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Zelenskyy warns Russia is 'planning something' in south while upping aggression in northern Ukraine

FOX News logo FOX News 11/30/2022 Caitlin McFall
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned during an overnight address that Russia is "planning something" in Ukraine’s southern regions as Russian forces bolster their aggression in the north. 

Despite significant advances Ukrainian forces made in completely repelling Russian troops from the northern Kharkiv region and pushing Russian forces east across the Dnieper River in the southern Kherson region, Zelenskyy looked to sound the alarm in his overnight address Tuesday.

"The situation at the front is difficult," he warned. "Despite extremely big Russian losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance in the Donetsk region, gain a foothold in the Luhansk region, move in the Kharkiv region, they are planning something in the south."

An infographic titled "Russian missile attacks start day in Ukraine" is created in Ankara, Turkiye on Oct 10, 2022. Kyiv said Moscow used missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in airstrikes that started in the morning. Photo by Elmurod Usubaliev/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images © Photo by Elmurod Usubaliev/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images An infographic titled "Russian missile attacks start day in Ukraine" is created in Ankara, Turkiye on Oct 10, 2022. Kyiv said Moscow used missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles in airstrikes that started in the morning. Photo by Elmurod Usubaliev/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

NATO HEAD WARNS RUSSIA USING 'WINTER AS WEAPON OF WAR'

Intense fighting in the Donbas – which includes parts of Luhansk and Dontesk regions – has raged for months. Fighting has intensified in the two regions since Ukraine pushed the front lines further east in September. 

Fox News could not independently verify Zelenskyy’s suggestion that Russian forces are once again looking to advance in Kharkiv, though the northern region has once again seen an increase in shelling according to local reports this week.

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Defense officials have repeatedly pointed to Russia’s inability to advance its ground forces in Ukraine following Kyiv’s recent military gains.

Russia has instead rapidly increased its bombing campaign across Ukraine and has turned to international allies like Iran to assist it as its resources begin to wane. 

A Ukrainian soldier watches a self-propelled 220 mm multiple rocket launcher "Bureviy" firing towards Russian positions on the front line, eastern Ukraine on Nov. 29, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images © Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images A Ukrainian soldier watches a self-propelled 220 mm multiple rocket launcher "Bureviy" firing towards Russian positions on the front line, eastern Ukraine on Nov. 29, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

US CONSIDERS SUPPLYING UKRAINE, EASTERN EUROPEAN ALLIES WITH NEARLY 100-MILE STRIKE WEAPONS

The British defense ministry on Saturday assessed that Russian forces were using unarmed cruise missiles to continue to hit Ukrainian targets. 

The ministry said open source imagery showed that Russian troops were relying on the destruction caused from the blast rather than the larger impact that a warhead would create to continue their bombardment on civilian targets. 

"Whatever Russia's intent, this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia's stock of long range missiles", the ministry said.

When asked about this assessment Tuesday, a senior defense official told reporters that "it's certainly something that they're trying to do to mitigate the effects of the air defense systems that the Ukrainians are employing."

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Oct. 19, 2022. Photo by SERGEI ILYIN/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images © Photo by SERGEI ILYIN/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on Oct. 19, 2022. Photo by SERGEI ILYIN/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

"We are watching Russia continue to double down on its strategy to try to inflict pain on the Ukrainian people to try to break their will," the official said. "We do not believe that they will succeed, but they continue to draw on what stocks they have."

Ukrainian defense officials assess that nearly 89,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine over the last nine months and Zelenskyy said Tuesday that Kyiv believes 100,000 Russian soldiers will have died by the year's end.

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