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Ukraine’s fight in the sky shows no sign of stopping; ‘We need to be one step ahead’ of Russia, says official

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“The war never goes on holidays. The war doesn’t celebrate Christmas,” Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak told Fox Digital about the possibility of a ceasefire before Ukraine celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7.

“Think about the worst kind of behavior that you can imagine and multiply it by five, and you will get the idea of what Russians are capable of — nothing would surprise me,”said Sak.

On Monday, Russian forces launched a series of drone attacks that demolished power plants and other electrical facilities in the Kyiv region, despite the Ukrainian army shooting down the majority of the drones with their air defense system.

A view of dark streets in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 17, 2022.
(Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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The battleground in Ukraine has gone airborne — with the Ukrainian military requesting more missiles and rockets from the international community to combat Russian drone strikes that have crippled the nation’s power sources and left millions of Ukrainian civilians in the dark. 

“If we get systems and missiles that allow us to strike, we aim even further beyond the enemy lines,” said Sak. “This, of course, will mean that their ability to terrorize our people and our cities will decrease even more. And this will create room necessary for our counteroffensive.”

Ukrainian soldiers fire a Pion artillery system at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Dec. 16, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a Pion artillery system at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Dec. 16, 2022.
(AP Photo/LIBKOS)

Now, there are renewed concerns that Russia could strike from Belarus, where the Russian military staged its first attack on Kyiv in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus and met with President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Monday, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“Belarus is not merely our good neighbor, with whom we are working, taking into account each other’s interests over the past decades,” said Putin. “But Belarus is definitely our ally in the most direct sense of this word.”

Russia has maintained a close-knit relationship with Belarus in the past few months, with the country supplying the Russian forces with missiles and equipment. The Russian military also has up to 15,000 troops in Belarus.

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“It’s a matter of when and not if,” Hudson Institute Senior Foreign Policy Fellow Luke Coffey said of an attack from Belarus on Fox News Live. “There are two main scenarios: you see another attack on the capital of Kyiv … or we could see forces from Belarus head into western Ukraine to disrupt the supply lines that NATO and the U.S. have been using from Poland.”

The Pentagon is examining a plan to send a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine. Military contractor Raytheon Technologies Corp. told Fox News that the package would contain “manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles.”

“So, when we are asking our partners and primarily the U.S., for example, to provide Ukraine with ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles, we need those not to strike Russia on their own territory. We need those to conduct our military operations with lesser risk for our own military personnel,” said Sak.

The Patriot missile program reportedly does not contain any Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, which have a range of 185 miles. However, the package does contain missiles that have a 100-mile range — which the Kremlin calls “a provocative move by the U.S.”

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National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby shot back at the Kremlin’s comments last week, saying that “it is focused on defense — it’s about helping them defend themselves.”

Despite discussions with the Pentagon and the White House, the Patriot program for Ukraine is not finalized — but sources tell Fox News that there is an announcement expected this week.

Despite discussions with the Pentagon and the White House, the Patriot program for Ukraine is not finalized — but sources tell Fox News that there is an announcement expected this week.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Despite discussions with the Pentagon and the White House, the Patriot program is not finalized — but sources tell Fox News that there is an announcement expected this week.

“There is talk about, you know, the possibility of Ukraine receiving Patriot air defense systems from the U.S. … Now we know that Russia is talking to Iran with a view to acquiring from Iran more ballistic missiles. So, this is a race in which we need to be one step ahead,” said Sak.

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Nana Sajaia contributed to this report.

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