Day 328: Ukraine, U.S. top military chiefs meet in person ahead of defense meeting at Ramstein airbase

Death toll of Russian missile strike in Dnipro rises to 45. Of these, six children killed

Forty-five people, including six children were killed in a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro on Saturday, head of the Dnipropetrovska regional military administration Valentyn Reznichenko said, quoting latest reports. “We’ll take revenge for everyone,” he added.

Twenty people remain missing, head of the National Police Ihor Klymenko said. Five children have been left orphans. Three of them are under the guardianship of relatives.

The building was hit by a Russian Kh-22 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, Ukraine’s Air Force command said. The Ukrainian military has no system capable of intercepting and downing this type of missiles.

The missile (NATO designation, AS-4 KITCHEN) is notoriously inaccurate when used against ground targets as its radar guidance system is poor at differentiating targets in urban areas, the British Defence Intelligence said in an update on January 17.

Ukraine’s top military chief Gen. Zaluzhnyi meets with U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Milley for first time in first foreign visit since war

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi met with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley face to face for the first time in Poland.

“Today in Poland, my first personal meeting with General Mark Milley, [U.S.] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff happened,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said, quoting Zaluzhnyi’s press office.

“I extended my gratitude to General Mark Milley for the unwavering support and assistance provided by the United States of America and allies to Ukraine.”

“I outlined the urgent needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine meeting which will accelerate our Victory,” Gen. Zaluzhnyi is cited as saying.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi travelled out of Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting underscores the growing ties between the two militaries and comes at a critical time as Russia’s war with Ukraine nears the one-year mark, the Associated Press said.

Gen. Milley met for a couple of hours with Ukraine’s chief military officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The two leaders have talked frequently about Ukraine’s military needs and the state of the war over the past year but had never met, the AP said.

U.S. Army Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for Milley, told two reporters traveling with the chairman that the two generals felt it was important to meet in person. The reporters did not accompany Milley to the meeting and, under conditions set by the military, agreed to not identify the military base in southeastern Poland where they were located, the Associated Press said.

Milley and Zaluzhnyi’s meeting kicks off a series of high-level gatherings of military and defense leaders this week. Milley and other chiefs of defense will meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, and then the so-called Ukraine Contact Group will gather at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday and Friday. That group consists of about 50 top defense officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and they work to coordinate military contributions to Ukraine, the AP said.

The meeting comes as the international community ramps up the military assistance to Ukraine, including expanded training of Ukrainian troops by the U.S. and the provision of a Patriot missile battery, tanks and increased air defense and other weapons systems by the U.S. and a coalition of European and other nations, the Associated Press reported.

Latest Russian missile strike damages nine power generating units, Ukraine’s Prime Minister says

A major Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s energy system on Saturday, January 14, damaged nine power generating units at thermal power plants, three substations and an overhead power line across the country, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in a cabinet meeting Tuesday.  

The attack damaged a unit at a thermal power plant in the east of Ukraine, and eight units at thermal power facilities in the west, Shmyhal added.

“This has led to an increasing power deficit in the energy system, causing daily emergency blackouts since January 15,” Ukraine’s PM said. 

Yet the Ukrainian energy system withstood the attack, maintaining entirety and control, he added.