Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on January 29, 2024
- Another large-scale missile attack on the territory of Ukraine on the morning of January 23 led to numerous casualties among the civilian population. Russian troops repeatedly struck Kharkiv using ballistic missiles.
- On 24 January, a Russian Il-76 transport plane crashed near Belgorod. Russian officials say that it was transporting Ukrainian prisoners for exchange, but have not provided strong evidence for their claims.
- The Security Service of Ukraine, with the support of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, uncovered a scheme of embezzlement of state funds during the procurement of ammunition. On January 27, SBU announced suspicion to five individuals attempting to embezzle nearly 1.5 billion budgeted hryvnias for the purchase of 100,000 mortar shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Russian forces continue offensive actions in the Avdiivka area. They managed to bypass one of the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine south of the city using collector pipes. The Ukrainian military is counterattacking, trying to regain lost positions, but the situation remains extremely difficult.
The Ukrainian military and special services are striking at infrastructure facilities on the territory of the Russian Federation. On the morning of January 25, drones hit an oil refinery in Tuapse.
Russian troops continue to strike at the territory of Ukraine. Another large-scale missile attack took place on the morning of January 23. Russian troops used 41 missiles for the strike, including ballistic missiles; Ukrainian air defense was able to shoot down 21 missiles. As a result of the attack, residential infrastructure in Kyiv and Kharkiv was damaged, and civilian casualties were recorded. Kharkiv became the main target of Russian strikes during the week. Ground-based ballistic missiles launched from the territory of the Russian Federation were actively used against the city. The attack on the evening of January 23 was especially large-scale in terms of consequences. On the evening of January 27, the target of the missile strike became an industrial infrastructure facility in the Poltava region. In addition, Russian troops use kamikaze drones to strike the territory of Ukraine, in particular the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Odesa regions. On the night of January 29, Russian armed forces launched 8 “Shaheds”, which were destroyed within the territories of Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, and Rivne regions.
During the week, the losses of civilians in the frontline regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of the Russian military amounted to at least: in the Donetsk region – 8 people killed and 36 people wounded; in the Kherson region – 8 people killed and 22 people wounded; in the Kharkiv region, 9 people were killed and 90 people were wounded (the vast majority as a result of missile strikes on January 23). In Kyiv and the Kyiv region, 1 person was killed and at least 24 people were injured as a result of a missile attack on the morning of January 23. 1 person was killed and 1 person was injured in Dnipropetrovsk region. 6 people were injured in Odesa region. 2 people were killed near the border in Sumy region by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group.
On January 24, a Russian Il-76 transport plane crashed near the city of Belgorod. It was probably shot down by Ukrainian air defense. Russian officials say more than 60 Ukrainian prisoners of war, who were transported for exchange, died on board of the plane. At the same time, the Russian side has not yet been able to provide clear evidence for its words. The Ukrainian military was only able to confirm the fact of the exchange planned for that day, which was disrupted for unknown reasons. They emphasize that they will take all necessary measures to protect the border regions of Ukraine from missile attacks – in particular, tracking and shooting down Russian transport aircraft used to transport missiles and drones to Belgorod.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, during its winter session in Strasbourg, unanimously adopted a resolution on the “Situation of Children in Ukraine.” The resolution calls on member countries, as well as the international community, to issue statements at the national parliamentary level condemning war crimes against children. It also urges the recognition of deportations, forced displacements, and unjustified delays in the repatriation of Ukrainian children, which occurred during the war, as crimes.
On the website of the President of Ukraine, a decree has been issued regarding territories historically inhabited by Ukrainians in Russia (Kuban, Starodubshchyna, Northern and Eastern Sloboda Ukraine within the modern borders of Krasnodar Krai, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Kursk, Rostov regions of the Russian Federation). Ukraine plans to develop a plan of action to preserve the national identity of Ukrainians in the Russian Federation.
The Security Service of Ukraine, with the support of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, uncovered a scheme of embezzlement of state funds during the procurement of ammunition. On January 27, SBU announced suspicion to five individuals attempting to embezzle nearly 1.5 billion budgeted hryvnias for the purchase of 100,000 mortar shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The case involves a former head of the Department of Military-Technical Policy, Armament Development, and Military Equipment of the Ministry of Defense, Alexander Liev, and managers of the “Lviv Arsenal” company.
A Moscow court has imprisoned war criminal Igor Girkin (Strelkov). The former officer of the Russian FSB Girkin was arrested in the summer of 2023 in his apartment and accused of “incitement to extremism” after months of public criticism in which he accused Putin of not actively waging war in Ukraine.
Ukraine plans to begin the construction of four new nuclear power units at the Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant this year. Two of them will be constructed using the Russian VVER-1000 technology, and the other two using the AP-1000 technology of the Westinghouse company .
Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico, in a video statement after a meeting with the head of the Ukrainian government Denis Shmygal, announced an agreement to continue the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Slovakia, and then to Austria and Italy. The Ukrainian-Russian contract for transportation expires at the end of 2024, and Ukraine does not intend to negotiate with the Russians to renew the contract. Consequently, Slovakia will have to negotiate independently with Russia for gas transportation through Ukrainian territory.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On January 23, the 18th meeting of the Contact Group on the Defense of Ukraine took place in the “Ramstein” format. During the meeting, discussions focused on providing long-term support to Ukraine, developing the capabilities of the Air Force (including the acquisition of not only F-16 aircraft but also helicopters), strengthening anti-air and anti-missile defense systems, and issues related to the IT coalition, drone coalition, and maritime security coalition. As a result of the meeting, Germany announced the allocation of six multi-role Sea King Mk41 helicopters to Ukraine, along with a set of spare parts, and will also provide training for Ukrainian military personnel. Germany also plans to transfer additional IRIS-T, Gepard, artillery, and ammunition, as well as over 80 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, and conduct training for 10,000 Ukrainian servicemembers in 2024. Sweden and the United Kingdom joined the Drone Coalition. The Netherlands joined the IT coalition, contributing 10 million euros, making a total of 11 countries participating in the initiative. Spain will join all active coalitions within the “Ramstein” format. Denmark allocated 91 million Danish kroner (12 million euros) for priority cyber projects in the IT coalition, strengthening the overall cyber defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. France provided Ukraine with additional LRU rocket systems within the artillery coalition. Canada announced the transfer of 10 multi-role boats from the Zodiac company worth approximately 20 million US dollars to Ukraine. Belgium also plans to provide Ukraine with 611 million euros in military assistance in 2024.
During the winter session in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unanimously adopted a resolution on the “Situation of Children in Ukraine,” calling on member countries and the international community to condemn war crimes against children. It also urged the recognition of deportations, forced displacements, and unjustified delays in the repatriation of Ukrainian children as crimes.
Ukraine and Denmark agreed to start negotiations on security guarantees within the framework of the “Joint Declaration in Support of Ukraine,” endorsed by the leaders of the G7 countries. Another round of negotiations with France on a bilateral security agreement was also conducted.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held meetings with Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Donald Tusk. As a result, the two sides restored the format of intergovernmental consultations, and Poland joined the “Joint Declaration in Support of Ukraine” agreed upon by the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries. Additionally, a new defense package for Ukraine was announced. President Zelenskyy also met with the President of the European People’s Party, Manfred Weber.
This week, President Zelenskyy had phone conversations with the President of Slovenia, Natasa Pirc Musar, and the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, discussing the situation on the battlefield, Ukraine’s current defense needs, the preparation of a security guarantee agreement, and cooperation within the Ukrainian Peace Formula.
Furthermore, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhal and Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Robert Fico signed a joint statement following their negotiations, aimed at strengthening bilateral relations based on mutual trust and respect.
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.