Kiev arrests bloggers for showing air defense failures

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Local police say four Ukrainian people were arrested after sharing recordings of Russian airstrikes on the Kiev region, and they could face charges for “adjusting enemy fire.” Earlier this week, Moscow targeted various military locations near Kiev, however the Ukrainian military claimed to have intercepted the majority of the missiles.

In a social media post on Wednesday, Ukraine’s SBU security service announced the arrests, alleging the four anonymous bloggers had “made an unauthorised video recording” of Russian strikes and disseminated the material online.

“The Security Service emphasises once again the prohibition of shooting and publishing video and photo materials regarding the activities of the Defence Forces, as well as the consequences of enemy strikes,” the agency added, adding, “The publication of such media files is strictly prohibited.”

The strikes, according to the SBU, occurred on January 2 as part of a “massive Russian missile and drone attack” on Kiev.

The operation was described by Russia’s Defence Ministry as a “group strike with long-range precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles on enterprises of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex,” adding that it targeted arms-manufacturing sites in the capital area.

Although purported footage of the strikes has circulated online, it is unclear whether the films were obtained by any of those arrested on Wednesday. Some of the footage appears to portray strikes in progress, while others appear to depict the aftermath of attacks.

On that day, the Ukrainian military claimed to have intercepted almost all incoming projectiles, including ten out of ten hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. Moscow previously ridiculed Kiev for exaggerating the effectiveness of its anti-aircraft defenses and claiming to intercept three times as many projectiles as Moscow actually launches. Moscow also repeatedly accused Kiev of deploying its air defense systems in residential districts, resulting in casualties among civilians.

Moscow increased its missile and drone strikes after Ukraine launched an attack on the Russian border city of Belgorod last week, killing 25 people, including several children, and wounded over 100, according to local officials. Kiev also shelled Donetsk, a frequent target of the Ukrainian military since 2014, in the early hours of January 1, killing four people and injured 13.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised retaliation for the “terrorist attacks,” pledging to intensify strikes against Ukrainian military infrastructure while emphasising that Moscow has no intention of targeting civilians.