Overview:

  • Last US aid package announced before renewed Congressional discussions
  • Ukraine dramatically boosts domestic production of weapons, Zelensky says
  • Energy slowly returns to Kherson after Kremlin’s holiday civilian strikes
  • Russians continue to encircle Avdiivka
  • AFU makes gains in Horlivka, Donetsk region
  • Left bank conditions are now “Hell” says Ukrainian marine

US DOD rolls out the last aid package of 2023 for Kyiv

The US Department of Defense on Wednesday announced the last remaining package of pre-approved weapons for Ukraine, as talks about renewed aid for Kyiv will have to wait until Congress returns in 2024 from its holiday recess.

The tranche of aid is worth up to $250 million and includes air-defense missiles and other rockets and components, anti-tank systems, and more than 15 million rounds of small-arms ammunition.

On its website, the Defense Department broke down some of the package’s contents:

  • Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);
  • Stinger anti-aircraft missiles;
  • Air defense system components;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; 
  • Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • More than 15 million rounds of small arms ammunition; 
  • Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing; 
  • Spare parts, medical equipment, maintenance, and other ancillary equipment. 

Ukraine increases domestic production of ammunition, drones and missiles to 3X last year

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Ukraine tripled the domestic production of weapons and equipment this year over last, with a focus on artillery shells.

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At a meeting with executives and employees of state-owned and private defense enterprises, Zelensky expressed that “Ukraine’s task is absolutely clear. We must strengthen our state to the point where Russia feels that every one of their strikes will face our retaliation. This task can only be accomplished through sufficient domestic arms manufacturing.”

“This year alone, thanks to everyone who works in the defense sector, it was possible to produce three times more weapons and equipment than last year,” the president claimed.

Zelensky specified that the weapons prioritized for expedited production were ammunition, particularly artillery shells, as well as drones.

No Russian Missile Carriers Spotted Off Crimea Coast
Other Topics of Interest

No Russian Missile Carriers Spotted Off Crimea Coast

Ukrainian Navy says there are no safe locations left for Russian warships in or around Crimea. One Kremlin combat vessel out of range in the Mediterranean with eight Kalibr missiles.

Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin stated that Ukraine increased the production of mortar rounds by a factor of 42, the production of artillery shells by a factor of 2.8, and the production of armored personnel carriers by a factor of five in 2023.

Energy gradually restored to Kherson after Russian strikes

A day after Russian airstrikes killed a policeman at the Kherson train station, wounded several others awaiting an evacuation train, and knocked out power utilities in the area, President Zelensky said in his nightly address that natural gas supply, at least, has been restored in the area.

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“All services are working to restore the energy supply in Kherson. Yesterday, 70 percent of the city was left without electricity. Critical infrastructure was connected to generators. They are gradually restoring normal work. Natural gas supply to Kherson has been restored,” Zelensky said, after meeting with Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.

Klymenko, whose brief includes responding to emergency situations, clearing the territory of mines, and supplying frontline units of the National Guard and police on the front lines, said that about 140 people were waiting at the station for a train that would take them to safety when the airstrikes rained down.

Operations: Donestk

In the Donetsk region, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) recently gained territory west of Horlivka and continued battles with Russian forces there on Wednesday. Geolocated footage published on Tuesday seems to show Ukrainian forces advancing further into a waste heap west of the city.

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Meanwhile, Russian forces advanced north of the heavily contested goal of Avdiivka. Geolocated footage published on Tuesday and Wednesday indicates that Russian forces advanced in eastern Stepove (north of Avdiivka) and south of Avdiivka’s famous Terrikon slag heap.

Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the Ukrainian commander responsible for the Avdiivka area said on Wednesday that the Russian effort to capture Avdiivka continues to be the Russian military’s main offensive effort in Ukraine.

Operations: Dnipro River

The ISW reported that Russian forces made “marginal territorial gains” on the left bank of the Dnipro River over the holiday weekend and that conditions for the AFU troops holding on to a slim strip of land near Krynky have become extremely difficult.

Geolocated footage published on Tuesday appears to show that Moscow’s troops advanced in the western part of Krynky and north of Bilohrudove (9.5 km southwest of Kherson).

Both Russian and Ukrainian sources complained about effective drone usage by the other side on the east bank, as one Ukrainian marine stated in a post quoted by the ISW that conditions at their positions on the east bank are “Hell” due to Russian artillery fire “targeting trenches and supply boats, and due to rising water levels along the coast in certain areas,” the ISW reported.

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