings, trees and a vehicle with illuminated headlights in the background.
A woman crosses the street during a snowfall amid a power outage in Ukraine on Friday. (Felipe Dana/The Associated Press)

“But schedules of emergency outages are being implemented,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Because the deficit of electricity is significant.”

Klitschko had warned of an “apocalypse” scenario for the Ukrainian capital earlier this month if Russian airstrikes on infrastructure continued but also said there was no need yet for people to evacuate.

“We are fighting and doing everything we can to make sure that this does not happen,” he told Reuters on Dec. 7.

Boy’s body pulled from rubble

Rescuers recovered the body of a one-year-old boy from the rubble of a Russian strike on a residential building in the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, the regional governor said on Saturday.

“It is difficult to write about something like this,” Valentyn Reznichenko said on the Telegram messaging app of the Friday morning attack, which he said killed four people in total.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the officials’ comments.

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