Situation as of 8:00 on December 19, 2022
Fighting goes on at the frontline in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, accompanied by intense artillery shelling. Russian troops are actively firing at cities on the right bank of the Kherson region, as well as in the Dnipropetrovsk region across the Dnipro River. Instead, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are conducting targeted attacks on Russian facilities in the temporarily occupied territories.
On December 16, Russian troops launched another massive missile strike on the territory of Ukraine. Despite the fact that a significant part of the missiles was shot down by air defense forces, several energy infrastructure facilities were hit, which led to power outages in several regions. On the morning of December 19, the Russian army once again attacked infrastructure facilities in Kyiv and Kyiv region with Shahed barrage munitions (23 drones, 18 of which were shot down by air defense).
In an interview with The Economist, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi spoke about the need to prepare for new Russian attacks in Donbas, the south, and even towards Kyiv in early 2023. Zaluzhnyi also warned that without Western assistance in the required volumes, Ukraine will not be able to conduct offensive operations. Zaluzhnyi estimated Ukraine’s needs at 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles and 500 howitzers.
Positional fighting continues on the frontline. A representative of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported a slight advance of Ukrainian troops towards Kreminna. However, the overall situation remains unchanged. Russian troops are reinforcing their defenses and conducting counterattacks in order to prevent the Ukrainian Armed Forces from continuing their offensive on the Svatove-Kreminna line.
Russian troops continue assault actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka sectors. Ukrainian troops managed to repel an offensive of Wagner PMC on the southern and eastern outskirts of Bakhmut. Shelling of civilian infrastructure in Donetsk region does not cease, as a result of which at least 11 people were killed and 15 were wounded on the territory of the region on December 15–18.
On December 15, Russian troops attacked the town of Orikhiv. As a result 2 people were wounded. The shelling of civilian infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia region continued in the following days. On December 18, Orikhiv was targeted again – it had been under fire for seven hours.
Ukrainian troops are also actively using artillery in this area to strike at the Russian military. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports on targeted attacks on ammunition depots and enemy concentrations.
Russian troops are systematically shelling the right bank of Kherson region. Kherson city suffers the most. On December 15, the city center was struck. During the day 2 civilians were killed in the region, 7 more people were injured. On 16 December 1 person died and 3 civilians were wounded as a result of shelling in Kherson region. In the morning of December 17 in Kherson 1 person was killed and 1 more was wounded. According to the Kherson Regional Military Administration, 3 people were killed and 6 more were wounded in the region over the next day. As a result of the strike on Kherson on December 18, 3 more people were wounded.
In addition to Kherson region, Russian military strike at Mykolaiv region. On December 15, the city of Ochakiv was shelled with artillery.
Shelling of Ukrainian territory
On December 16, Russian troops again launched a massive missile attack on the territory of Ukraine. According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Ukrainian air defense intercepted 60 out of 76 missiles that were fired at critical infrastructure facilities.
Despite the effective work of air defense, a number of regions were seriously affected by the attack. Power supply was completely cut off in Kharkiv and Kirovohrad regions, as well as in the city of Poltava. Due to damage to the energy infrastructure, a number of railway sections in Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions were left without electricity supply. Energy infrastructure in several districts of Kyiv was damaged; problems with water supply were reported in different districts of the capital. An energy facility in Zhytomyr region was also damaged; 15 hits were recorded in Zaporizhzhia region, where modified air defense systems were used for strikes.
In addition to damaging a number of energy facilities, on December 16 a Russian missile hit a residential building in Kryvyi Rih, killing at least 5 people and injuring 12. In Kyiv region, 4 people were injured in a missile attack.
In the morning of December 17, the Russian military launched 2 missiles at Odesa region from the territory of Crimea, but they were shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces.
On the night of December 19, a massive attack with the use of kamikaze drones was carried out on the territory of Ukraine. UAVs were spotted in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson regions. At least two explosions were recorded in Kyiv.
Russian troops continue systematic artillery shelling of Chernihiv and Sumy regions.
The shelling of Nikopol and Marhanets communities in Dnipropetrovsk region also persists. As a result of the shelling on December 15, a number of gas pipelines, power lines, economic and residential facilities were damaged; according to preliminary information, at least 1 person was killed and 5 more were injured. Another 1 person was injured in Nikopol on 18 December.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, as of the morning of 17 December, the number of children in Ukraine affected by the full-scale Russian invasion increased to 1,313 (450 children killed, 863 injured). According to the government platform Children of War, as of December 18, 13613 children were deported, 331 went missing. According to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, in total, up to 2 million Ukrainians were deported to Russia.
The Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine reported that two children who were illegally detained in the temporarily occupied territories and in the Russian Federation were returned to Ukraine. In general, with the assistance of the Ministry, more than 100 children have already been returned to Ukraine from the temporarily occupied territories and Russia.
Kyiv region police chief Andrii Niebytov pointed out that since the beginning of the full-scale war with Russia more than 300 citizens have been reported missing in Kyiv region.
Ukrainian investigators have launched 49219 criminal proceedings since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on the facts of crimes committed by servicemen of the Russian armed forces and their accomplices.
Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov said that Russian troops use at least five schools in the temporarily occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia region to deploy their military equipment and personnel, thus trying to protect their units from artillery strikes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In Ukraine, the mine threat remains relevant, in particular, due to the cases of civilians being blown up by explosive devices planted by the Russian military in the previously occupied territories. In Kharkiv region, near the town of Izium, two men were killed by a mine; two other residents of the region were injured by exploded ammunition. Another mine explosion was also documented in Chernihiv (1 person was injured) and Kherson (2 people were killed) regions.
Russian troops keep obstructing the evacuation of civilians from the temporarily occupied territories. Over the week they let out only 174 people from Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the city of Zaporizhzhia. As of December 18, Russian troops have not permitted a single person to cross the Vasylivka checkpoint for the last three days.
Volodymyr Zelenskyi declared that in the context of Russian shelling of the energy infrastructure, Ukraine needs additional assistance in the form of 2 billion cubic meters of gas and electricity supplies worth €800 million.
At a government meeting, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that small and medium-sized Ukrainian entrepreneurs have already imported 500 thousand low-power generators. To get through the winter, Ukraine needs about 17 thousand more large and industrial generators.
Member of the Council of the National Bank of Ukraine Vasyl Furman indicated that the amount of Ukraine’s total and grant debt due to the war and economic crisis increased by 5% over the year, and now amounts to $103 billion in hryvnia equivalent.
POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC EVENTS
On December 15, the European Council held a meeting where representatives of the European Union adopted a number of crucial decisions for Ukraine. In particular, the meeting resulted in the adoption of a resolution where the EU leaders reaffirmed their intention to continue political and military support to Ukraine, including using the resources of the European Peace Facility and the capabilities of the EU Military Assistance Mission to support Ukraine. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi addressed the meeting in the format of a video address. He called on European partners to help overcome Russian energy terror, strengthen defense assistance to Ukraine and increase support for the restoration of critical infrastructure.
As a result of the meeting, the procedure for approving the ninth package of sanctions imposed against the Russian Federation due to the unleashing of an aggressive war against Ukraine was completed. According to it, the EU introduces new restrictions on the supply of dual-use goods and technologies to the Russian Federation, as well as goods and technologies that can strengthen the defense and security sectors of Russia. In addition, a ban on exports to Russia of goods of aviation and space industries (including engines for drones) was approved. The most severe sanctions target 168 companies of the Russian military-industrial complex. Also, three Russian banks will be disconnected from SWIFT, and four Russian channels will be cut off from European broadcasting. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the approval of the new sanctions package. High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell highlighted that the EU will further strengthen measures against the Russian economy and its ability to continue the war against Ukraine.
The EU Council also adopted a final decision on the allocation of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in the amount of €18 billion in 2023. In turn, the European Parliament recognized the Holodomor caused by the Soviet regime in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people.
The UN General Assembly supported the Resolution on human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. The document condemning the actions of the Russian Federation was voted for by 82 countries.
International partners continue to provide defense assistance to Ukraine to combat Russian aggression and restore the territorial integrity of the state. In the framework of military support, the United Kingdom sent Ukraine high-precision Brimstone 2 missiles. Germany handed over another batch of military aid, including missiles for the IRIS-T air defense system, Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicles, various ammunition and vehicles. In turn, the Bulgarian Parliament approved the Agreement between Bulgaria and Ukraine on the supply of weapons, equipment and ammunition to Ukraine.
Financial and economic support for Ukraine in the international arena is also being strengthened. The World Bank announced the establishment of a multilateral trust fund to support Ukraine in meeting critical needs of the state. The Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund (URTF) is a coordinated mechanism for financing and supporting the activities of the Ukrainian government in ensuring the performance of state functions and the implementation of the reconstruction and reform program in the country. The Council of Europe has adopted an Action Plan for Ukraine with a budget of €50 million for the period 2023–2026 to increase the resilience of state institutions and reform the country.
On December 18, Ukraine received the first batch of energy equipment from Azerbaijan aimed at supporting the energy sector in the regions affected by Russian shelling. The equipment includes 45 power transformers and 5 backup power units of different capacities.
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.