Dispatches from Ukraine. Day 318.
As Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues and the war rages on, reliable sources of information are critical. Forbes gathers information and provides updates on the situation.
By Daria Dzysiuk.
Russian occupational troops launched artillery bombardments on the Bakhmut area and great the Donetsk region, on January 6, according to the office of Ukraine's Prosecutor General. Private houses, apartment buildings and other facilities were damaged or destroyed. “A 66-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman were killed as a result of powerful mortar attacks on residential areas. Thirteen more people received mine-explosive injuries and shrapnel injuries,” the office prosecutor general said.
Over the past 24 hours Russian troops shelled the Kherson area 39 times with artillery, MLRS, mortars, and tanks, said Yaroslav Yanushevych, Kherson's governor. Kherson’s living quarters came under fire nine times. Russian shells hit private and multifamily buildings, firefighting eqipment, and rescue departments. One person – a local rescuer – was killed while seven Kherson region residents were injured.
Neither Soledar nor Bakhmut in the Donetsk region are under Russian control, said Serhii Cherevatyy, the spokesperson of East troops group, live on a Ukrainian TV broadcast on January 7, refuting claims coming from various Russian channels that Ukraine had lost ground. However, fighting there continues to be intense: only today there were 10 clashes and 76 shelling on the front. “We do everything to preserve our force. Soledar is not under the control of the Russian Federation. Their tactics have not changed – massive attacks by infantry that advance continuously, step by step they made small advances,” Cherevatyy explained.
U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has announced more than $3.75 billion in military assistance to Ukraine and other countries impacted by Russia attempted invasion of Ukraine. “In this first week of 2023, the United States continues to stand strongly behind Ukraine and our European allies and partners by announcing more than $3.75 billion in new military assistance. This assistance includes a $2.85 billion drawdown from stocks of the Department of Defense to be provided immediately to Ukraine and $225 million in Foreign Military Financing to build the long-term capacity and support modernization of Ukraine’s military. It also includes $682 million in Foreign Military Financing for European partners and allies to help incentivize and backfill donations of military equipment to Ukraine,” Blinken’s statement said. U.S. 29th aid package included 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 55 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, 138 high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, 18 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 100 M113 armored personnel carriers, surface to air missiles, ammunition, and other items.
Ukrainian intelligence claims Russia will attempt to mobilize an additional 500,000 troops in January 2023 for the war in Ukraine. So said Vadym Skibitsky, spokesperson for the main Director of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, in an interview for The Guardian. “We expect them to conduct offensives in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, as well as possibly Zaporizhzhia, and to defend in Kherson and Crimea. This is the number of men they will need for such a task,” he explained, arguing with the help of reconnaissance data. Skibitsky said they expect the next wave of mobilization in Russia to start on January 15 as the state's common winter holidays pass. “They are putting their emphasis on numbers of men and equipment and hoping to overwhelm our side.”
For the first time in Ukrainian state history, Christmas services on January 7 were led by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Metropolitan Epiphany in the walls of the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – the prominent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. “Lavra is being released from ‘Russian world captivity'” were Epiphany's words over the morning service to more than a thousand spectators. The service conducted prayers for Ukrainians suffering from Russian occupation and for troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.