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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 679: Ukraine returns home 230 POWs in major prisoner exchange

Ukraine conducted its largest prisoner swap with Russia since the full-scale invasion, returning 230 military staff and civilians.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 679: Ukraine returns home 230 POWs in major prisoner exchange

Exclusive

From Russian prisoner to Ukrainian fighter: an extraordinary defection. Trapped in a Russian prison, Mikhail Pavlov faced two options – join the attacks on Ukraine as a Storm-Z combatant, or find a way to escape and fight alongside Ukrainian forces
Slovakia and Hungary quietly bolster Ukraine’s defenses despite political rhetoric. Business overrides politics in Slovakia and Hungary as both nations’ defense firms expand production and cooperation with Ukraine despite claims of not supplying weapons
Why post-Russian Studies are the future for a post-Russia world. As scholars of Russian imperialism from the Caucasus to Central Asia begin breaking academic silos to forge solidarity against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a glaring question demands an answer: How much responsibility do researchers bear for the war?
ISW: Four reasons why there is no alternative to the total liberation of Ukraine. Anything short of restoration of Ukraine’s 1991 borders will be economically unliftable for Ukraine and the West

Military

General Staff: Ukrainian Forces make advances near Verbove, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukrainian forces also repelled Russian attacks in the Kupiansk, Bakhmut, and Kherson directions, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.

Intelligence and technology

Ukraine’s SeaBaby naval drones can now engage in sea battles, not only carry explosives. With a payload of 850kg, Ukraine’s latest naval drones have already opened fire on Russian ships

British Intel: Russia likely changes approach in its long-range strikes on Ukraine. Recent Russian attacks indicate a pivot in strategy toward Ukraine’s defense industry over civilian sites, using up a significant share of its remaining air-launched missiles, which demonstrate Russian planning for a protracted conflict, the UK intel said.

Norway send jets, instructors to assist training Ukrainian pilots in Denmark. Norway will send two F-16 fighter jets to help train Ukrainian pilots in Denmark, Defense Minister Bjoern Arild Gram said.

International

Missile attacks on Ukraine prove Russia wants war, not peace, German ambassador claims. The missile strikes launched by Russian forces on civilian objects in Ukraine once again prove that Russia seeks war, not peace, said German Ambassador Martin Jaeger on X.

France plans to produce weapons in Ukraine, says ambassador. France plans to change its approach in providing military assistance for Kyiv and enhance the production of weapons directly within Ukraine, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic Gaël Veyssière told Franceinfo.

“Terrible Russian crime”: Activists call Austria to boost Ukraine support after Russian missile attacks on Kyiv. On 2 January, representatives of the Ukrainian community and activists gathered in Vienna to protest against the massive strikes by Russian forces on Ukrainian cities, according to UkrInform.

Humanitarian and social impact

Firearm groups downed every second Russian suicide drone and every fifth missile in Ukraine’s north during Russia’s massive air attack on 2 January.

Ukraine makes largest prisoner exchange since Russia’s full-scale invasion. On 3 January, Ukraine returned 230 military personnel and civilians from Russian captivity after “the most difficult” negotiation process.

New developments

ISW: Putin aims to convince West to betray Ukraine through negotiations. Putin is deliberately framing the war in Ukraine as “a struggle” between Russia and the West rather than between Russia and Ukraine, to convince the West to betray Ukraine through negotiations

FT: Ukraine’s gas storage helps Europe avoid energy crisis. Ukraine’s gigantic gas reserves that were built during the Soviet Union to ensure the Kremlin’s gas monopoly on Europe are now serving the opposite goal: helping Europe get off the Kremlin’s gas needle.

Read our earlier daily review here.

As of 03 Jan 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

    • Personnel: 361500 (+680)
    • Tanks: 5990
    • APV: 11107 (+7)
    • Artillery systems: 8546 (+15)
    • MLRS: 945
    • Anti-aircraft systems: 629 (+3)
    • Aircraft: 329
    • Helicopters: 324
    • UAV: 6748 (+36)
    • Cruise missiles: 1783 (+73)
    • Warships/boats: 23
    • Submarines: 1
    • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 11391 (+26)

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