Ukraine starts new year with major attack on Russian troops | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine starts new year with major attack on Russian troops | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine has started the new year with a major attack that killed many Russian soldiers in their barracks and with a defensive victory – its air force said it managed to shoot down all the Iranian drones that Russia launched against Ukrainian infrastructure since the beginning of year.

Ukraine fired six artillery rockets at a barracks in Makiivka, Donetsk region, using its US-supplied HIMARS system, minutes after the New Year holiday.

Four of the missiles went through air defenses, the Russian defense ministry admitted, hitting their target.

Russia admitted 63 deaths two days after the strike, later raising that number to 89.

But video of the wreckage showed that the temporary barracks, a former vocational school, had been almost completely flattened, suggesting the toll may be much higher and it may take time to extricate the bodies.

Ukraine said soldiers were stationed near a large ammunition depot, which exploded, and claimed around 400 Russian soldiers were killed and 300 wounded.

The attack caused an uproar among Russian military reporters and lawmakers, who called for the resignation of Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, although he is not technically part of the Russian military hierarchy.

Law enforcement in Donetsk tried to deflect blame by suggesting that the soldiers themselves were to blame for using their cellphones, enabling Ukrainian electronic surveillance to track them.

“Preliminarily, the reason for the attack on HIMARS was its active use of mobile phones [newly] military personnel arrived. The enemy, using the ECHELON reconnaissance complex, discovered the activity of mobile communications and the location of subscribers,” a source told the Russian news agency Tass.

The Russian Ministry of Defense approved this explanation.

Ukraine said it had achieved some success on the ground as well.

Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov said Ukrainian ground forces had advanced 2.5 km (1.5 miles) toward the occupied city of Kreminna in Luhansk region during the last week of 2022 and were continuing to advance.

Military analysts have estimated that if Ukraine were to retake Kreminna and Svatove, both just a few kilometers from the line of contact in Luhansk, they could roll over a 40 km (25 mile) section of territory before reaching the next defensive position natural Russian in a counterattack similar to the one that retook most of the Kharkiv region last September.

“In the event of an advance … of the defensive lines of the Russian occupation forces on the Svatove-Kreminna line and, accordingly, the transfer of hostilities closer to the city of Luhansk, a significant part of the servicemen of the units of the 2nd Corps of the army, especially among those mobilized for the temporarily occupied territories, plans to surrender,” said Gromov.

The governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, said that Ukraine could occupy Kremina as early as 2023.

Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told the BBC that the two sides are effectively at a stalemate at the moment and that hardware would make the difference.

“The situation is deadlocked,” Budanov said. “We cannot beat them in all directions comprehensively. Neither can they… We are eagerly awaiting new supplies of weapons and the arrival of more advanced weapons.”

Russia continues the air campaign

Russia did not sit idly by on the last day of 2022, striking Ukraine with drones and missiles, albeit with a slightly reduced intensity.

Ukraine said it shot down all 13 drones launched by Russia and 12 of 20 cruise missiles. Eight people were injured when one of the rockets hit a residential building. More drones would follow overnight, and Ukraine announced on January 1 that it had shot down all 45 Shahed-136 drones that Russia had sent on New Year’s Eve.

Ukraine reported shooting down another 39 drones launched on New Year’s Day.

As of Jan. 2, Ukraine said it maintained a 100 percent kill rate against enemy drones, an “unprecedented” rate according to air force spokesman Yuri Ignat.

“Only two days have passed since the beginning of the year and the number of downed Iranian drones over Ukraine is already more than 80,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video address on January 2.

“We have information that Russia is planning a sustained attack by Shahed drones, he said. “Her bet may be running out. On the fatigue of our people, our air defense, our energy. But we must and will make sure that this terrorist target fails like all the others.”

Ukraine’s air defense has been strengthened in recent weeks by at least two air defense systems NASAMS and IRIS-T. But even without them, the Ukrainian air force had begun to develop ground-based countermeasures that were effective against drones and cruise missiles, the latter of which were extremely difficult to stop.

On December 29, for example, Ukrainian officials reported that their forces shot down 54 of 69 cruise missiles fired by Russian forces and 11 of 23 drones.

Ukraine has also made it a priority to remind Russia that it itself is not immune to long-range airstrikes.

On December 29, Ukraine attacked the Engels Air Base on Russian territory with a drone, three days after it caused three deaths there in a similar attack. Engels houses some of Russia’s long-range strategic bomber fleet. Ukraine had killed three more soldiers at the Engels and Dyagilevo bases on December 5.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Moscow is “struggling to counter air threats deep inside Russia”, with air defense systems such as the Pantsir needed to protect ground headquarters in or near Ukraine.

Who has more staying power in weapons and troops?

There has been ongoing discussion among military observers about Russia’s ability to generate firepower and manpower. Ukraine has destroyed both with precision strikes, such as the one at Makiivka, since July thanks to deliveries of HIMARS missile systems.

Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said Russian forces were maintaining artillery rounds, firing 19,000-20,000 per day, a drop from their previous record.

The UK Ministry of Defense agreed that “munitions shortages are likely to remain the key limiting factor” for Russia, which is “unlikely to have increased its stockpile of artillery ammunition sufficiently to enable offensive operations at scale wide”, considering that “even just maintaining defensive operations along it. The long front line requires a considerable daily expenditure of shells and rockets”.

Russia has bought artillery shells from Belarus and North Korea to make up for the heavy losses of ammunition depots near the front.

But a Ukrainian official warned against complacency.

“The resource of the Russian Federation as a state in general should not be underestimated. Perhaps they are not able to carry out hostilities with the same intensity as before, but, unfortunately, they still have enough reserves and in no way can rest, “said Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar in a telethon.

Retaining the workforce has been a challenge for both parties. Ukraine has mandated conscription since the early days of the war, but Russia postponed mobilization, an unpopular move, until September and October, when it drafted 300,000 men for the war.

Russia’s defense ministry said its regular autumn recruitment had registered 120,000 men in November. The notice stated that the recruits were not destined for Ukraine and would receive five months of training in “modern military weapons and equipment”.

“Citizens called up for military service are not involved in the special military operation in Ukraine, and conscripted servicemen who have completed the prescribed terms of military service are discharged in due time and sent to their places of residence,” the ministry said.

The delay in troop mobilization and assurances that regular conscripts would not be sent to Ukraine may be signs of growing concern with the war in Russia.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov cast doubt on Russia’s assurances, saying Russia was so in need of manpower it was ready to declare martial law, close its borders to men of military age and carry out a new mobilization. a week or so into the new period. year.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview that Moscow would not accept a peace plan proposed by Zelensky in early November, in the first official Russian objection to its specific terms.

The Kremlin opposes the terms that Russian troops withdraw to the 1991 borders, that Russia pay reparations to Ukraine and that it participate in an international criminal court in The Hague.

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