War in Ukraine: 63 Russian soldiers killed in strike near Donetsk

A new air attack hit Kyiv on Monday, January 2, at dawn, after the New Year holidays marked by dozens of Russian strikes that killed at least four people in the capital and other parts of the country.

  • More than 60 Russian soldiers were killed in a strike near Donetsk

These are the heaviest casualties in a single attack by Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine began. Russia acknowledged on Monday the deaths of 63 of its troops in a Ukrainian strike on separatist territory in the country’s east. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the soldiers were killed when “four missiles” fired by HIMARS systems, weapons supplied by the US to Ukrainian forces, exploded. Until now, the Russian army has very rarely assessed its offensive or reported its losses.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who did not specify the date of the strike, said the missiles hit the Russian army’s “temporary stationing point” in the Russian-occupied town of Makovka, east of the separatist city of Donetsk. The ministry also said it shot down two of the six missiles fired at that target in Makiivka.

The Ukrainian General Staff admitted that it carried out this strike, delivered, according to it, before the New Year on December 31, destroying or damaging up to 10 vehicles. “Losses in personnel for the occupiers are being specified,” he said.

  • New air attack on Kyiv

“Stay in the shelters!” – Asked in Telegram on the night from Sunday to Monday, the head of the military administration of the city of Kyiv, Sergei Popko. This administration then reported that “20 aerial targets were shot down.” “Air defense is working … In the Desnyansky district, fragments of balconies and windows of a high-rise building were damaged,” Sergei Popko continued. The alarm was lifted almost three hours later. “The Russians launched several waves of Shahed drones,” said Elksy Kuleba, head of the military administration in the Kyiv region, referring to the Iranian-made drones. “They are targeting critical infrastructure,” he added. According to the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko, a 19-year-old man was injured by glass fragments in the Desnyansky district, he was taken to the hospital.

  • Strikes on New Year’s Eve

Bombings in Kyiv and seven other regions have already killed at least four people and injured 50, according to Ukrainian authorities, shortly before and after the transition to 2023. For its part, Moscow said it was targeting drone manufacturing facilities.

In the center of Kyiv on New Year’s Eve, a rocket tore apart the facade of a hotel, and local police chief Andriy Nebitov posted a photo on Facebook that showed the remains of a drone with the inscription “Happy New Year” in Russian. . The Ukrainian Air Force said it shot down 45 Shahed drones overnight from Saturday to Sunday.

Then during the day on Sunday, “the enemy launched 35 air strikes, in particular using the Shahed-136 drone,” and all the missiles fired by Russia were destroyed, the state said in the evening. army. “The Russian occupiers,” he added, “also fired 16 times with multiple launch rocket systems, in particular, a children’s hospital in Kherson,” a southern city that has been under regular shelling since it was reopened by the Ukrainian military in the fall. The Russians are “losing. Drones, missiles and everything else will not help them. Because we are together,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded on Sunday evening. “And not a year will be taken away from Ukraine, independence will not be taken away from us. We will not give them anything. We respond to every blow from Russia […] in all our cities and communities,” he said.

  • Russian army continues offensive in Donetsk region

In connection with this, the General Staff of the Ukrainian troops stressed on Sunday evening that “the enemy […] attempts continued to advance in the Bakhmut direction, ”a city in this area, which the Russians tried to capture for more than six months at the cost of heavy losses on both sides and unimaginable destruction.

The soldiers participating in this battle are subjected to “incredible fatigue” moral and physical. And in this endless war of attrition, some end up seeing themselves “like meat to be sent to their deaths,” Mark Kupchenenko, a young Ukrainian military chaplain who will be at the front, told AFP on the spot. According to him, there are no or very few shifts, “they are constantly in battle,” under great pressure, obeying orders that sometimes they no longer understand.

  • Russia: gas exports outside the post-Soviet bloc fell

Gazprom’s gas exports, excluding the former Soviet bloc countries, fell 45.5% in 2022, according to results announced on Monday, after a year marked by a sharp drop in supplies to Europe amid Western sanctions against an offensive against Ukraine.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said in a statement that in 2022 the group exported 100.9 billion cubic meters of gas to “far abroad” countries, a term that does not include former Soviet republics. In 2021, Gazprom exported 185.1 billion cubic meters of gas to these countries.

After the economic sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, in response to its military intervention in Ukraine, Moscow sharply reduced the export of hydrocarbons to the EU. In early December, the European Union, the G7 countries and Australia also agreed to limit the export price of Russian oil to $60 per barrel, hoping to deprive Moscow of revenue. In response, Russia announced that it would ban the sale of its oil to foreign countries using its oil limit from February 1.

Elsewhere, wholesale natural gas prices in Europe fell to their lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine on Monday, continuing to decline as a relatively warm winter helps conserve inventories. The underlying contract for the continent, TTF in the Dutch market, fell another 4.67% to €72.75 per megawatt hour (MWh) for delivery in February around 9:35 am on Monday, i.e. lowest price since February 21st. 2022. The price of gas for next month’s delivery has lost almost 50% in one month… and has largely declined from summer peaks: in August 2022, it peaked at 342 euros per MWh.

  • Cardinal Aveline denounces Russia’s “frightening cynicism”

In a Sunday prayer for peace in Marseilles, Cardinal Aveline denounced the “frightening cynicism” of the Russian government in Ukraine, such as the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Burma or the tragedy of migrants in the Mediterranean. But Bishop Avelin also considered it obligatory to pray for the Russian people, “because all peoples, no matter what their leaders say, often too corrupt to be far-sighted, ask for peace, not war.”

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