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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 676: War rages on New Year’s Eve, Russia rains drones, Ukraine fights back

In a New Year’s Eve attack, Russia bombarded Ukraine with dozens of explosive drones and missiles. A Kherson teenager was killed and another child seriously injured by Russian shelling.

Exclusives

With billions invested, Ukraine-EU defense cooperation gains momentum. Defense industry and cooperation can’t be built in one day. But the good news for Ukraine is that it can’t be canceled in one day either due to huge investments and multi-year contracts. Even if governmental military aid from the US or EU declines, new factories and joint production will continue deliveries regardless of politics.

Five realistic scenarios of war in Ukraine in 2024: GLOBSEC report. New analysis gamed out several ways the Russia-Ukraine war could unfold, but saw little chance for clear victory or defeat for either side next year.

Military

Frontline report: Russian Defense Ministry admits that destruction in Belgorod caused by Russia’s air defense work. Ukrainian forces launched a counterstrike on Russian missile launchers responsible for the recent devastating strikes on Kharkiv.

Russian shelling kills Kherson teenager, another child in serious condition. At the time of the shelling, the children were near a store.

Kyiv: 23 dead recovered from debris as result of Russian missile attack on December 29. As a result of one of the deadliest Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure on December 29 across multiple Ukrainian cities, 35 casualties reported in the capital alone.

Russian strikes claim lives in Kharkiv Oblast: two dead recovered from rubble in Borova . The bodies of a 55-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man retrieved from the rubble of a collapsed building.

Ukraine forces neutralize half of New Year’s eve Russia drone assault, three Ukrainian oblasts affected. In a New Year’s Eve assault, Russia launched almpst fifty “”Shahed”” drones, but Ukraine’s defenders intercepted half.

Another delusional fantasy: Ukraine denies Russia’s claims that it targeted military in Kharkiv hotel. Russia claimed Sunday that a missile strike on a Kharkiv hotel killed Ukrainian intelligence agents, an assertion Ukraine dismissed as delusional fantasy from a terrorist regime.

As of 30 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: 358270 (+750)
      • Tanks: 5969 (+16)
      • APV: 11053 (+20)
      • Artillery systems: 8434 (+17)
      • MLRS: 939 (+1)
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 621 (+1)
      • Aircraft: 329
      • Helicopters: 324
      • UAV: 6554 (+15)
      • Cruise missiles : 1708 (+88)
      • Warships/boats: 23
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 11244 (+29)

Intelligence and Technology

US Patriots in Ukraine intercept 15 Russian hypersonic missiles. The American Patriot air defense systems, deployed in Ukraine in April 2023, became operational in May.

International

Serbian protesters use revamped logo of Euromaidan Press. They are trolling their government’s accusaltions of a “”west-inspired coup attempt”” in response to protests against election fraud.

West should not wait for Pearl Harbor effect in Ukraine –Lithuanian FM. “We could wait for what I have called the “Pearl Harbor effect”, a moment in history when the problems of tomorrow finally become the problems of today, but at an enormously inflated price. Or we could treat this as today’s problem and start solving it today,'” Landsbergis wrote in a tweet.

Ombudsman: Russians trying to use relatives of Ukrainian POWs against Ukraine. The Ukrainian Ombudsman says Russia systematically tells Ukrainian POW families that Ukraine blocks returns, demanding relatives hold protests and provide infrastructure photos to Russia.

New Developments

Ukraine exports 13 mn tons by sea since summer defying Russian blockade. By creating a safe maritime corridor, Ukraine has shipped 13 million tons of critical exports on hundreds of vessels since August, defying Russia’s threats to blockade the Black Sea.

Russian Black Sea Fleet HQ still in ruins after Ukraine’s September strike, partisans show. Ukraine launched a missile strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet HQ in occupied Crimea in September as part of the ‘Crab Trap’ operation.

Read our earlier daily review here

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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 620: Northern lights shimmer across Ukraine, the country makes “excellent progress” toward EU

Stunning northern lights have been spotted across Ukraine in an extremely rare occurrence that provided a moment of beauty amid the horrors of war. The uplifting moment comes as Ukraine seeks more air defenses to counter Russian strikes targeting civilian sites and the frontline. Ukraine's president is also shifting military strategy to try to regain momentum.