Putin meets with military leaders while Russian missiles hit cities. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, met with his military leaders on the same day that his troops fired more missiles at Ukraine's infrastructure.
Mr. Putin spent most of Friday at the headquarters of the "special military operation," where he talked with other people about what Russia should do next. Some Ukrainian military officials had said that Russia was planning an attack, maybe early next year.
Attacks by Russia on Ukraine's power grid have put millions of people in the dark. On either side of Mr. Putin at the meeting on Friday were Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the Armed Forces Valeriy Gerasimov.
On state TV, the leader of the Kremlin was seen telling military officials:
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.- Russian President Vladimir Putin
Gen. Gerasimov's appearance puts an end to online rumors that he had been fired from his job. Hawkish commentators have said that the 67-year-old is too cautious, which has drawn a lot of criticism.
Photos from state media showed that Air Force general Sergei Surovikin, who was put in charge of Russia's forces in Ukraine in October, was also at the meeting.
In the past few months, Ukrainian forces have made a number of big gains, including retaking Kherson, which is the only regional capital that Russian forces have taken control of so far.
When Moscow's forces in eastern Ukraine fell apart earlier this year, pro-Kremlin media figures criticized the military leaders over and over again.
Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who is in charge of Ukraine's military, said that Moscow might try to start a new offensive at the beginning of 2023. This led to the meeting. He said that Russia was getting ready to attack with about 200,000 troops.
I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv. I know how many combat units I have right now, how many combat units I have to create by the end of the year - and, most importantly, not to touch them in any way now. No matter how hard it is.- Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who is in charge of Ukraine's military
He also said that the attack could come from Belarus or "in the direction of Kyiv."
One of Vladimir Putin's generals Valeriy Gerasimov wearing his uniform
In February, Russian troops crossed the border from Belarus and moved toward Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of the country, has denied many times that his troops will join the invasion. However, thousands of Russian troops are currently in the country for "intensive combat training," as the defense ministry in Moscow put it.
On Monday, Mr. Putin will go to Minsk to see his friend who is from Belarus.
Analysts have questioned Russia's ability to start a new offensive against the Ukrainian capital, but White House spokesperson John Kirby said that US intelligence officials "aren't seeing any indication that there's an imminent move on Kyiv".
Senior US defense officials told the news agency Reuters that Russia had to use old weapons with a high failure rate because it was running out of supplies.
They also said that "the rate of fire that Russia has been using its artillery and rocket ammunition" could mean that they will run out of good weapons by the beginning of 2023.
Also, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that power had been turned back on for nearly six million people after the latest round of Russian attacks on the country's energy grid.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, said that the city's metro system and water supply had both been turned back on.
He also sent pictures of a big Christmas tree that had been changed to fit the needs of a wartime winter on Telegram. He said that energy-saving bulbs that are powered by a generator will be used to light the tree.
Authorities say that power has also been turned back on in Kharkiv, the second largest city in the country. It had been out for hours after a wave of strikes on Friday shut down power plants all over the country.
Since the attacks on power infrastructure started on October 10, Russia has fired more than 1,000 missiles and attack drones made in Iran. Some world leaders, like French President Emmanuel Macron, have called the strikes a war crime.
The UK's Ministry of Defense says that Russia's long-range attacks on Ukraine's important infrastructure have "stepped up" in recent days.