According to Ukraine, 800 Russian soldiers were killed on Wednesday. Most were killed in fighting in the Donetsk region in the east, the Ukrainian military said in its daily report on Thursday. The Russian army is concentrating on an offensive around Bakhmut, but its attacks in the Avdiivka and Kupyansk areas have been unsuccessful. A plane, a helicopter and three tanks belonging to the Russian armed forces were destroyed.
Reuters cannot independently verify reports of the fighting. The military said civilians were also killed in the Russian air and rocket attacks on Bakhmut, which was largely destroyed and recaptured from Ukraine. It was not announced how many there were. Russia denies that its “special military operation” also targets civilians.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening message on Wednesday that significant damage was being done to Russian troops near Bakhmut and that Russia was increasing the number of armed forces there. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar assumes that Russia will probably announce another partial mobilization in the first quarter of the new year, as she writes on the messenger service Telegram.
French President Emmanuel Macron Selenskyj promised to provide support in a telephone call, said an employee of the French Presidential Office on Wednesday evening. Zelenskyy thanked Macron for his commitment and emphasized how important it is for Ukraine to be equipped with heavier weapons: “This sends a clear signal to all our allies. There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been equipped with tanks from the West was supplied.”
According to President Joe Biden, the United States is considering making Bradley infantry fighting vehicles available to Ukraine. “Yes,” said Biden when asked if that was an option. Ukraine has already received the HIMARS missile system from the USA, and the Patriot air defense system has been promised. Ukraine is also interested in the German Leopard main battle tank, but the German government has so far rejected the requests.
Additional support from Germany?
Against the background of the announced delivery of French reconnaissance tanks to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to discuss additional support for Kyiv with her British colleague James Cleverly. “The sooner (Russian President Vladimir) Putin understands that his brutal war of aggression is doomed to failure, the sooner there is hope for an end to the war,” said the Green politician on Thursday before leaving for a visit to the British capital London.
According to British intelligence services, the Russian military will be weakened by relocating its long-range bombers to eastern Russia. Additional maintenance work and the greater distance from Ukraine would further reduce the limited flight hours of the aging Tu-95MS long-range bombers, the British Ministry of Defense said in its daily briefing on Thursday. However, Moscow will still be able to launch air-launched cruise missile attacks on Ukraine from eastern Russia, as the weapons have a range of 5,000 kilometers.
London based its assessment on Ukrainian information, according to which Russia is said to have moved long-range bombers and other weapons to the east at the end of December. The Engels military airfield in southern Russia was hit by attacks on December 5th and 26th. According to the British, the transfer of weapons to areas further away from Ukraine is probably a reaction to these attacks.
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, the British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a disinformation campaign.
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