The situation at the front
Fierce battles continue in the Bakhmut direction , artillery is constantly working. Ukrainian fighters say that Russia's tactic here is to "fill up everything with corpses." The military are marching in groups of 30 "like zombies", trying to push through the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The WarGonzo propaganda project claims that Wagner PMC fighters are trying to attack south of Bakhmut from the side of Kurdyumovka, on the eastern outskirts of the city there are oncoming battles. Under Soledar, according to these data, there are also oncoming battles in the area of Bakhmutsky and Donetsk Belogorovka.
WarGonzo also reports Russian attacks in the area of Novomikhailovka and Pobeda in the Donetsk direction , there are fierce battles in the city of Maryinka, there were attempts to storm the Nevelsky.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on the advance in the Svatovsky direction : 1.5 km near the village of Dibrova, Lugansk region. This was told by the head of the main operational department of the General Staff Alexei Gromov.
As for major shelling, in Donetsk, the pro-Russian “mayor” Aleksey Kulemzin declared “the most massive strike since 2014.” Bohdan Khmelnytsky Avenue, Universitetskaya Street, Shkolny Boulevard, the Covered Market area, and Naberezhnaya Street came under shelling. According to WarGonzo, the city is being shelled from Czech RM-70 Vampire MLRS, which "can change their location very quickly after a missile strike."
The speaker of the Odesa OVA Serhiy Bratchuk spoke about the strikes in the occupied Zhelezny Port of the Kherson region. According to him, the "clap" occurred in the hotel where the FSB officers lived. Perhaps they were beaten from HIMARS.
The landing of the Ukrainian troops?
Ukrainian intelligence claims that the Russian military dug trenches and planted minefields along the coast in the Saki region of Crimea. The photos shown are from the village of Molochnoe, you can see trenches and "dragon's teeth" - concrete pyramids that supposedly should stop heavy equipment. According to the GUR, this is how the Russians are preparing "for the landing of Ukrainian troops."
Retired SBU Major General Viktor Yagun, in a conversation with The Insider, noted that the activities of the Russian army here are “window dressing”:
“Ukraine does not have the technical capabilities to land troops. We have several boats, and at one time we can bring no more than a hundred people or so. The idea of a landing is nonsense, and the fortifications are window dressing. If you dig a trench in the sand in this area, it will be filled with water in half an hour. It's a show, nothing more."
"Smart bombs" for Ukraine
The United States wants to transfer equipment based on Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) technology to the Ukrainian army, which can turn unguided aircraft munitions into smart bombs. About this with reference to high-ranking US officials writes The Washington Post. JDAM kits are installed in the middle and tail of the bombs, due to the use of GPS, such ammunition can hit enemy positions with high accuracy.
WP does not provide details of this possible delivery, it is not known whether US President Joe Biden approved it. In addition, it is not clear what exactly they are talking about: whether American bombs will be supplied with installed kits, or whether JDAM kits will be installed on Soviet ammunition.
Earlier it became known that the United States handed over to Ukraine high-speed anti-radar missiles AGM-88 HARM.
New inevitable attack on Kyiv
Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Army Valery Zaluzhny in an interview with The Economist called a new Russian offensive against Kiev inevitable. Russia, according to him, is now preparing 200,000 new soldiers for this, pulling together equipment and reserves. The Russian army may begin to advance as early as in the spring, Zaluzhny suggests, “at best in March, at worst at the end of January.” They can attack from the Donbass, from the south or from Belarus. According to the general, Putin's mobilization "worked": "The Tsar tells them to go to war, and they go. I studied the history of both Chechen wars, it was the same. They may not be as well equipped, but they still present a problem for us. According to our estimates, they have a reserve of 1.2-1.5 million people.”
“But the combat potential will be very, very low, even if he recruits another million people into the army to throw corpses, as [Marshal] Zhukov did. This will not bring the desired result, ”Zaluzhny is sure.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says the same thing: Russia can really start a new offensive as early as February, and this, in his opinion, is due to the timing of the training of the mobilized. According to him, of the 300 thousand mobilized, half have already gone to the occupied territories, the rest are being trained, in addition, the Kremlin is preparing a new wave of mobilization. At the same time, analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War assume that an offensive will begin in the west of the Donetsk region, since it is there that the units that left the Kherson region, as well as those mobilized, are concentrated.
Zaluzhny announced three main tasks that the Armed Forces of Ukraine now face: to maintain lines, accumulate reserves and obtain a sufficient number of air defense and missile defense systems, which are needed due to the massive shelling of Russia's civilian infrastructure. According to him, because of these attacks, Ukraine is now "teetering on the edge." “I need 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, 500 howitzers,” says the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Melitopol - the next target for the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
As for possible major attacks by the Ukrainian army, Zaluzhny notes that the military needs to move 84 km south in the Zaporozhye region to Melitopol. This city would give fire control over the land corridor to the Crimea - from there the Ukrainians can hit Russian supply routes, including from HIMARS.
“Judging by the sabotage activities, Melitopol may be the target of the offensive. Melitopol and Berdyansk are the key to the south. But I do not rule out that the situation with Kherson may repeat itself. While everyone is watching Melitopol, the liberation of a completely different territory will begin. And the turn will come to Melitopol, ”Viktor Yagun said in a conversation with The Insider.
In November, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that the Russian military was actively preparing the occupied Melitopol for defense: fortifications and fortifications were being built along the perimeter of the city.
Storm Shadow cruise missiles for Ukraine
British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said that Ukraine needs the supply of long-range missiles and did not rule out the supply of Storm Shadow cruise missiles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These British-French designs, the missiles can hit targets up to 560 kilometers away and weigh around 1,300 kg, with a warhead weighing around 450 kg.
However, Wallace did not give details and noted that "he will not speculate what kind of weapons will be supplied to Ukraine."
The Pentagon, meanwhile, decided to expand the training program for the Ukrainian military in Germany, according to The New York Times, citing sources. They want to release 600-800 people every month (now 300) - this is the size of the battalion.
In total, since the beginning of the war, the United States has already trained more than 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers, primarily in the handling of sophisticated weapons, such as artillery systems, the newspaper writes. More than 600 soldiers have been trained by the Pentagon on how to handle HIMARS systems.
Read also The Insider’s report of December 14: “Belarus is pulled together by Russian fighters, Ukraine is waiting for Patriot air defense systems from the United States, the Russian military wear chain mail. What's going on at the front.