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    Ukraine’s Strikes on Targets Inside Russia Hurt Putin’s Efforts to Show the War Isn’t Hitting Home

    Ukraine’s Strikes on Targets Inside Russia Hurt Putin’s Efforts to Show the War Isn’t Hitting Home

    The wail of raid sirens is commonplace in Belgorod, a Russian border city whose residents are on edge following a Ukrainian missile attack on a New Year's holiday weekend that left dozens of people dead and injured.

    A spectacular explosion rocked a huge fuel export terminal on the Baltic Sea southwest of St. Petersburg this month from a Ukrainian drone, forcing the energy company Novatek to suspend operations for several days.

    Last week, an apparent drone attack in the Black Sea port of Tuapse in the southern Krasnodar region hit one of 's largest refineries and ignited a fire, while another big refinery in the Volga River city of Yaroslavl, north of came under attack early Monday, but officials said there was no damage.

    There also have been strikes on a gunpowder factory in the Tambov region and arms producers and facilities in the Bryansk, Smolensk and Tula regions.

    Attacks like these are dealing a heavy blow to President Vladimir Putin's attempts to reassure Russians that life in the country is largely untouched by the nearly 2-year-old war.

    “Ukraine has increased its capacity to strike back against Russia,” Michael Kofman, a military expert with the Carnegie Endowment, said in a recent podcast.

    “You see increased Ukrainian attacks against Russian critical infrastructure, retaliatory attacks against cities like Belgorod and greater strikes against Russian military base in Crimea,” he said.


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