Overview:

  • Four killed, 13 injured by shelling in Donetsk on New Years Eve
  • Rescue efforts at sites of demolished buildings in Kyiv still uncovering bodies
  • Russian forces suffered massive losses on left bank, bloggers say
  • “Putin feels weakness like an animal, because he is an animal,” Zelensky says
  • Few reported gains on either side, but some AFU successes near Kupyansk

Ukrainian shells kill four in occupied Donetsk

Moscow’s occupying authorities on Monday said Ukrainian shelling of Donetsk on New Year's Eve killed four people and wounded 13, AFP reported.

“As a result of Ukrainian shelling of central Donetsk on New Year’s Eve we can say that there are four dead and 13 wounded,” the Russian-installed head of the city, Denis Pushilin, said, claiming that Ukraine used cluster munitions. 

Pushilin said the attack hit the Voroshilov district in central Donetsk. 

The Dec 29 attacks on the capital have now left 29 dead

Kyiv’s military administration reported via Telegram on Monday that the death toll from Moscow’s December 29 missile attack on the capital now stands at 29 civilians.

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“For three days in a row, rescuers have been conducting a search and rescue operation after an aerial strike on Kyiv. Unfortunately, the bodies of those killed by Russian missiles are still being retrieved. As of 22:30 today, the bodies of 29 people have been found,” the administration stated.

On Friday, Russian troops launched about 160 missiles and drones at targets in the city. Kyiv’s air defense forces said they shot down 27 of the drones and 88 cruise missiles. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian bloggers claimed that the Shahed drones used in those attacks are “harder to detect because they are painted black and partially absorb radio signals.”

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Russian forces on left bank may have to pause to replenish, bloggers say

Both Russian and Ukrainian military observers have noted that Moscow’s airborne units (VDV) fighting advancing AFU forces on the left bank of the Dnipro River are suffering heavy losses and are unable to rest and recover. The bloggers said that “experienced and trained VDV contract servicemen form a lower proportion of the VDV’s personnel, and that the VDV has suffered high losses amongst experienced members of the command cadre that had previously made up the core,” the ISW wrote.

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Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets said on New Year’s Eve that elements of the newly formed 104th VDV Division will have to withdraw from near Krynky area to rest after a month of almost continuous fighting there.

Operations: Kupyansk

Russian sources reported that units of the AFU have had “partial success” in battles along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna on New Year’s Eve. A Russian blogger claimed that Ukrainian forces made headway just southeast of Kupyansk, although ISW said it has not observed confirmation of this claim. 

Both Russian and Ukrainian sources stated that fighting continued northeast of Kupyansk near Synkivka, southwest of Svatove near Makiivka, and southwest of Kreminna near Dibrova and the Serebryanske forest area.

Operations: Zaporizhzhia region

Fighting continued in the western parts of the Zaporizhzhia region, but no confirmed gains were reported over the New Year’s holidays. One Russian blogger claimed that Moscow’s troops made “serious progress” in the area over the past week, making things particularly challenging for AFU soldiers west of Robotyne and near Novofedorivka (northeast of Verbove).

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Both Russian and Ukrainian sources reported clashes west of Verbove (east of Robotyne), and east of Kopani (northwest of Robotyne) with “intense artillery fire and counterbattery combat by both sides.

 

Zelensky tells the Economist that the West may not sense the necessary urgency to defeat Putin

“Maybe we did not succeed [last year] as the world wanted. Maybe not everything is as fast as some imagine,” said President Volodomyr Zelensky in an Economist interview published New Year’s Day, lamenting an apparent lack of urgency on the part of the West.

“Putin feels weakness like an animal, because he is an animal. He senses blood, he senses his strength. And he will eat you for dinner with all your EU, NATO, freedom, and democracy,” Zelensky said.

“Giving us money or giving us weapons, you support yourself. You save your children, not ours,” he said. If Russia is allowed to take Ukrainian children, “they will take other children.” If Russia violates the rights of Ukrainians, “it will violate the rights in the world.”

 

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