The Russian military continues to focus its efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Liman directions. On Kupyansky, Avdeevsky and Zaporizhzhya - they are trying to improve the tactical situation. On the Novopavlovsk and Kherson directions, the enemy is on the defensive, according to Ukrainian media. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation claims that 63 artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in firing positions, manpower and military equipment in 79 districts were hit by missile forces and artillery.
Position on the front line
Bakhmut direction (Donetsk region). A video has been published on the network in which servicemen of the 54th separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine show bodies lying on the ground. The voice-over claims that the attack of the Wagner PMC near Bakhmut was repulsed, 50-60 people were allegedly killed. The video was also published by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The video uses obscene language.
The Ukrainian military from this brigade published a video in which they show weapons captured in the Bakhmut direction. In the video, the military man claims that each machine gun shown is “one destroyed enemy.”
British intelligence released a report saying that over the past 48 hours, the Russian military has concentrated its attacks in the areas of Bakhmut, as well as Svatovo (Luhansk region) . The statement notes that the RF Armed Forces were able to occupy a small area.
According to the Rybar Telegram channel associated with the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian command is transferring reserves to maintain control over the territory, so it’s too early to talk about the imminent capture of Bakhmut by the Russians, Rybar reports.
“At the same time, the number of losses is increasing every day. Ukrainian formations are spreading information that out of 800 mobilized people who arrived earlier, less than 100 people survived.”
Avdeevskoe direction . The footage of the work of a separate special-purpose detachment "Omega" of the National Guard of Ukraine in the Avdiivka direction has been published. The video shows that several Russian BMP-1s and BMP-2s were shot down, Ukrainians use loitering ammunition and the American Javelin ATGM.
In the Kherson direction, the Russian military fired at the civilian infrastructure of the settlements of Berislav, Vesele, Sadovoye, Antonovka and Stanislav of the Kherson region and directly the city of Kherson. This was reported in the summary of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the morning of December 27.
In the Zaporozhye direction, the Russian military shelled more than 15 settlements from tanks, mortars, cannon and rocket artillery of the districts, Ukrainian media write. Shelling was carried out in Novopillya, Donetsk region, and Olgovskoe, Malinovka, Dorozhnyanka, Charivne, Belogorye, Malaya Tokmachka, Novodanilovka, Novoandreevka, and Maly Shcherbak in the Zaporozhye region.
Fighting for Maryinka continues in the Donetsk direction . According to the Telegram channel of the pro-Russian military blogger Semyon Pegov, Russian troops continue to storm the fortified area of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“There is no need to talk about significant progress. The Ukrainian garrison desperately resists. Another attempt by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to attack another fortified area of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Krasnogorovka. Artillery worked throughout the city. Also, the Russian army attacked in the direction of Vodyany. Artillery strikes were carried out on the third fortified area of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops responded in Donetsk, Makiivka and Yasinovataya.
Belarus . According to British intelligence, units of the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army were likely among the Russian troops recently transferred to Belarus. "This unit appears to have been conducting pre-deployment drills and is unlikely to have the support units needed to bring it to combat readiness," the report said. According to the Telegram channel "Belarusian Gayun", training flights of fighters in Baranovichi (Brest region) continue.
The fourth replacement of the commander of the Western Military District of the Russian Armed Forces
The commander of the Western Military District of the Russian Armed Forces has changed again, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reports . Now he has been appointed Lieutenant General Yevgeny Nikiforov. This is the fifth commander of the Western Military District since February 2022. Before Nikiforov, the post was occupied by Colonel-General Sergey Yuryevich Kuzovlev, who managed to stay in this post for only about a month. According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, General Nikiforov is currently at the command post of the Zapad group of troops in Boguchar, Voronezh Region.
Ukrainian intelligence also notes that the failure to prepare an offensive in the Limansk direction was announced as the formal reason for Kuzovlev's dismissal. However, the department believes that this is a manifestation of the internal political struggle in the top leadership of Russia - a person from Shoigu-Gerasimov's orbit is being replaced with a candidate from the Surovikin-Prigozhin group.
Previous commanders of the ZVO:
- Colonel General Zhuravlev Alexander Alexandrovich - from November 2018 to July 2022,
- Lieutenant General Andrey Ivanovich Sychevoi - from July to August 2022;
- Lieutenant General Roman Borisovich Berdnikov - from August to September 2022;
- Colonel General Kuzovlev Sergey Yuryevich - from November to December 2022
Analysts of the Conflict Intelligence Team note that, in their opinion, such a frequent replacement of the command of the Western Military District is more likely to be connected with the failures of the Russian army.
“We assume that the new appointment was caused by the restructuring of the Western Military District and the return of the Moscow and Leningrad military districts. Also, such a frequent change of commanders of this district may be associated with the failures of its constituent units in different directions, for example, in Kharkov and Chernigov.
The new commander of the Western Military District gave orders to the co-founder of Wagner PMC in 2014
Nikiforov is indeed connected with Prigozhin: according to the SBU, Wagner PMC mercenaries participated in the occupation of Donbass in 2014, obeying the orders of this particular lieutenant general.
On August 22, 2016, the new commander of the Western Military District, Nikiforov, was included by the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine in the list of those accused of "crimes against the foundations of Ukraine's national security, peace and international law and order." Ukraine accuses him of involvement in the plane crash of the Ukrainian military transport aircraft Il-76MD, which delivered ammunition and armored vehicles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, defending Luhansk airport on June 14, 2014. The plane was shot down and crashed near the village of Krasnoe, 2 km from the runway. 49 people died.
In 2019, the SBU reported that Nikiforov had given the order to shoot down the plane. It was carried out by Prigozhin's mercenaries, and one of them - Dmitry Utkin with the call sign "Wagner" - co-founder of the Wagner PMC.
“The order was given directly by the commander of the 58th Army of the Russian Armed Forces, Major General Yevgeny Nikiforov, who was sent to Donbass to carry out a military invasion and occupation of part of the territory of a sovereign country. The perpetrators of the murder of Ukrainian soldiers - Dmitry Utkin, Andrey Guralev and Andrey Lebedev - after returning to Russia, were marked by Putin with official state awards "Orders of Courage".
Aircraft protection walls in the Astrakhan region
Pro-Russian sources published photographs with the copyright of the Planet satellite service for December 17 - the photographs show the airfield of the 929th State Flight Test Center in Akhtubinsk (Astrakhan region). The photographs show that improvised walls were built to protect aviation equipment. They are not yet in the pictures for December 5th. The coordinates indicated in the photo really correspond to the location of the Akhtubinsky GLITS.
From the nearest firing point of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Akhtubinsky GLITs is about 670 kilometers.
Recall that on December 25, for the second time in a month, a military airfield in Engels, which is located 700 km from the nearest firing point of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region, was shelled . OSINTdefender suggests that a Soviet Tu-141 drone was used, the only weapon of this range available to Ukraine.
Russian military commander Alexander Garmaev published a video in which the military man holds the Stupor electromagnetic gun (a device for activating self-rescue modes) in his hands to combat drones developed by the Main Research and Testing Robotics Center of the Russian Defense Ministry. Garmaev reports that the anti-aircraft crew of the 5th tank brigade, which operates in the occupied Donetsk region, received the gun.
In turn, Russia, it seems, is time to pay to Iran for the supply of Geranium drones. The Russian Federation will soon supply Iran with advanced Su-35 multi-role fighters, Israeli television channel 12 reported , citing Western intelligence. According to them, we are talking about 24 fighters, originally intended for Egypt. The Americans persuaded Cairo to abandon the deal, and the Russians were looking for buyers for the planes. After Iran became a supplier of drones for the Russian army, the issue was resolved. The Telegram channel Moscow calling drew attention to this. It was these contracts that the journalist Ivan Safronov drew attention to in his time. Soon, for publications about future deliveries to Egypt, Safronov was accused of treason and sentenced to 22 years in a strict regime colony.
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to receive weapons from Western countries - in 2022, according to the German publication Manager Magazin, Germany approved the supply of weapons to the Ukrainian military in the amount of €2.24 billion. Ukraine received from Germany 30 Gepard SPAAGs, 14 155-mm Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers , five Mars MLRS and one battery of IRIS-T air defense systems.
See also The Insider’s military report for December 26: “ Second attack on Engels-2, use of incendiary ammunition on Kherson, “liquidation” of the Ukrainian DRG. What's happening on the front lines ."