Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the joint staff of troops involved in Russia's military operation in Ukraine on December 17, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin has sought proposals from his armed forces commanders on how they think Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine should proceed during a visit to the operation’s headquarters, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

In video footage released by the Kremlin, Putin presided at a meeting of around a dozen people at a circular table, flanked by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and military Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Putin was then shown at the head of another conference table at the joint task force headquarters, inviting suggestions from a number of military commanders.

“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,” Putin said.

Air Force General Sergei Surovikin, the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, was also shown attending the meetings in still photographs on the Kremlin website.

Putin spent the whole of Friday at the task force headquarters, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency.

No other details of Putin’s visit or the location of the headquarters were reported.

Cities in darkness

Meanwhile, Ukraine worked on Saturday to restore electricity and water supplies after Russia’s latest wave of attacks pitched multiple cities into darkness and forced people to endure sub-zero temperatures without heating or running water.

In the capital Kyiv, the metro had stopped running so that people wrapped in winter coats could take shelter at underground stations after air raid sirens rang out on Friday morning.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said the metro service was relaunched early Saturday and water supply had been restored.

However, a third of Kyiv residents were still without power, Klitschko added.

Power was also restored throughout the eastern city of Kharkiv on Saturday, regional governor Oleg Sinegubov said, after the strikes left Ukraine’s second city without electricity.

Ukraine’s national energy provider imposed emergency blackouts, saying on Saturday that the energy system “continues to recover”.

Ukrenergo had warned the extent of the damage in the north, south and centre of the country meant it could take longer to restore supplies than after previous attacks.

Russia fired 74 missiles - mainly cruise missiles - on Friday, 60 of which were shot down by anti-aircraft defences, according to the Ukrainian army.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strikes left hit power and water supplies in Kyiv and 14 regions.

In the central city of Kryvyi Rig, where Zelensky was born, the air strikes hit a residential building.

Moscow has said the strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure are a response to an explosion on the Kerch bridge connecting the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula, annexed from Ukraine in 2014.