Russo-Ukraine War - 23 December 2022 - Day 303
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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 on 21 December, President Putin was presented with plans to expand the Russian military by around 30% to 1.5 million personnel. It isn't clear when this level would be achieved.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shigou explained that the expansion would involve at least two brigades in north-western Russia growing to divisional strength. He cited the supposed threat from Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO.
This constitutes one of the first insights into how Russia aspires to adapt its forces to the long-term strategic challenges resulting from its invasion of Ukraine. It remains unclear how Russia will find the recruits to complete such an expansion at a time when its forces are under unprecedented pressure in Ukraine.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that during the day, Russian forces launched 1 missile, 4 air strikes, and also carried out 16 MLRS attacks.
Russia has increased the volume of railway transport of personnel, military equipment and ammunition to the areas of hostilities. Russia continues to focus its efforts on conducting offensive actions in the Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka areas. On Kupiansk - trying to improve the tactical position. On Novopavlivsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson - it is being defended.
There is still a threat of air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure facilities throughout Ukraine.
In the Volyn, Polissya, Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi directions, the situation has not changed significantly, and no signs of the formation of offensive groups of the Russian forces have been detected. The Russian occupiers plan to deploy a field hospital on the territory of belarus.
Areas of fifteen settlements were hit by tank, mortar and artillery shelling in the Slobozhanskyi direction. Among them are Hoptivka, Kudiivka, Krasne, Zelene, Hatyshche, Vovchansk, Varvarivka, Zybyne, Dvorichna and Zemlyanka of the Kharkiv oblast.
In the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces shelled the areas of fourteen settlements. In particular, these are Vyshneve, Ivanivka, Zapadne, Kupyansk and Synkivka in the Kharkiv oblast and Kislivka, Yahidne, Kotlyarivka, Kuzemivka and Kolomiychykha in the Luhansk oblast.
In the Lyman direction, the Russian occupiers again inflicted fire damage on the areas of Makiivka, Ploshchanka, Chervonopopivka, and Dibrova in the Luhansk oblast.
In the direction of Bakhmut, Russian forces shelled the districts of twenty-two settlements. Among them are Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Bila Hora, Kurdyumivka, Druzhba, Zalizne and Vesele of the Donetsk oblast. In addition, airstrikes were recorded near Spirne and Bilohorivka.
Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske and Maryinka in Donetsk oblast were affected by Russian fire in the Avdiiv district.
In the direction of Novopavlivsk, Russian forces fired tanks and artillery at the districts of Paraskoviivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, and Velyka Novosilka of the Donetsk oblast.
In the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions, the Russian occupiers continue to terrorize civilians living along the right bank of the Dnipro River. More than forty settlements were shelled by rocket and barrel artillery. In particular, these are Zaliznychne, Charivne, Orihiv, Mahdalynivka, and Kamianske in the Zaporizhzhia oblast, and Kherson, Respublikanets, Dniprovske, Yantarne, Bilozerka, and Stanislav in the Kherson oblast. Russian forces also carried out an airstrike near Kamianske.
In order to strengthen administrative and police measures in the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, about 500 servicemen from the Russian Guard arrived in the city of Berdyansk.
During the day, the Ukrainian aviation carried out 7 strikes on areas where the Russian forces' personnel, weapons and military equipment were concentrated. And Ukrainian units of missile troops and artillery hit 2 control points, 2 ammunition warehouses and 11 areas of concentration of the Russian occupiers' manpower. Information on Russian losses is being clarified.
Statements of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
The Russian Ministry of Defense in a daily briefing reported that strongholds in the areas of Kislovka, Krakhmalnoye and Berestovoye (Kharkov region) in the Kupyansk direction were hit during the day. More than 30 Ukrainian servicemen, 2 infantry fighting vehicles and 4 vehicles were destroyed.
In the Limansky direction in the areas of Nevsky and Novolyubovka (Lugansk People's Republic, LPR), strikes were made on accumulations of manpower and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In the areas of the tract Medvezhye and Serebryansky forestry, 2 sabotage and reconnaissance groups were destroyed. The losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine amounted to more than 40 military personnel and mercenaries, 3 armored vehicles and 2 pickup trucks.
Strongholds of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were hit in the Donetsk and South-Donetsk directions, about 125 Ukrainian servicemen and mercenaries, 2 tanks, 5 armored vehicles, 4 armored personnel carriers, 6 cars and 3 pickup trucks were destroyed.
Aviation, missile forces and artillery hit 62 artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, manpower and military equipment in 87 districts, 2 artillery ammunition depots. In the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), a US-made AN / TPQ-50 counter-battery warfare station was destroyed, in the Kharkov region - a radar station of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.
During the counter-battery fight in the DPR, 2 artillery systems M777, 2 Ukrainian combat vehicles of the Grad multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) were destroyed, from which the settlements of the republic were shelled.
Fighter aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces shot down a Su-25 aircraft and a Mi-8 helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Force in the DPR. 10 unmanned aerial vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed by means of air defense, 2 shells of MLRS HIMARS were intercepted.
The authorities of the Zaporozhye region do not see the readiness of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for an offensive, and the RF Armed Forces have enough forces and means to hold the front. This was stated by the Acting Governor of the region Yevgeny Balitsky.
The official also said that the shelling of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant by the Armed Forces of Ukraine had practically ceased, the situation around the plant was completely controlled. 2 reactors operate at the facility - mainly for heat energy, which is necessary to provide Energodar with heat. Balitsky added that the authorities of the region hope for the complete liberation of the region from Ukrainian troops.
A car exploded in the center of Melitopol during the day, 2 people were injured as a result of the incident. According to Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the regional administration, the incident is classified as a terrorist attack, behind which Ukrainian militants stand.
During the day, Ukrainian troops opened fire on Donetsk, as well as the settlements of Gorlovka, Makeyevka, Mayorsk, Kashtanovoe, Krasny Partizan, Yasinovataya, and Shirokaya Balka. As a result of attacks in Horlivka, residential buildings were damaged.
Andrey Baevsky, an officer of the People's Militia of the DPR, said that the intensity of shelling of the central regions of Donetsk by the Armed Forces of Ukraine has noticeably decreased. According to the soldier, this is primarily due to the success of the Allied forces in the counter-battery fight.
Andrey Marochko, an officer of the People's Militia of the LPR, said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deploying engineering units reinforced with armored vehicles to the Liman direction. In addition, in the area of responsibility of the 2nd Army Corps of the LPR, an increase in the conduct of electronic intelligence by Ukrainian formations was noted.
The commander of the battalion of the 2nd Corps with the call sign Chechen said that Kyiv was transferring Western mercenaries to the Lisichansk Front against the backdrop of the flight of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from positions. According to the battalion commander, the Ukrainian military cannot withstand the tension, they are being replaced by mercenaries from NATO countries and militants of the national battalions.
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