As the war enters its 673rd day, these are the main developments.
Here is the situation on Thursday, December 28, 2023.
- Two people were killed and four others injured in the southern Odesa region after Russian forces sent dozens of attack drones over Ukraine in a nighttime air raid.
- The Ukraine air force said it shot down 32 of the 46 Iranian-made drones that Russia had launched with the others mostly hitting near the front line, mainly in the southern Kherson region. Regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said the attack on the Kherson region and its capital hit residential areas and a mall as well as striking the power grid, leaving about 70 percent of households in Kherson city without electricity.
- The Institute for the Study of War said that Russia’s claimed capture this week of Maryinka in eastern Ukraine would not provide it with a springboard for major battlefield gains. But it noted that “localised Russian offensive operations are still placing pressure on Ukrainian forces in many places along the front in eastern Ukraine”.
- Ukraine opened a war crimes investigation into the alleged execution by Russian forces of three Ukrainian prisoners of war earlier this month near the village of Robotyne in the southeastern Zaporizhia region, the general prosecutor’s office said.
Politics and diplomacy
- India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar met Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said relations between the countries were progressing even amid turbulent times. Jaishankar, who is on a five-day visit to Moscow, also met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who said they discussed “the prospects for military-technical cooperation, including the joint production of modern types of weapons”.
- Russia condemned sanctions imposed by the United States against the Arctic LNG 2 project as an “unacceptable” move that would undermine global energy security. The sanctions are part of an attempt to limit Moscow’s financial ability to continue its war in Ukraine.
- Russia charged six Danes for joining the Russia-Ukraine war as “foreign mercenaries” on Ukraine’s side, the Russian embassy in Denmark said in a statement. The six face as many as 15 years in prison if they are found guilty. The embassy said 20 Danes had been identified as mercenaries and some had been killed.
- The US announced a $250m military aid package for Ukraine that officials say could be the last unless a $61b funding bill currently held up by Republicans in Congress is passed. The latest aid includes air defence munitions, additional ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems, artillery ammunition, anti-armour munitions and more than 15 million rounds of ammunition.
- Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, told a briefing that the defence sector would increase production of weapons and military equipment significantly next year and that output was three times higher in 2023 than in the previous year. Kamyshin said Ukraine was now producing six Bohdana self-propelled artillery units per month. Bohdanas are the only Ukrainian-made self-propelled gun using NATO-standard 155mm rounds instead of the 152mm rounds used by artillery based on Soviet technology.
- Russia warned Japan that its plan to provide Patriot air defence systems to Ukraine would have “grave consequences” for Russia-Japan ties.
- Sergei Chemezov, the head of the Rostec state defence company, said Russia would soon deploy its newest howitzers against Ukrainian forces. Chemezov told the RIA news agency that testing of the new Coalition-SV self-propelled artillery units had been completed and mass production was under way.