Events on the front line
Kherson direction. Kherson telegram channels report powerful explosions in the Kakhovka region, including Bolshaya Lepetikha. Russia is also shelling the liberated Kherson. The Ukrainian Armed Forces, in turn, attacked an object in the village of Kostogryzovo, Ukrainian media claim that a military object (headquarters or a large barracks) was fired upon.
Zaporozhye direction. Russian troops in Ukraine have erected rows of fortifications between the occupied cities of Tokmok and Pologi. Published satellite images show fortifications built along the 50-kilometer highway connecting the two cities.
A representative of the Eastern Group of Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Sergei Cherevaty, said that a Patriot PMC was spotted in the Ugledar direction . These are mercenaries associated with Sergei Shoigu, competitors of the Wagner PMC, writes Israel Defense Forces officer, Ukrainian military expert Yigal Levin. According to Cherevaty, the appearance of this group of mercenaries is a sign of a lack of trained military personnel of the RF Armed Forces.
Bakhmut direction. Fierce fighting continues. According to analyst Def Mon, there is an increase in attacks north of the city. “I believe that Bakhmut is safe as long as Ukraine holds Soledar. Pro-Russian channels report that the Wagner PMC is attacking just in the Soledar area. There are also reports of fighting on the outskirts of Kleshchievka. Pro-Russian Telegram channels report the capture of five Ukrainian strongholds in Opytny on the southern outskirts of Bakhmut, this is confirmed by Conflict Intelligence Team analysts.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggest that the Russian forces attacking Bakhmut are close to the peak of their capabilities. Serious losses in the Bakhmut direction forced the Russian troops to reduce the scale of offensive operations to the level of individual detachments of 10-15 people; they no longer attack in companies or battalion-tactical groups. ISW recalls that this happened in August in the Kherson direction and ended with the withdrawal of Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnieper.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian command continues to travel to Bakhmut to support the military. The head of Ukrainian intelligence, Kirill Budanov , visited Bakhmut, where he met with the special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense and awarded the distinguished fighters, Yigal Levin writes.
Earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visited Bakhmut. On December 28, he published photographs of the destroyed city.
“Even last year, 70,000 people lived there, and now there are only a few civilians left. There is no place that is not covered in blood. There is not an hour when the terrible roar of artillery does not sound. But Bakhmut stands. Our defense forces are standing. The Ukrainian Donbas is worth it.”
Svatovo-Kremennaya line. The Russian Federation evacuated the occupation command from Kremennaya, but it is too early to talk about de-occupation, said Sergei Cherevaty, a representative of the Eastern Group of Forces.
In the Donetsk direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine repelled attacks in the area of Vodiane, Maryinka, Pobeda and Zolotaya Niva. There have been no significant changes in this direction recently.
Belarus. Exercises and some preparations continue in Belarus. As part of a sudden check of combat and mobilization readiness in the capital of the Republic of Belarus, the city of Minsk, measures are being taken to transfer from peacetime to wartime.
The United States has transferred two additional NASAMS air defense systems and anti-aircraft missiles for them to Ukraine. This was reported on Facebook of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Since NASAMS arrived in Ukraine, US officials have said it has made excellent headway against Russian missiles. In the first two days of its deployment alone, the Ukrainian military shot down 25 incoming missiles with 25 interceptors. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that NASAMS has maintained this 100 percent rate.
At the beginning of November, Ukraine had two NASAMS batteries, now there are four. It is also planned to transfer four more. The current Ukrainian units working with NASAMS were trained by specialists from Norway, which developed the air defense system jointly with the United States, in 60 days, although such training should normally last six months.
NASAMS launchers will need to be overhauled at some point. And since American forces or contractors cannot operate in Ukraine, the systems will have to be sent to other European countries for overhaul.
The United States will also purchase sets of the IFATDS automated artillery fire control system for HIMARS Ukraine. The kits are intended for 18 future new HIMARS of Ukraine.
Ukraine, meanwhile, is developing air-to-air drones to shoot down Iranian kamikaze drones, Digital Transformation Minister Mikhail Fedorov told The Associated Press. According to Fedorov, the situation will change dramatically for the better in February-March.
Shelling and casualties
Since the beginning of the Russian strikes on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have destroyed more than 420 missiles and 430 kamikaze drones, Colonel Yuriy Ignat, a representative of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said .
“The countdown date for the start of massive enemy missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure facilities is considered to be October 10, but in fact, the first attack on the Kharkiv CHPP was delivered on September 11,” says Ignat. “Just as the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on that day overseas, the Russians also chose this date for their dirty work.” Since then, according to Yuriy Ignat, the Russian military has fired an unprecedented amount of weapons at Ukrainian fuel and energy infrastructure facilities.
In the Russian Federation, three soldiers who died during the strike on the Engels airfield were buried.
- Voronov Andrey Nikolaevich - Major of the Guards, Engineer of the Aviation Complex of the Engineering and Aviation Service of the Aviation Squadron on the Tu-160 [rocket carrier bomber] of the Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, veteran;
- Anufrienko Maksim Andreevich - guards senior lieutenant, engineer of the aircraft and aircraft engines maintenance group of the aviation engineering service of the aviation squadron on the Tu-160 of the guards heavy bomber aviation regiment;
- Pampukhin Alexander Anatolyevich - senior lieutenant of the guard, engineer of the aviation complex of the aviation engineering service of the aviation squadron on the Tu-160 of the guards heavy bomber aviation regiment.
Mobilized feign negotiations for victories
The pro-Russian Telegram channel “TopaZ says” published a publication about the reasons for the failure of mobilization in Russia. In particular, this is the lack of high-quality military training and motivation. The military are so unmotivated to fight that they imitate negotiations between the same units.
“There is a large-scale intentional and not intentional sabotage of the conduct of hostilities by the mobilized. For example, the men got used to and learned to play "radio games", that is, to simulate the performance of a combat mission on the radio, sitting in a comfortable and safe dugout. With all the resulting victorious exclamations and panicked cries. I’m already silent about rampant drunkenness and the complete absence of at least some security measures and countering the enemy’s sabotage activity.”