Ukraine Daily Summary - Sunday, December 31

At current rate, Russia to lose 500,000 troops by 2025 -- Russia won't give explanation over missile in Poland without 'concrete evidence' it's Russian -- Exploring Ukraine’s most important battles of 2023 -- Ordinary Russians also bear the brunt of this war -- and more

Sunday, December 31

Russia’s war against Ukraine

Shops and other civilian infrastructure were damaged as a result of Russia’s evening attack on Kharkiv. (Oleh Syniehubov/Telegram)

Russia launches second attack against Kharkiv. Russia launched a drone attack against downtown Kharkiv on Dec. 31, just hours after a previous attack injured 26 people and damaged civilian infrastructure, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov announced on Telegram.

Zelensky: Russia will be held responsible for every strike on Ukrainian cities. “For every Shahed drone, for every Russian missile, there will be a fair responsibility of the terrorist state, both political and very practical,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening video address on Dec. 30.

Russian authorities claim Ukrainian attack on Belgorod. Explosions and fires were recorded in Russia’s Belgorod on Dec. 30, according to Russian Telegram channels. Russian officials accused Ukraine of attacking the city. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility.

Businessman detained over allegedly attempting to bribe State Bureau of Investigation official. A businessman from Lviv was detained for allegedly attempting to bribe an official of the State Bureau of Investigation with $500,000, the Bureau announced on Dec. 30.

Ministry: Power supply fully restored in Kyiv Oblast following massive Russian attack. Works on restoring power and gas supplies are underway in several other regions across Ukraine.

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Air Force: Ukraine downs 5 of 10 Russian attack drones launched overnight. The majority of the drones targeted Kherson Oblast, dealing extensive damage to a Kherson Ombudsman office.

Head of Ukraine’s biggest alcohol holding denies charges of funding Russia’s war: ‘Hope it’s not a corporate raiding attempt.’ The SBU claimed that Cherniak’s companies bought alcohol from Russia and paid $150 million to the Russian budget in taxes in 2022.

ISW: Russia to continue large-scale combined weapons strikes against Ukraine.

Russia will likely continue to conduct strikes against Ukraine in the coming days to coincide with the New Year holiday as they did last year in an effort to degrade Ukrainian morale, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported in their daily assessment on Dec. 29.

Ukraine’s defense minister speaks with Pentagon chief about Russia’s largest air attack, front-line situation. Defense Minister Rustem Umerov spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin by phone on Dec. 29 and discussed Russia’s largest air attack on Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion and the situation on the front line, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Military: Ukrainians can choose brigade for mobilization themselves. Individuals subject to compulsory military service who wish to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces can choose a brigade to serve in, Volodymyr Fito, the head of the Army’s public relations service, said during TV marathon on Dec. 29.

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A historian by profession who has studied war for over a decade, Olesya Khromeychuk found her research spilling over into real life when her older brother Volodymyr was killed in 2017 near Popasna in Luhansk Oblast, nearly two years into his military service.

Photo: Oleksii Filipov/AFP via Getty Images

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Exploring Ukraine’s most important battles of 2023

The year 2023 was one slow battle of attrition after another, with destruction and loss of life on a shocking scale. From Bakhmut to Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Kupiansk and Avdiivka, the Kremlin casually sacrificed hundreds of thousands of men and their equipment.

Photo: Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

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Human cost of war

Update: Casualties from Russian attack on Kharkiv rises to 26. Russian forces attacked downtown Kharkiv on Dec. 30, injuring 26 people, the regional prosecutor’s office reported. Among those injured are two boys, aged 14 and 16, and a foreign journalist. Previous reporting stated that only 20 civilians were injured.

Update: Death toll of Russia’s mass air attack on Ukraine rises to 41. The death toll of Russia’s Dec. 29 air attack on Ukraine has increased to 41 as another body was recovered from the rubble in Kyiv.

Governor: Russian attack kills woman in Kherson. A Russian attack on Kherson killed a 59-year-old woman on Dec. 30, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

Russian missile strikes kill 3, injure 6 in Donetsk Oblast. Russian missile strikes on front-line communities in Donetsk Oblast killed three and injured six civilians on Dec. 30, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

Governor: Russian attack on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast injures woman. Russian forces attacked Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with artillery, drones, and a cruise missile, injuring a 65-year-old woman, regional governor Serhii Lysak reported on Dec. 30.

Update: Death toll of Russian Dec. 29 attack against Odesa rises to 5. The latest report pushes the total death toll of the Dec. 29 attack to 40 people: 16 in Kyiv, nine in Zaporizhzhia, six in Dnipro, five in Odesa, three in Kharkiv, one in Lviv.

Russian attacks against Chernihiv Oblast kill man. Russian attacks against Chernihiv Oblast’s border town of Semenivka on Dec. 30 killed a 32-year-old resident, Governor Viacheslav Chaus said.

Russian attacks kill 2 in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia oblasts. A 55-year-old man was killed in a Russian strike against Kherson’s suburb of Antonivka, Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Death toll in Russia’s air attack rises: 5 more bodies recovered in Kyiv, making it deadliest attack (UPDATED). The latest reports push the total death toll of the Dec. 29 attack to 39 people: 16 in Kyiv, nine in Zaporizhzhia, six in Dnipro, four in Odesa, three in Kharkiv, one in Lviv.

UK Defense Ministry: At current rate, Russia to lose 500,000 troops by 2025. Russia will likely need five to 10 years to rebuild a cohort of highly trained and experienced military units, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on Dec. 30.

General Staff: Russia has lost 358,270 troops in Ukraine. This number includes 750 casualties Russian forces reportedly suffered just over the past day.

International response

US: Ordinary Russians also bear the brunt of this war. During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response to an alleged attack in Belgorod, U.S. official John Kelley stated that “ordinary Russian civilians are also bearing the brunt of the Kremlin’s brutal war.”

EU Commission VP: Ukraine’s membership to ‘take years,’ not decades. Ukraine’s accession to EU membership will take years rather than decades, Vera Jourova, the EU Commission’s vice-president, told Czech outlet Novinky in an interview published on Dec. 30.

UK defense secretary calls on world to provide further air defenses to Ukraine.

The world should follow the U.K.’s example and reinforce Ukraine’s air defenses, U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on Dec. 30, only a day after pledging hundreds of British anti-air missiles to Kyiv.

Germany pledges additional $27 million for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The German state-owned KfW Development Bank will allocate 24.5 million euros ($27.1 million) to restore and improve Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the German embassy in Ukraine announced on Dec. 30.

Russian media: Russia won’t give explanation over missile in Poland without ‘concrete evidence’ it’s Russian. Moscow is not going to give an explanation about the Russian missile in Polish airspace until it is provided with “concrete evidence” that the missile is Russian, the country’s charge d’affaires in Poland was quoted saying.

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