Good morning from Kyiv which, along with other cities across Ukraine, has been targeted with a barrage of missiles this morning. It began around 6 a.m. when the air alert sounded across the country. Two hours later, the air defense system kicked in across the Kyiv region and several explosions could be clearly heard in various districts. The massive attack is still ongoing. According to Ukrainian officials, Russia may have launched up to 100 rockets today in a continuing quest to destroy Ukraine's power grid.

 

What’s happening?

 

Blasts were heard in Kyiv amid reports of over 100 missiles launched toward Ukraine. The authorities have said that the explosions came from air defense systems shooting down incoming missiles.

 

Additionally, blasts were heard in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Odesa and Lviv, according to local media reports.

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In Kyiv, fragments of a downed rocket damaged a private building in Darnytskyi district and a car parked nearby.

 

There were also several explosions in Kharkiv, Mayor Terekhov reports. Information about the victims is still being clarified.

 

Power cuts were announced in the Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions, aimed at minimizing potential damage to the energy infrastructure.

 

The attack is still ongoing.

 

What was in Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest message?

In his latest address on Dec. 28, President Zelensky reported on having a meeting with the Minister of Defense of France who arrived in Ukraine.

Poland to Create Council on Cooperation with Ukraine
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Poland to Create Council on Cooperation with Ukraine

A Polish politician said the new council would assist in the reconstruction of Ukraine and include representatives from the science, business and government sectors.

 

"We discussed cooperation over the year, the reconstruction of our country, and another step in strengthening our air defense," the president said.

 

Zelensky has also urged Ukrainians to support each other during the dark times.

 

"No matter what is happening and what is on your mind, support each other… Please take the time to say kind words to those close to you. Even if these are not people close to you – just to other Ukrainians. Please find an opportunity and a moment to say thank you for the work, to praise for this or that effort and for the care," Zelensky stressed.

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"Hug your family more often. Tell your friends more often how much you appreciate them. Support colleagues more often. Thank your parents more often. Rejoice with children more often," he added.

 

 

What’s the latest military situation?

 

The Dec. 29 British Ministry of Defense (MoD) update reported that after the Engels Air Base was attacked on Dec. 26 for the second time in three weeks, it has become increasingly clear that Russia is struggling to counter air threats deep inside Russia, even though it has long given a very high priority to maintaining advanced ground-based air defenses.

 

According to the MoD assessment, one challenge for Russia is probably the exceptional demand on its fleet of modern, medium-range air defense systems, such as the SA-22 Pantsir, which would typically be expected to take a major role in countering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

 

As well as providing defenses for strategic sites such as Engels, these systems are currently required in large number to protect field headquarters near the front line in Ukraine.

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The Institute for the Study of War’s Dec. 28 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably that:

  • The Russian offensive against Bakhmut is likely culminating;
  • Russian forces appear to be preparing for a decisive effort in Luhansk Oblast and appear less likely to conduct a new offensive in Zaporizhzhia Oblast in the winter of 2023;
  • The Kremlin continues to demonstrate that Russia has no genuine intention of engaging in negotiations with Ukraine by insisting that Ukraine accept Russia’s illegal annexations of Ukrainian land;
  • The Kremlin continues to present the U.S. transfer of Patriot air defense systems as an escalation in US-Russia relations, but the ISW forecasts with high confidence that Russia will not deliberately seek to escalate to a major conflict with NATO as a result;
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Kreminna, where Russian forces continued counterattacks to regain lost positions;
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut, Donetsk City, and in western Donetsk Oblast;
  • Russian forces continued defensive and rotational operations in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts;
  • The Kremlin has approved additional funds for the development of defensive fortifications and is attempting to staff fortification efforts in Russian border areas and occupied Ukraine.

 

And that’s it for today’s Morning Memo.

Kyiv Post will bring you the latest news throughout the day and we’ll be back with another edition tomorrow.

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