Situation as of 8:00 on December 15, 2022
Russian troops continue assault operations in Donetsk region, and also try to hold back the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Luhansk region, strengthening their positions.
The Russian military conducts indiscriminate artillery and missile strikes along the front line; uses kamikaze drones to strike deep into the territory of Ukraine.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine conduct strikes on the military infrastructure of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories, using high-precision weapons. Their efforts are focused on the destruction of logistics routes of Russian troops near Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia region), which may indicate that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing for an offensive in this direction.
Explosions were also recorded on the territory of military facilities in the border regions of the Russian Federation. According to Russian media, on December 13, missile strikes were carried out on two military units – in the town of Klintsy and the village of Klimovo (Bryansk region). In the evening of December 14, there were explosions near the airfield of Kursk.
On December 13, an international donor conference “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people” aimed at supporting civil resilience in Ukraine during the winter period was held in Paris. The event, dubbed the “energy Ramstein”, aims to coordinate financial assistance to Ukraine to rebuild and deal with the consequences of Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.
Positional fighting continues on the Svatove-Kreminna line. Russian sources report that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are preparing to continue the offensive, and counterattacks of Russian troops near Kreminna.
Russian troops are storming Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, Mariinka and Bakhmut. The capture of Bakhmut remains the main goal of the Wagner PMC, which is trying to demonstrate success against the backdrop of the Russian army’s failures in recent months. The shelling of the civilian infrastructure of Donetsk region continues, as a result of which at least 5 people were killed and 22 people were wounded on the territory of the region on December 12-14.
The situation on the frontline remains essentially unchanged. Russian troops are shelling the territory of Zaporizhzhia region. Ukrainian Armed Forces strike at logistics routes and locations of the Russian military in the temporarily occupied territories. A bridge was blown up in the suburbs of Melitopol, which is important for the transportation of Russian military equipment from the eastern direction. Also in the afternoon of December 13, an explosion was recorded in the center of Melitopol. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that the leadership of the 58th Russian Army was hit in the city.
Russian troops continue massive artillery shelling of the right bank of Kherson region. On December 12 they attacked several districts of Kherson. Two medical institutions were damaged. According to preliminary information, 3 people were killed and 15 others were wounded in the region that day. On December 13, 1 person was killed and 1 resident was injured in Kherson region. On December 14, Russian troops shelled the building of Kherson Regional Military Administration with rocket artillery. According to preliminary information, on that day at least 3 people (including a child) were killed and several more were injured in Kherson region.
Shelling of Ukrainian territory
Russia is again actively using Iranian Shahed UAVs. In particular, on December 14, there were two waves of attacks on Kyiv and the region. Ukrainian air defense forces responded effectively, shooting down all 13 drones involved in the attack. However, debris from the downed UAVs damaged an administrative building and several residential properties.
Russian military continues to carry out artillery, rocket and mortar attacks on the border settlements of Kharkiv region. In particular, on the night of December 13, Russian troops attacked the city of Kupiansk using S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. They also fired at an ambulance that was on its way to the city.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights updated the information on civilian casualties as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. As of December 12, the confirmed losses amount to 17,362 people (6755 killed, 10607 wounded).
Human Rights Watch stated that massive strikes of Russian troops on Ukrainian energy infrastructure are aimed at terrorizing the civilian population, in violation of the laws of war. In addition, during these strikes at least 77 civilians were killed and another 272 people were injured. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, only on November 23, 2022, more than 30 civilians were injured as a result of Russian strikes, and millions of people across Ukraine were temporarily left without electricity. The entire population of Kyiv (approximately 3 million people) was left without water for a day. Some areas of Kyiv, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia and Odesa regions were completely deprived of electricity.
Also, according to Human Rights Watch, Russian troops, after retreating from Kherson, struck at least three densely populated areas of the city, allegedly using cluster munitions. These and other attacks on Kherson resulted in civilian casualties.
The problem of mine threat in the territories liberated from Russian occupation remains acute. In particular, after the de-occupation, 36 people, including 2 children, sought medical assistance in the city of Izium, Kharkiv region, with injuries caused by explosive devices. Unfortunately, 10 injured persons did not manage to save their lower limbs. Also, a person was injured by a Russian-made anti-personnel mine in Kyiv region. On December 12, 3 pyrotechnics were killed during demining in Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk district, and 2 more are in hospital. According to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, employees of the State Emergency Service and the National Police have defused more than 480 thousand explosive devices.
Law enforcement officers continue to record war crimes of the Russian military on Ukrainian territories. Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, investigators of the National Police have initiated 48,370 criminal proceedings on the facts of crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine by servicemen of the Russian armed forces and their accomplices. In particular, the bodies of 3 underage girls who died as a result of Russian shelling were exhumed in the village of Novopetrivka, Mykolaiv region.
Also, since the beginning of the full-scale military aggression of the Russian Federation, prosecutors have recorded 154 cases of CRSV (conflict-related sexual violence). Six servicemen of the Russian armed forces have already been notified of suspicion. Indictments against 2 persons were sent to court, 1 person was convicted.
On December 14, another prisoner exchange took place, which resulted in the return of 64 Ukrainian servicemen from Russian captivity. It was also possible to release a civilian who is a citizen of the United States. Among the released servicemen there are seriously wounded. In addition, the bodies of 4 Ukrainian servicemen were returned.
Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets reminded about the large number of civilians held hostage by the Russian military. The Ombudsman’s Office records that some of the prisoners are returned to the territory of Ukraine – to Crimea, and some are left in the Russian Federation. The head of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration Oleksandr Starukh said that the Russian military are holding more than 230 residents of Zaporizhzhia region hostage.
The Russian military continues to prevent evacuation of civilians through the checkpoint in Vasylivka, Zaporizhzhia region. Over the last day only 9 people managed to leave.
Advisor to Mariupol Mayor Petro Andriushchenko reported that the Russian military demolished entire blocks in the Livoberezhnyi, Prymorskyi and Tsentralnyi districts of the temporarily occupied Mariupol. More than 100 thousand residents remain in the city. Many people continue to stay in the basements of damaged buildings, some live in tents. There is no heating in buildings that are still standing and/or damaged.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is at risk due to a critical shortage of manpower and uncertain backup power supply. Of the 11 thousand employees who worked at the facility before the full-scale Russian invasion, only 4 thousand left. In an attempt to stop the outflow of personnel, the Russian military sent lists of personnel to all checkpoints in the region with orders not to allow them to leave its territory.
According to a report by Reporters Without Borders published on December 14, at least 8 journalists were killed in Ukraine during the first six months of the full-scale war.
On December 12, in the temporarily occupied Skadovsk, Kherson region, a car belonging to Vitalii Buliuk, a former deputy of the Kherson regional council who currently works in the occupation administration of the region, was blown up. As a result, the driver of the car was killed; Buliuk himself was injured.
The World Bank is calculating the damage caused to the Ukrainian economy by the Russian full-scale invasion. According to the Bank, restoration of the damaged infrastructure of Ukraine will cost more than $500 billion. According to the results of 2022, a significant increase in poverty in Ukraine is expected – from 2 to 25% of the population.
At the economic forum in Paris, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal said that the losses of the Ukrainian economy due to the war will increase to $700 billion by the end of the year. If Russia’s massive missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure continue, Ukraine’s economy will fall by another 3-9% in 2023, after a more than 30% drop in GDP this year.
World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Anna Bjerde declared that by the end of 2022 Ukraine will receive another $1.7 billion from the institution.
POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC EVENTS
The EU reached an agreement to allocate €18 billion in financial support to Ukraine in 2023. Members of the European Parliament voted in favor of the regulation allowing to provide the corresponding aid package in the form of joint lending.
On December 12, an online summit of the G7 leaders took place. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi delivered a speech in which he called to strengthen defense assistance to Ukraine and help maintain energy stability. The Head of State also proposed to convene a special summit – Global Peace Formula Summit – to determine the mechanism for implementing the points of the Ukrainian “peace formula”. The meeting resulted in the adoption of the joint statement of the G7 Heads of State that mentions the establishment of the multilateral donor coordination platform to provide assistance to Ukraine. In addition, the participants of the meeting agreed to strengthen the air defense of Ukraine and bring to justice those guilty of war crimes.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal paid a working visit to France, where on December 12 he addressed the members of the French Parliament. On December 13, the Head of the Ukrainian Government took part in the opening of the international conference “Solidarity with the Ukrainian people” in support of civil resilience in Ukraine during the winter period. The Head of Government called on partners to increase the supply of air defense systems and energy equipment for Ukraine. The event was also attended by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi (online) and President of France Emmanuel Macron. As a result of the international conference, it was possible to attract $1 billion in assistance from international partners, which will strengthen Ukraine and support its citizens during the winter period. A considerable part of this amount – about €400 million – will be directed to support the Ukrainian energy sector. Particularly, the European Commission will finance about 30 million LED lamps for Ukraine, and a total of 50 million such lamps are planned to be sent to Ukraine.
The President of Ukraine continues to develop dialogue with international partners to strengthen support for Ukraine. In particular, Volodymyr Zelenskyi had a phone conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, discussing the implementation of the “formula for peace”, strengthening food security through the development of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the “Grain from Ukraine” program, as well as the invitation of UN experts to Ukrainian energy facilities. In addition, the Head of State delivered an online address to the Parliament of New Zealand inviting the country to join the implementation of the “formula of peace”, particularly the item on combating ecocide.
More and more countries recognize the actions of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine as criminal. The Polish Sejm adopted a resolution on the recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. In its turn, the Czech Parliament recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people.
The EU imposed sanctions against 4 individuals and 4 entities from Iran for their involvement in the production and transfer to Russia of drones used in the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The UK also imposed additional sanctions in response to the attacks against Ukraine with the use of missiles and kamikaze drones. The sanctions list includes 12 officers of the Russian armed forces, 3 Iranian citizens and one Iranian company.
Partner countries are stepping up assistance to enhance Ukraine’s energy and financial stability. Canada will allocate 115 million Canadian dollars to repair Ukrainian energy systems. Spain will provide Ukraine with more than 160 units of equipment for the restoration of power grids. Germany will allocate another €50 million of aid to Ukraine for the winter period. France provided a loan of €100 million, which will be used to finance social and humanitarian expenditures. New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States also announced the allocation of assistance.
On December 13, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted several laws, guided by the recommendations of the European Commission in the framework of European integration processes. These are the laws “On Media” and “On National Minorities of Ukraine“, as well as improvement of the procedures for selecting candidates for the positions of judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on a competitive basis. The European Commission defined the approval of these acts as one of the criteria for assessing Ukraine’s progress towards the EU.
The Security Service of Ukraine reported the completion of counterintelligence measures at the facilities of the UOC in Transcarpathian, Chernivtsi, Rivne, Volyn, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Lviv, Zhytomyr and Kherson regions. As a result, Russian passports, St. George’s ribbons, symbols of the banned Opposition Platform for Life party and “manuals” of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church on the spread of Russian propaganda through believers were found on the territory of the eparchies.
The information in the digest is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.