Russian troops stepped up attacks with the use of missiles and drones during the New Year holidays. Since 29 December, there has not been a single day without a strike against civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine. The priority target of the attacks was the capital of Ukraine – Kyiv. Ukrainian air defense demonstrated high efficiency, having destroyed a significant part of enemy targets and prevented damage to critical elements of the country’s energy system. Nevertheless, Russian attacks led to destruction of civilian objects and casualties among local residents.
Ukrainian Armed Forces are gradually advancing on the frontline near Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk region. Russian troops continue their attempts to capture Bakhmut in Donetsk region. However, experts record the depletion of their offensive potential.
Active positional fighting goes on at the Kreminna-Svatove line. In particular, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated on December 29 that over the past week Ukrainian troops advanced 2.5 km towards Kreminna. It was also reported that one settlement in Svatove district was liberated.
Russian troops continue their attempts to break through the defense of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the area of Bakhmut. However, analysts of the Institute for the Study of War record a decrease in the pace of their offensive actions. According to the Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov, who recently visited Bakhmut, the situation on this section of the front line is not catastrophic, and the Ukrainian military keep holding their positions.
Russian troops do not stop shelling the civilian infrastructure of Donetsk region. In total, during December 29 – January 1, at least 4 people were killed and 5 people were wounded in the region. In turn, the Armed Forces of Ukraine strike at the concentration of enemy forces in the temporarily occupied territories. On New Year’s Eve, an object in Makiivka, which was used as a base of Russian troops, was hit, which led to considerable losses of personnel.
Russian troops continue to strike at civilian objects, destroying residential infrastructure. On December 30, 1 person was injured as a result of shelling in Zaporizhzhia region. On January 1 the town of Orikhiv was shelled, killing 1 person and injuring 3 local residents.
Russian troops carry out shelling of civilian infrastructure on the right bank of Kherson region. As a result of shelling on December 29, a cardiology dispensary was damaged. On New Year’s Eve Kherson city was left without power supply due to shelling. The building of Kherson Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital was also heavily damaged. In total, 6 people (including 2 children) were injured in the region in recent days.
Shelling of Ukrainian territory
In the morning of December 29, Russian troops carried out a massive shelling of the territory of Ukraine. According to the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian military conducted a combined attack – they launched 11 kamikaze drones and about 70 missiles at Ukrainian energy infrastructure facilities. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi reported that the Ukrainian air defense forces destroyed 54 cruise missiles out of 69 launched, demonstrating 80% efficiency.
This did not protect critical infrastructure from damage. According to Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko, due to the damage to generation facilities and power grids, there is a challenging situation with electricity supply in western Ukraine, Kyiv and Odesa regions.
The State Emergency Service of Ukraine reported that a total of 28 objects (18 private residential buildings and 10 critical infrastructure facilities) were damaged. According to preliminary information, 3 people were killed and 6 others (including a child) were injured as a result of the attack on the territory of Ukraine.
On the night of December 29-30, Russian troops carried out an attack using Iranian drones. The attack was directed against Kyiv and Kyiv region, but the air defense forces managed to eliminate the threat and prevent hits to critical infrastructure. According to the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, air defense forces destroyed all of the 16 launched kamikaze drones: 9 in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions and 7 drones in Kyiv region. However, the attack damaged an administrative building in one of the capital’s districts.
In the afternoon of December 31, Russian troops launched another missile attack on the territory of Ukraine. Air defense forces prevented severe damage to the power grid. According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, they shot down 12 out of more than 20 missiles launched by the enemy. However, civilian objects in different cities of Ukraine were hit. The biggest losses were incurred in Kyiv, where destruction was recorded in three districts (including a missile hitting a hotel in the city center, damage to a university building). As a result, 1 person was killed and 22 civilians were injured. In Zaporizhzhia, 4 civilians (including a pregnant woman and a child) were injured as a result of a missile strike. Mykolaiv was also targeted, where at least 6 people were wounded. In Khmelnytskyi 1 person was killed and 7 people were wounded as a result of the missile attack.
During the New Year’s Eve, Russian troops attacked Ukraine, massively using kamikaze drones against the capital of the state. The strike did not yield any significant results – the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported the destruction of 45 enemy UAVs. According to the Kyiv Regional Military Administration, the Air Defense Forces neutralized 32 objects in the capital alone. However, the debris of the downed drones caused some damage.
On the night of January 1 to 2, another attack with the use of kamikaze drones was recorded. Once again, air defense managed to prevent large-scale destruction as a result of the attack. Air defenses shot down about 10 enemy targets in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. According to the Kyiv Air Force, another 20 drones were destroyed over the capital of Ukraine. As a result of the fall of the UAV debris in Kyiv, 1 person was injured.
Russian troops also continue to strike at the territory of Kharkiv region. In particular, on December 29, a number of strikes were carried out on critical infrastructure facilities in Kharkiv. In the following days, Russian attacks continued. As a result, according to preliminary information, 4 people were killed and 2 local residents were injured on the territory of the region.
Shelling of the border areas of Sumy region does not stop. In recent days, the shelling of Chernihiv region has intensified, involving the use of mortars, rocket and cannon artillery. According to preliminary information, on December 30, 1 person was killed in the region. Also on the night of December 31, Russian troops attacked a military camp in Chernihiv region. In addition, Russian troops continue strikes on the territory of Dnipropetrovsk region.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, as of the morning of January 1, the number of children in Ukraine affected by the full-scale Russian invasion increased to 1328 (452 children were killed, 876 were injured). According to the governmental platform Children of War, as of January 1, 13876 children were deported, 358 went missing.
On December 31, another exchange of prisoners was conducted. 140 Ukrainian servicemen returned to Ukraine, including 132 men and 8 women. The Ministry of Ukraine for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories summed up the results of a year-long effort to return prisoners of war, carried out jointly with the Office of the President, the The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense and the Security Service of Ukraine. In total, 1464 servicemen and 132 civilians were released from Russian captivity during the year. Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for ensuring the rights of defenders of Ukraine Aliona Verbytska stated that the Russian side had confirmed the presence of 3392 Ukrainian prisoners of war. About 15 thousand people (including many civilians) are still missing.
Head of the National Police Department Oleksii Serhieiev said that law enforcement officers found the bodies of 1116 civilians (including 31 children) in the liberated territories of Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson and Kharkiv regions. Investigators also documented 5398 war crimes there. In total, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the police have opened more than 53.7 thousand criminal proceedings on the facts of violations committed by Russian servicemen and their accomplices.
Ukraine continues to organize evacuation of citizens from the frontline areas. Since the liberation of Kherson, more than 500 elderly people and people with limited mobility have been evacuated from the city, including 300 patients of the Kherson psychoneurological boarding house. In total, during the year, about 600 thousand civilians were evacuated from the areas of hostilities.
The mine threat in the de-occupied territories of Ukraine remains relevant. At least 1 person was killed and another 1 person was injured in Kharkiv region in recent days due to mine explosion. In total, according to the State Emergency Service, 185 people have been killed and 404 injured by mines since the beginning of the full-scale Russian aggression in Ukraine.
According to the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science Andrii Vitrenko, more than 2.6 thousand buildings of educational institutions have been damaged in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, another 406 educational facilities have been completely destroyed.
According to the estimates of the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko, more than 1200 objects of cultural infrastructure in Ukraine were damaged or destroyed as a result of the Russian aggression.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal informed that Ukraine has managed to postpone the repayment of a major part of its external obligations for two years. This is a vital step, as the forecasts in the state budget for 2023 show that Ukraine’s public debt will exceed 100% of GDP.
POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC EVENTS
At the end of the year, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi had a phone conversation with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The leaders discussed the provision of defense support to Ukraine, the development of bilateral partnership and the implementation of joint activities next year.
On December 30, the Ukrainian government held its last meeting of the year. During the meeting, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal noted that since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, more than $31 billion of assistance from international partners has been attracted to the state’s economy. It was also pointed out that together with the World Bank and the European Commission, the Ukrainian government had conducted the first verified assessment of the funds needed to restore Ukraine. Currently, the amount reaches about $700 billion. At this stage, the Government has already launched a number of registers aimed at collecting data on the damage caused by the Russian aggression, as well as defined the concept of the mechanism of compensation for Ukraine’s losses, which will be based on a multilateral international agreement. On his part, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell informed that the European Union would continue to stand firmly by Ukraine in the struggle against aggressive actions of Russia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Western countries to be ready to provide long-term support to Ukraine, particularly in connection with Moscow’s unwillingness to make concessions and the possibility of a new Russian offensive.
International partners continue to support Ukraine by rendering financial, military and humanitarian assistance. On December 30, the U.S. President Joe Biden signed the U.S. budget law for 2023. The document, which sets the government’s expenditures at a historically high level of $1.7 trillion, provides for almost $45 billion in assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies.
Japan’s Ambassador to Ukraine Kuninori Matsuda informed that his country has already provided $1.1 billion to Ukraine, and plans to allocate an additional $500 million. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that London will allocate another £2.3 billion (almost $2.8 billion) to support Ukraine in 2023. The UK and Estonia also supplied Ukraine with technical means for demining the de-occupied territories. The Czech Republic will provide Ukraine with 12 bridge constructions to restore road traffic in the de-occupied territories. In their turn, Slovenia and Finland sent humanitarian cargoes with the necessary equipment to support the energy sector of Ukraine. Poland delivered to Ukraine the third large batch of Starlink, which will be transferred to the “points of resilience” across the country, as well as to support the functioning of the energy and medical spheres.
As part of restrictive actions against Russia and to reduce dependence on Russian energy resources, on January 1, the United Kingdom stopped all imports of Russian liquefied natural gas.
On December 29, the Security Service of Ukraine served a notice of suspicion to Poltava mayor Oleksandr Mamai. He is accused of unauthorized dissemination of information about the deployment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The information in the newsletter 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.