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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 668: Ukrainian forces grind down Russian troops in east

Ukrainian forces continue defending Bakhmut from Russian soldiers and hold positions in Kherson.

Exclusive

Block Western CNCs, then Russia’s arsenal fails. Advanced western machine tools that can automatically cut out any high-precision metal part are a gaping hole in the West’s sanctions on Russia’s war machine
“Do not despair.” Ex-minister Zagorodnyuk on lessons from Ukraine’s counteroffensive. All wars have had setbacks. What Ukraine needs is not gloom but lessons learned analysis. And a million drones.

Military

Ukrainian soldiers take down 450 Russian occupiers on Kupiansk, Bakhmut fronts. The Ukrainian military has neutralized over 450 Russian occupiers and destroyed over 100 pieces of the enemy’s military equipment, said Volodymyr Fitio, the Public Relations Chief of the Ground Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the national marathon.

Russian forces attack thermal power plant, injuring five energy workers. This is the 10th Russian attack on frontline thermal power plants in the past two months, DTEK energy company reported.

Frontline report: Ukraine moves Patriot system closer to frontline, resulting in three Russian aircraft downed. Ukrainian troops have likely relocated a Patriot air defense system, a move that will significantly diminish Russian aviation’s advantage in the skies over Kherson Oblast, where the Russian military frequently drops numerous air bombs on Ukrainian positions.

ISW: Russia makes minor gains near Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Russian forces made marginal gains northeast of Bakhmut and near Opytne and Stepove, Avdiivka direction. Ukrainian forces continue to hold positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro in the Kherson Oblast.

Intelligence and Technology

DW: How Ukraine’s hackers attack Russian targets on cyber front lines. Cybersecurity researchers say the aim of attacks, which have become more sophisticated during the war, shifting their focus to fewer but more targeted operations, is to discredit Russia. This year, hackers launched 130 attacks on more than 400 pro-Russian targets.

Ukrainian maritime drones create 200-mile security zone in Black Sea. Successful attacks by maritime drones, coupled with missile strikes on Russian naval facilities have enabled Ukraine to drive Russia’s ships out of Sevastopol Bay and establish a safe sea corridor for merchant vessels.

Ukraine seeks to expand battlefield tech with AI integration. From intelligence processing to autonomous weapons, Ukraine is pushing the development of AI systems.

UK intel: Rodent infestation on frontline impacts troops and equipment. Both Ukrainian and Russian troops are reportedly facing significant issues due to an unusual increase in rat and mouse infestations in several frontline sectors, posing a threat to equipment and adding “further pressure to frontline combatants’ morale.”

Russia stole nearly 8 million tons of harvest in occupied Ukraine. Approximately 6.4 million tons of wheat and nearly 1.5 million tons of sunflower seeds were harvested in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories this year, NASA Harvest revealed.

Biden signs record defense bill with Ukraine aid. President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, which provides nearly a trillion dollars for the US military and allocates funds for Ukraine.

International

“Ukraine should win, and Russia should lose,” says Poland’s new foreign minister in Kyiv. Poland’s new Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said Russia will lose the war with Ukraine if Europe mobilizes its efforts and helps Kyiv, during his first visit abroad since taking office.

Independent: Mayor of London backs cars for Ukraine despite previous refusal. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to support providing 4x4s and other vehicles to Ukraine that would otherwise be scrapped under the Ulez scheme, the Independent has reported.

Humanitarian and Social Impact

Sky News: Ukraine to celebrate Christmas on 25 December officially for first time. Many Ukrainians are preparing to celebrate Christmas on 25 December for the first time as the country adopted the Western, Gregorian calendar’s date for this holiday, Sky News reported.

Ukraine shoots down Russian drones in Odesa Oblast, school damaged by debris. A Russian kamikaze drone attack was thwarted by the Ukrainian air defense, which destroyed all seven drones.

Zelenskyy imposes sanctions on Russian individuals, companies operating in occupied territories of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has signed decrees on personal sanctions targeting eight Russian individuals and 51 legal entities registered in Russia which are currently operating in occupied territories of Ukraine.

How Putin’s top ally killed Prigozhin: The inside story of Russia’s power struggle. The WSJ revealed how Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, orchestrated the assassination of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group and Putin’s rival.

New Developments

Ukraine’s 2023 counteroffensive: Ex-minister Zagorodnyuk on what went wrong and what’s next.. Ukraine’s former Minister of Defense and head of the Center for Defense Strategies Andriy Zagorodnyuk sits down with Euromaidan Press editor-in-chief Alya Shandra to discuss whether the accusations levied at Ukraine’s defense officers in the Washington Post two-part article on what went wrong with the 2023 counteroffensive are legit, how the war has entered uncharted territory, the victory plan and million drones that Ukraine needs, the three scenarios of the war’s development in 2024, and why Ukraine’ supporters should not despair.

Read our earlier daily review here.

As of 23 Dec 2023, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

    • Personnel: 352390 (+1040)
    • Tanks: 5854 (+17)
    • APV: 10871 (+28)
    • Artillery systems: 8286 (+36)
    • MLRS: 932
    • Anti-aircraft systems: 611
    • Aircraft: 327 (+3)
    • Helicopters: 324
    • UAV: 6384 (+19)
    • Cruise missiles : 1613
    • Warships/boats: 22
    • Submarines: 1
    • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 10995 (+51)
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