A quick overview of the Russia-Ukraine conflict: what we have learned as of day 676

Russia conducted an overnight air assault on Kyiv, according to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Moscow reported 21 casualties after a Ukrainian strike on Belgorod.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russia targeted Kyiv and caused damage to residential areas in Kharkiv during the hours leading up to New Year’s Eve. The military administration of the region stated that Ukraine’s air defense systems successfully repelled Russia’s drone attack around Kyiv.

Mayor Ihor Terekhov of Kharkiv reported that the drone attack occurred in multiple waves, damaging residential buildings in the city center and starting fires. Emergency services are already present at the site, and information about possible casualties is being verified.

Following an 18-hour aerial bombardment across Ukraine that claimed the lives of at least 41 civilians, Ukraine carried out a series of strikes on the Russian border city of Belgorod. Russian officials confirmed that the shelling in Belgorod’s center resulted in the death of 21 individuals, including three children, and injured 110 others. Ukrainian media, citing law enforcement agencies, claimed that the attacks exclusively targeted military objectives and were a response to the mass bombardment of Ukrainian cities the previous day.

The assault on Belgorod occurred a day after Ukraine reported that Russian missile strikes on several cities resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people, with dozens more injured.

According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, Russia saw a significant increase in the number of casualties in 2023 as a result of military degradation. The MoD’s daily intelligence briefing revealed that the average daily casualties (killed and wounded) experienced by Russia rose by nearly 300 compared to 2022. The report stated, “The increase in daily averages, as reported by the Ukrainian authorities, almost certainly reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces and its transition to a lower quality, high quantity mass army since the ‘partial mobilisation’ of reservists in September 2022.”

Andrei Ordash, Russia’s chargĂ© d’affaires in Poland, stated that Russia would not offer an explanation for a missile in Polish airspace unless provided with substantial evidence of its Russian origin. Poland’s armed forces reported that an unidentified airborne object, identified as a Russian missile, entered Polish airspace from Ukraine for less than three minutes. Ordash argued, “Until hard evidence is provided, we will not give any explanations, because these accusations are unfounded.”

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