Events on the front line
Russian artillery became more active in the Zaporozhye direction . Blows were inflicted on Plavni and Kamensky. This is in the direction of the M-18 highway, which leads to Melitopol. To the east - the shelling of Shcherbakov, Novoandreevka, Novodanilovka, Malaya Tokmachka and Belogorye. The Armed Forces of Ukraine responded with a missile attack on Tokmok.
Fierce fighting continues in the Bakhmut direction . According to War Gonzo, near Bakhmut, the Wagner PMC is conducting an offensive in the direction of Kleshchievka and from the side of Experienced. On the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut, they are trying to attack the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To the north of the city, PMC mercenaries are storming the Podgorodny area near the M-03 highway. There is also an offensive to the southeast of Soledar and from Yakovlevka.
VICE News journalists spent two weeks in Bakhmut and published a video about how the residents of the city are trying to survive. They talked to the locals and interviewed the girl Sonya, whose family remains in Bakhmut. For nine months, the family lives under constant shelling, going down to the bunker in the evenings. There were more than 30 people in the class of eight-year-old Sonya. As the girl's father said, all her friends and classmates left, she was left alone in the city.
The Russian military, who is located near Bakhmut, told Important Stories about heavy losses in his unit. He clarified that about 40% of his colleagues were killed. According to the man, after Vladimir Zelensky arrived in Bakhmut, the Armed Forces of Ukraine began to fight with renewed vigor.
“As if they were brought some kind of holy water for courage,” the military man says. According to the man, if Vladimir Putin came to the positions of the Russian military, this would also motivate them.
The pro-Russian military commissar, the author of the Brussels Svyazny Telegram channel, published a photo of the tank crew of the Wagner PMC group, working on the latest T-90M Proryv.
According to CIT analysts, two of the three crew members are dressed in VVZ VKPO military uniforms (wind and moisture-proof all-weather field uniforms) and poor quality military berets. Judging by such poor equipment, these crew members do not belong to the Wagnerians, which indirectly confirms the hypothesis that the Wagner group near Bakhmut was reinforced with the latest Russian tanks, along with mechanical drivers and, possibly, gunners.
In the Ugledar direction, Russian troops are shelling Velikaya Novosyolka, Prechistovka and Zolotaya Niva. In the area of the last of the listed settlements, they tried to move on the ground.
There are no significant changes in the Donetsk direction . The Russian army once again attacks Novomikhailovka. There are fierce battles in the city limits of Marinka. The Armed Forces are on the defensive. The next attempts of offensive actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on Nevelskoye, Pervomayskoye, Vodyanoye and from the side of Experienced.
Massive strike on Ukraine and attack by drones
On the evening of December 28, Russia once again bombarded Ukraine with kamikaze drones. Explosions sounded in the Nikolaev and Dnepropetrovsk regions, and drones were also noticed in southern Ukraine.
On the morning of December 29, Russia continued to strike, but with missiles. As noted by the pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar, this time the targets of the massive missile strike were not only energy facilities, but also, apparently, Ukrainian air defense position areas.
In Kiev , at least four arrivals are known. The metro does not work in the city, the light is partially lost. The deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, wrote that three people were injured in the Darnitsky district of Kyiv, including a 14-year-old girl. The city authorities reported that fragments of a missile shot down by an air defense system fell on the private houses where these people live.
In the Odessa region , at least 5 strikes were counted. The same number of blows fell on Kharkov . The metro does not work in the city, and heating, hot and cold water have disappeared in some areas. One of the targets, most likely, was CHPP-3 near the Turboatom plant in the Nemyshlyansky district, Rybar notes.
In Lviv , local residents reported at least 3 arrivals, after which electricity almost completely disappeared in the city, transport did not function. Ukrainian sources reported explosions in Nikolaev. One blow hit an object in the Chernihiv region . In Vinnitsa, Sumy and Khmelnitsky regions, air defense systems worked.
In the Ivano-Frankivsk region, a rocket hit a residential building directly, but did not explode. Photo published by Kirill Timoshenko.
According to Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President's Office, 120 missiles were fired in Ukraine today. The Moscow calling Telegram channel posted a video of how the Ukrainian military shot down a missile from a MANPADS.
Attacks on Engels
The air defense system (air defense) again worked near Engels in the Saratov region. As Governor Roman Busargin wrote in his Telegram channel, an unidentified object was shot down. Earlier, the Mash Telegram channel reported , citing local residents, about explosions in the area of a military airfield and an air raid alert in the city.
Later, the head of the region clarified that the air defense system shot down a drone in the Engels region. According to him, the wreckage of the drone damaged the fence of a private house, a car and a garage, and a window on the balcony was broken in one of the houses. The Military Observer Telegram channel publishes a video with the found tail section of an anti-aircraft missile, presumably the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile system, which was discovered near the Engels airbase.
At Domodedovo Airport, passengers cannot fly out of Moscow due to the closure of airspace after a drone attack in Engels. As reported by the Telegram channel “Beware, Moscow”, the passengers of the Moscow-Penza plane were announced that the flight was postponed for an indefinite period. “The commander said that the airspace of Saratov and Penza is closed. We deployed two sides back to Moscow, ”passengers said.
On December 26, a Ukrainian drone attack on the Engels-2 airfield, where Russian strategic bombers are based, killed three people. According to the version of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the drone was shot down, the military died as a result of falling debris.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, said that there were more deaths. “It is precisely known about the defeat of aircraft, and vehicles, and personnel. We are talking about much more than the 3 dead, which was announced by the Rashists,” Yusov said.
He added that the explosions will continue on the territory of the Russian Federation. “These incidents are a direct consequence of the aggressive war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and evidence of the degradation of infrastructure, military, defense and management in the so-called Russian Federation. For everything that happens on the territory of the aggressor country, the government of the aggressor country, represented by dictator Putin, is responsible.”
Prior to this, the Engels-2 airfield was attacked by a drone on December 5, as a result of which two Tu-95 bombers were damaged. Two soldiers were wounded.
Western military analysts note that the success of two Ukrainian UAV strikes on Engels could be due to the lack of Russian air defense systems, which were transferred to the occupied territories in Ukraine.
Speaking to The Insider, Pavel Luzin, an expert on defense policy and the military-industrial complex, confirmed that a shortage of short-range and medium-range air defense systems is indeed possible.
“Air defense systems, even when they are, cannot work 24/7, they turn on only when there is information about the threat. Of course, it is possible to organize round-the-clock operation of radars and observation posts, but this requires a multiple increase in the number of systems themselves that protect a particular object. If information is missing or comes late, then the effectiveness of air defense is greatly reduced or it simply does not have time to turn on.
Engels is located about 750 km from the border with Ukraine. A Soviet Tu-141 Strizh drone is probably used to attack it. This is a reusable operational-tactical reconnaissance aircraft with a flight range of up to 1000 km.
Israeli military expert David Gendelman, in a conversation with The Insider, noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have few Swifts, but Ukraine has developed its own long-range strike drone.
“There were several dozen Swifts in Ukraine, they began to modernize them in 2014. And in this war they were used several times. In any case, there are few of them, in combat condition there may be a couple of dozen. But there is always a factor here that is not published by Ukroboronprom — its own Ukrainian strike drone has already been developed with a range of up to a thousand kilometers. The only question here is whether this is really some kind of serial product or is still an experimental development. On the other hand, there are also few strategic facilities like Engels, so the APU can continue to deliver such harassing strikes. Let's see if Ukroboronprom develops something based on the Swifts or something of its own. It is clear that they are putting every effort into this, because the effect of the blows against Engels is visible to everyone.
Ukraine received 12 Panthera T6 armored vehicles manufactured by the UAE. A photo with armored vehicles was published by the Military Informant Telegram channel. It is not yet known who transferred these combat vehicles to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Panthera T6 is manufactured in the United Arab Emirates by Minerva Special Purpose Vehicles. The crew consists of two people. The troop compartment can accommodate six fighters. The maximum speed on the highway is 165 kilometers per hour. The armored car can be armed with a heavy machine gun mounted in a special turret on the roof.
Paris is considering the possibility of supplying Kyiv with a batch of Mistral air defense systems. This was stated by the country's Minister of Defense Sebastian Lecornu following negotiations with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. In addition, the French authorities will create a fund in the amount of 200 million euros to allow Ukraine to purchase weapons from French manufacturers, writes Le Figaro.
At the same time, of the 16 delivered 155-mm French self-propelled guns CAESAR, absolutely all require repair. The French newspaper reports that due to the colossal rate of fire, the barrels of the delivered Caesars wear out quickly, which worries the Ukrainian army, which does not have access to spare parts.
See also the military summary of The Insider for December 28: “The states will strengthen the air defense of Ukraine, mobilized by the Russian Federation imitate combat radio traffic. What's going on at the front.