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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 675: Russia attacks downtown Kharkiv as damage in downtown Belgorod linked to Russia’s air defense mistake

20 casualties in Kharkiv as Russia attacks Ukraine’s eastern city. Russia claims to have shot down 32 Ukrainian drones

Exclusive

“I chewed that mouse between my teeth”: Ukrainian POW details torture, starvation in Russian camp. Starved nearly to death in Russian custody, Ukrainian soldier Oleksiy Anulia resorted to eating worms and mice to survive sadistic torture, revealing the scale of abuse in harrowing detail.
US academia still in thrall of “great Russia” myth. Terms like “masterpiece” and “genius” were far more likely to describe Russian versus non-Russian content, reflecting what researchers called qualitative bias

Military

Intense shelling strikes Kharkiv: 17 wounded, among them a British journalist (updated). Russian forces launched over six targeted strikes on central Kharkiv, causing intense damage to civilian infrastructure

Explosions and casualties in downtown Belgorod, reportedly linked to a Russian air defense system error. Explosions and fires in Belgorod’s city center are attributed to a reported error in Russian air defense systems during Ukrainian defense operations

Furious Putin “orders commanders to frontline” after 74 sailors killed in Novocherkassk sinking. Rather than acknowledge his forces’ air defense failures, Putin chooses to sacrifice commanders, Atesh says

Over 500 Russian shells hit Kherson Oblast as fires engulf administrative building, residences, and vehicles. In the past 24 hours Kherson gripped by unrelenting Russian assaults as 536 shells hit, sparking fires.

Night drone strikes on Russia target explosives, microelectronics plants (updated). Russia claims to have shot down 32 drones above the Bryansk, Orel, Kursk, and Moscow oblasts. One of Russia’s largest microelectronics plants and an ammunition factory were one of the targets

Russia claims to repel a naval drone attack on occupied Crimea. Naval drones have been instrumental in Ukraine’s assymetric warfare against the Russian Black Sea fleet

Intelligence and technology

Ghost ships reveal North Korea’s secret arms trade with Russia, posing threat to Ukraine – Bloomberg. Recent satellite imagery indicates heightened activity at a dormant North Korean port near the Russian border, suggesting a revived trade route for arms shipments. The Najin port has witnessed consistent ship traffic since October.

ISW: Russia will continue missile strikes against Ukraine. ISW beleives the strikes pursued hindering Ukraine’s effort to expand its own defense-industrial base, which it has ramped up to sustain itself in the war.

International

Russia intensifies efforts to sow division in French support for Ukraine. Kremlin documents and interviews expose Russia’s intricate campaign. The objective is to weaken NATO resolve, mirroring interference campaigns in Germany.

Ukraine sets up embassy in Ghana for the first time. Opening embassies in Africa is part of Ukraine’s strategy to implement President Zelenskyy’s initiative to hold a global peace summit aimed at resolving the war with Russia. Ukraine plans to open ten new embassies in Africa.

Media: Milei calls off Argentina’s planned BRICS ascension. New Argentinian President Javier Milei notified BRICS leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China that he was withdrawing the country’s bid to join the bloc, despite its planned entry on 1 January.

Humanitarian and social impact

Russian forces killed a man on his birthday, among other civilian casualties. Russian forces conducted shelling in Semenivka, Chernihiv Oblast, and Stepnohirsk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, resulting in the loss of three lives

Zelenskyy awards Medal of Honor to defenders in Avdiivka. The brigade commander, Mykola Chumak, said “Ukrainian defenders firmly hold their positions” in Avdiivka

Ukrainians triple donations for army in 2023 through Monobank, number 2 Ukrainian banking app. In 2023, Ukrainians donated 720 million USD through Monobank, triple the amount from 2022, with 5.4 million donors; at the same time, other data shows decrease in donations.

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