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Written by on January 3, 2023

A New Year’s Day attack on a complex in the Russian-controlled city of Makiivka killed scores of recently mobilised 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. Ukraine’s military command said up to 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the incident in Makiivka, a city in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has praised Ukrainians for showing gratitude to the troops and one another 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 defence systems worked through the night to bring down incoming drones and warn communities of the approaching danger, Reuters reported.

Several waves of Russian drones targeted critical infrastructure in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and surrounding areas early on Monday morning. Air raid alerts were sounded 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 defence claimed it shot down 39 Iranian-made Shahed drones, as well as a cruise missile, last night.

Ukraine published the latest figures regarding 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 Defence 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.

Following overnight strikes on Kyiv, energy infrastructure facilities were damaged, causing power and heating outages, Klitschko said on Monday.

Ukraine’s most senior defence 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 mobilised 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 that its strikes on 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.

The Kyiv Independent has reported that “25 torture chambers” have been discovered in the liberated areas of Kharkiv Oblast. The Guardian was not able to independently verify this report.

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”.

Zelenskiy said he was waiting for 2023’s first tranche of European Union (EU) macrofinancial aid in January after speaking to European Comission head Ursula von der Leyen on Monday. Writing on Twitter, Zelenskiy thanked Von der Leyen for her support and said the two leaders coordinated steps on a Ukraine-EU summit.

A New Year’s Eve video address from Christine Lambrecht, the German defence minister, in which she said the conflict in Ukraine had led to “a lot of special experiences” as fireworks exploded in the background, has been widely criticised.

The suspected mastermind behind the removal of a Banksy mural in a Ukrainian town could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty, Ukraine’s interior ministry has said.


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