The rockets from both sides leave a trail of destruction (icon image). Photo: Uncredited/Ukrinform/dpa
The Ukrainian military even reported 400 dead and 300 injured. Russia, for its part, once again fired on Ukraine with drones. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects the war to drag on and has called for western arms production to be expanded. However, military experts also believe that a ceasefire is possible this year.
It was very unusual for Moscow to confirm the many soldiers killed after the Ukrainian attack on the town of Makiivka (Russian: Makeyevka) in the Donbass. It was the highest number of deaths reported by Russia in one place in the war of aggression that has been going on since February. The number is still considered by many to be too low.
Ukraine launched a missile attack on New Year’s Eve. According to media reports, those killed were reservists who were called up as part of the partial mobilization ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. They are said to have gathered in the building for a New Year’s celebration. Images and a video of the remains of a completely collapsed building could be seen on social networks. More dead and injured were suspected under the rubble.
The Ukrainian military is said to have become aware of the location due to the high level of data traffic from mobile phones. According to unconfirmed reports, the building was next to an ammunition depot, causing devastating explosions.
Mayor Klitschko reports damage in Kyiv
For its part, Russia attacked Ukraine with combat drones on Monday night for the fifth night in a row. There was an air alert in many parts of the country. Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that the energy infrastructure in the capital Kyiv had been damaged again. There are power outages in the city, which also affected the heat supply. According to the Ukrainian air defense, one missile and 43 drones were shot down, 22 of them in Kyiv alone. According to Klitschko, a 19-year-old was injured and treated in hospital after a house was hit in a Russian attack.
For days, Russia has been increasingly attacking at night with Iranian-type Shahed-136 kamikaze combat drones. Russian military bloggers reported that in addition to Kyiv, the Poltava, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions were affected.
Russia has also repeatedly reported drone attacks from the Ukrainian side. According to Governor Alexander Bogomas, the energy infrastructure was hit on Monday in the Bryansk region near the Russian border. As a result, the power went out in one place. There were no injuries, Bogomas said.
Stoltenberg: Must produce more weapons
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg told the BBC that NATO must be prepared to support Ukraine in the long term. Russia has mobilized new forces. “This indicates that they are ready to continue the war and possibly try to launch a new offensive,” Stoltenberg said. The maintenance of the weapons systems delivered to Ukraine is at least as important as the debate about other weapons. “We need an enormous amount of ammunition. We need spare parts.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reaffirmed the long-term support of the European Union for Ukraine. In a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, she “sent my unreserved support and best wishes to the Ukrainian people for 2023,” the German politician wrote on Twitter. The payment of the 18 billion euros planned for 2023 will begin soon.
Ex-NATO general expects ceasefire in 2023
According to former German Bundeswehr and NATO general Hans-Lothar Domröse, there could be a ceasefire later this year. “I’m expecting a standstill in early summer, when both sides say: Now it’s no longer of any use,” Domröse told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Most likely, between February and May, a situation will arise “in which both sides realize that they are not getting anywhere”.
But this does not mean peace for a long time. “A ceasefire means: We stop shooting. The negotiations are likely to take a long time, you need a mediator: maybe UN Secretary-General Guterres, Turkish President Erdogan or Indian President Modi – although nobody really imposes themselves.” The Russia and security expert András Rácz from the German Society for Foreign Policy made a similar statement.