Good morning from Kyiv. The capital enjoyed its third quiet night in a row but tension remains high ahead of Christmas on January 6-7 according to the "old" Julian Calendar.
The missile and drone attacks across Ukraine over the New Year weekend were a reminder that the Kremlin has a bizarre fetish of marking important dates with extreme violence.
What’s happening today?
There’s some very positive news to report this morning. Ukraine is set to receive its first batch of western tanks courtesy of France.
The six-wheeled AMX-10 RC has been described as "perhaps old but high-performance" and represents a significant shift in French military support for Ukraine and comes after months of requests from Kyiv for such vehicles.
You can read more about them and the reaction to the announcement here.
Over in Russia, the fallout from the devastating New Year strike on an army barracks in the occupied town of Makiivka continues to rumble on, presenting a growing problem to the Kremlin as authorities try and work out exactly who to blame.
Russia’s top brass has tried to pin it on the dead troops themselves, but regional Russian authorities have since praised their heroism and bravery.
You can read more about that story here.
What was President Zelensky’s latest message?
In his daily address on Wednesday evening, Zelensky praised France’s decision to send Ukraine tanks and took the opportunity to gently reprimand other countries for not doing the same.
"This is what sends a clear signal to all our other partners," he said: "There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western-type tanks.
"And this is very important to restore security for all Ukrainians and peace for all Europeans."
He stressed that these would be crucial in order to "put an end to the Russian aggression this year exactly".
What’s the situation on the battlefront?
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) update on Jan. 5 focuses on Russia’s recent relocation of a number of heavy and medium bombers to the far-east of the country, likely a reaction to attacks on one of their main bases in Engels.
The MoD notes that the missiles these bombers launch have a range of 5,000 km so Ukrainian cities are still well within range.
But in better news, it adds: "However, operating from dispersal locations will add additional maintenance stress and will further deplete the limited flying hours available on these aging aircraft."
The Institute for the Study of War’s Jan. 4 daily assessment covers a multitude of topics, most notably:
The Russian MoD has again shifted the rhetoric and format of its daily situational reports (SITREPs) likely to flood the information space with insignificant claimed successes and distract from its significant military failures.
· Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Chief Kyrylo Budanov stated that Ukrainian forces intend to launch a major counteroffensive throughout Ukraine in the spring of 2023.
· Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut amid continued indicators that the broader offensive may be culminating.
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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