A New Year’s Day attack on a complex in the Russian-controlled city of Makiivka has killed scores of recently mobilized troops sent by Moscow, according to reports on both sides, in what could be one of the deadliest known incidents involving Russian conscripts so far. Without claiming the strike, Ukraine’s military command said up to 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the incident in the city in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region. Pro-Russian authorities late on Sunday acknowledged that there were casualties, but did not comment on the Ukrainian figures.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has praised Ukrainians for showing gratitude to the troops and to each other and said Russia’s efforts would prove useless. “Drones, missiles, everything else will not help them,” he said of the Russians. “Because we stand united. They are united only by fear.” Ukraine’s air defense systems worked through the night to bring down incoming drones and to warn communities of the approaching danger, Reuters reported.
Several waves of Russian drones targeted critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv and surrounding areas early on Monday morning. Air raid alerts were issued in Kyiv and across eastern Ukraine, beginning just before midnight and still wailing hours later. Debris from a destroyed drone hit Kyiv’s northeastern Desnianskiy district, wounding a 19-year-old man who was later taken to hospital, the city’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.
The Ukrainian ministry of defense claimed it shot down 39 Iranian-made Shahed drones, as well as a cruise missile, last night. Earlier we reported that Ukraine’s regional military command in the country’s east said air defense systems destroyed nine Iranian-made Shahed drones over the Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia regions in the early hours of Monday. Zelenskiy, added that “45 ‘Shaheds’ were shot down on the first night of the year” in his Monday evening address.
Ukraine has published the latest figures in relation to Russian losses since the beginning of the invasion last February. It says an estimated 107,440 Russian soldiers have been killed, while it claims to have destroyed 283 aircraft and more than 3,000 Russian tanks.
Over the last five days, Russian and Ukrainian forces have probably been fighting for control of the P66 highway, north of the Russian-held Luhansk town of Kremina, the UK Ministry of Defense reports. The P66 is a “key supply route for the northern section of Russia’s Donbas front from the Belgorod region of Russia” and its use has been disrupted by Ukrainian artillery since October, the ministry adds.
As a result of overnight strikes on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, energy infrastructure facilities were damaged, causing power and heating outages, city mayor Klitschko said on Monday.
Ukraine’s most senior defense officials have said they believe Russia will attempt a second invasion from the north in the next couple of months, using troops who have been training for the past three months since being mobilized in October. But the Ukrainian forces defending the border say the Russians will not be able to break through as they did in February, when the Sumy region had no defensive lines.
Russia claimed its strikes against Ukraine on New Year’s Eve – including the launch of more than 20 cruise missiles that killed at least three people – were targeting its neighbour’s drone production. A children’s hospital was among the buildings said to have been hit by Russian shelling. Ukrainian officials claim Russia is deliberately targeting civilians to sow fear.
Russian leaders issued a series of defiant messages ahead of the new year. President Vladimir Putin said Russia would “never give in” to the west, and was fighting for its “motherland, truth and justice… so that Russia’s security can be guaranteed”.