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Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine has raged on for over 7 months, bringing devastating destruction across the sovereign nation. As the war drags into a grueling new phase, both sides are digging in for protracted battles along the frontlines. Recent Ukrainian strikes in Russian-occupied Crimea showcase Kyiv’s enduring ability to inflict damage on Moscow’s forces despite slow progress reclaiming territory.

New E.U. Sanctions Against Russia Split Member States

According to CNN, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in an interview with Russian state media TASS on Friday that new European Union sanctions on Russia are unnecessary and “cause more harm to Europe than Russia.”

Szijjártó argued the sanctions have had minimal impact on Moscow while damaging E.U. countries. He cited potential Ukrainian grain imports to Central Europe as a threat to local farmers. Poland and Slovakia have also enacted restrictions on Ukrainian grain shipments, despite the E.U. declining to extend a ban on such imports to member states Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, and Slovakia.

Hungary remains open to allowing duty-free Ukrainian grain transit under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. However, Szijjártó asserted the original agreement only involved transit permission, not bilateral trade. His statements expose ongoing divisions within the E.U. over sanctioning Russia as the invasion drags on.

Analysis: Crimea Strikes Reveal Ukraine’s Enduring Military Capabilities

According to military analyst Tim Lister writing for CNN, Ukraine’s recent audacious missile strikes on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in occupied Crimea highlight Kyiv’s capabilities to keep inflicting serious harm on Moscow’s forces through targeted strikes on logistics, command, and infrastructure.

The attacks also have immense symbolic value given Crimea’s illegal annexation by Russia in 2014. Degrading the combat effectiveness of the Black Sea Fleet to disrupt its support for ground operations remains a strategic priority for Ukraine.

Lister notes Ukraine has made a concerted effort to erode Russian air defenses in Crimea, enabling missiles to penetrate deeper into the peninsula. While some U.S. officials have questioned Ukraine’s focus on Crimea, Kyiv contends degrading the Black Sea Fleet through any means possible remains a worthy endeavor.

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Overall, the analysis underscores Ukraine’s endurance and technical prowess despite recent setbacks in its counteroffensive, proving Russian control of occupied areas is far from secure.

Ukrainian General Claims Forces Punched Through Russian Lines in Verbove

According to CNN, General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, who is leading Ukraine’s southern counteroffensive, announced Ukrainian troops have achieved a breakthrough in the village of Verbove. He said forces continue advancing despite slower than expected progress overall.

Tarnavsky’s statement aligns with recent claims by Ukrainian officials of penetrating the initial Russian defensive positions in the Zaporizhzhia region. However, occupation authorities dispute this account. Open-source analysis lends credence to Ukraine puncturing the Russian frontline near Verbove.

If confirmed, the breakthrough would bring Ukrainian units closer to cutting the Russian ground transit link between eastern territories and annexed Crimea. Ukraine sees severing this “land bridge” as essential to reclaiming the south. Battles are expected soon for vital high ground near Novoprokopivka.

While caution is warranted given the challenges Ukraine faces, the purported advance near Verbove marks the latest sign of incremental progress in the hard-fought southern counteroffensive.

Overnight Bombardments Across Ukraine Leave 1 Dead, 3 Wounded

Overnight from Friday to Saturday, heavy Russian artillery and drone bombardments struck targets across Ukraine’s southern and central regions. According to regional military officials, one person died and three others were injured in the attacks.

Head of Kherson’s military administration Oleksandr Prokudin reported Russia hit the region with nearly 600 shells over 24 hours. The barrage killed one civilian and wounded three more using a variety of weaponry, also damaging homes, hospitals, schools, and a prison.

Serhii Lysak, head of Dnipropetrovsk’s military administration, said the city of Dnipro itself sustained strikes from Iranian Shahed drones, disrupting critical infrastructure. Other districts were shelled, demolishing houses and gas lines. No casualties were reported in Dnipropetrovsk.

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The attacks represent Russia’s continued campaign to batter civilian areas and critical infrastructure. As winter approaches, the bombings seem intended to exacerbate Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis and break its population’s will to resist.

Poland Demands Ukraine “Never Insult Poles Again” After Grain Dispute Comments

Tensions flared Friday between Ukraine and staunch ally Poland over restrictions on grain exports after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggested Poland’s stance was mere posturing.

According to CNN, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki blasted Zelensky’s remarks as unacceptable, saying he must “never again insult Poles” after recent disputes over Poland limiting Ukrainian grain transports.

Previously one of Kyiv’s most vociferous supporters, Poland banned grain exports outside the E.U. last month, impacting Ukraine. Zelensky complained Poland and other states were playing “political games” around the issue.

As Ukraine’s largest aid donor, Poland was infuriated by the accusations. The spat reveals friction even among Kyiv’s closest allies as the war’s consequences reverberate. Strong unity will be required to maintain international backing for Ukraine against Russian aggression.

Zelensky Says Russia Blocking Access to Medicines in Occupied Areas

During his nightly address Friday, President Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately blocking access to medicines and medical supplies in occupied regions of southern Ukraine.

Zelensky said Russian forces chronically obstruct and delay shipments of insulin, antibiotics, and other critical drugs to cities like Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. He contends Moscow is endangering lives in an effort to stoke desperation and opposition to Kyiv.

CNN cannot independently confirm the allegations. However, human rights groups have warned of severe medical shortages in occupied areas. Zelensky argues Russia’s blockade of medicines constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.

The Ukrainian leader’s statements align with frequent accusations that Moscow deliberately weaponizes lack of access to essential goods and services in occupied areas to apply pressure on local populations.

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Russia Claims Ukrainan Missile Strike on Crimea Killed Soldier

After initially reporting no casualties from Friday’s major Ukrainian missile strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the occupied Crimean port city of Sevastopol, Moscow came out Saturday to claim the attack killed one soldier.

According to state media, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced the death of a soldier and said additional personnel were being evacuated from the site. The ministry claimed minor damage to buildings and infrastructure at the naval facility.

However, Ukrainian sources reported dozens killed and wounded, including senior officers — which would mark one of the costliest attacks Moscow has endured on home soil. The differing accounts are difficult to independently verify.

Nonetheless, the audacious strike on a core Russian military site in Crimea represents a significant escalation and propaganda victory for Ukraine. It follows a series of attacks on high-value targets in the illegally annexed peninsula.

In Sum, Recent Developments Show Russia’s Invasion Entering More Perilous Chapter

From Ukrainian strikes deep behind enemy lines to grinding battles along entrenched frontline positions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has transitioned into a perilous new phase defined by incremental gains and acute attrition for both sides.

As the war stretches into its eighth month, advantages shift back and forth. But Ukraine’s resilience continues to defy expectations, buoyed by Western aid. With sanctions squeezing Moscow’s economy and no peaceful resolution in sight, the coming months promise more bloodshed.

Yet strategic Ukrainian strikes on Russian military assets signal that while slow, progress is being made. Despite immense suffering, the nation’s courage and refusal to yield continue providing hope during Europe’s darkest hour since World War II. Stay with us for ongoing coverage of the war and its global impact.

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