Russo-Ukraine War - 16 December 2022 - Day 296
A number of claims and counterclaims are being made on the Ukraine-Russia conflict on the ground and online. While GlobalSecurity.org takes utmost care to accurately report this news story, we cannot independently verify the authenticity of all statements, photos and videos.
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that as shown by imagery, in recent weeks, Russian forces have continued to expend considerable effort to construct extensive defensive positions along the front line. They have likely prioritised the northern sector around the town of Svatove.
The Russian constructions follow traditional military plans for entrenchment, largely unchanged since the Second World War. Such constructions are likely to be vulnerable to modern, precision indirect strikes.
The construction of major defensive lines is further illustration of Russia's reversion to positional warfare that has been largely abandoned by most modern Western militaries in recent decades.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that in the morning, Russian forces launched a massive rocket attack on the civil infrastructure of Ukraine. According to updated data, the Russian invaders fired 70 cruise missiles and 4 guided air missiles, 60 cruise missiles were shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces. As a result of the strikes, several energy infrastructure facilities and residential buildings were hit in the Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhia oblasts.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation has not changed significantly, and no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groups have been detected. Certain units of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation continue to be located in the border areas with Ukraine.
On the Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi directions, Russian forces carried out mortar and artillery attacks in the areas of Zapsillia and Popivka settlements in the Sumy oblast and Strilecha, Starytsa, Ambarne, Vilkhuvatka, Dvorichna and Krasne in the Kharkiv oblast.
In the Kupyansk direction, the areas of Sinkivka, Orlyanka, Tabaivka, Berestove and Vyshneve settlements of Kharkiv oblast and Volodymyrivka and Stelmakhivka - Luhansk oblast were hit by shelling from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery.
In the Lyman direction, Russian forces fired at the positions of Ukrainian troops from tanks and artillery of various calibers near Makiivka, Ploshchanka, Chervonopopivka, Dibrova, and Hirskе in the Luhansk oblast.
In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, Russian forces continues assaulting Ukrainian positions, trying to find weak spots in the defense line for a breakthrough. Shelled areas of more than twenty settlements. Among them are Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne, Biohorivka, Vesele, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Chasiv Yar, Druzhba, Zalizne, Maryinka and Pervomaiske of the Donetsk oblast.
In the Novopavlivka direction, the neighborhoods of Bohoyavlenka, Neskuchne, Prechystivka and Vuhledar in Donetsk oblast were damaged by fire.
In the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions, Russia continues to shell Ukrainian positions and the civilian infrastructure of the settlements along the right bank of the Dnipro River. More than 30 settlements were affected. In particular, Plavni, Hulyaipole, Dorozhnyanka, Olhivske, Nikopol in the Zaporizhzhia oblast and Chornobayivka, Antonivka, Kherson, Mykilske, Tokarivka and Mylove in the Kherson oblast.
Russia continues to strengthen the defense line on the border of the Kherson region and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. It also strengthens the defense and protection of water supply facilities to the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, in particular the North Crimean Canal. For this purpose, units mobilized from the Krasnodar Territory were additionally sent.
Units of missile troops and artillery of the Defense Forces of Ukraine during the current day hit 3 areas of concentration of personnel, a control post and an ammunition warehouse of the Russian occupiers.
Statements of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
The Russian Ministry of Defense in a daily briefing reported that up to 20 Ukrainian servicemen, 2 armored combat vehicles and 3 pickup trucks were destroyed during the day in the Kupyansky direction in the areas of the settlements of Berestovoe and Kislovka (Kharkiv region).
In the Limansky direction, more than 50 military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 2 infantry fighting vehicles and 3 pickup trucks were destroyed per day. In the districts of Ternov (Donetsk People's Republic, DPR) and Chervona Dibrova (Luhansk People's Republic, LPR), 3 sabotage and reconnaissance groups (DRG) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were discovered and destroyed.
3 enemy counterattacks were repulsed in the Donetsk direction, the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine amounted to more than 40 Ukrainian servicemen killed and wounded, 3 combat armored vehicles and 2 cars. In the South-Donetsk direction, an attempt to attack the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the direction of Sladkoye was thwarted. In the districts of Novomayorsky and Shevchenko (DPR), 2 DRGs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were liquidated. In total, up to 50 Ukrainian servicemen and 3 vehicles were destroyed.
Command posts of territorial defense units in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, 64 artillery units, manpower and equipment in 93 districts were hit. In Kharkiv, an armaments depot of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was destroyed, in the Ray-Aleksandrovka region in the DPR, a radar station of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system was destroyed.
Air defense systems shot down 4 unmanned aerial vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region and the DPR. Two HIMARS rockets were intercepted in the LPR.
Moscow continues contacts with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to prevent shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP. As Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi may soon visit Moscow.
Since the beginning of the day on December 16, Donetsk and the settlements of Mayorsk, Golmovsky, Gorlovka, Makeevka, Staromikhaylovka, and Troitskoye have been shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As a result of the attacks, a civilian was killed in Donetsk, and another civilian was injured in Horlivka. Numerous damages to residential buildings were also recorded.
The Security Service of Ukraine has charged in absentia with "encroachment on the territorial integrity" of the country the head of the Ministry of Health of the DPR, Dmitry Gartsev, and the Minister of Revenue and Duties of the Republic, Dmitry Shmelev. The SBU claims that officials "are involved in organizing the export of Ukrainian orphans to the Russian Federation under the guise of trips to children's camps." In addition, Kyiv accuses Gartsev of "reformatting the region's medical industry to meet the needs of Russia," and Shmelev of "restructuring industrial facilities to provide for the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation."
Acting head of the DPR Denis Pushilin said that Ukraine, incurring serious losses at the front, takes revenge on the civilian population and intensifies shelling of the cities of the republic. At the same time, the artillery of the allied forces is doing everything possible to suppress the enemy's firing points.
During the day, Ukrainian troops opened fire on Stakhanov, Svatovo and Lantratovka. In Lantratovka, a HIMARS rocket hit one of the buildings, killing 11 people and injuring 17 others. One person was also reported dead and one wounded in Svatovo.
At the turn of Svatovo - Kremennaya, several units of Ukrainian equipment were destroyed. The fire from artillery systems was corrected by a drone, RIA Novosti published footage of the strike.
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