Ukraine Daily Summary - Saturday, December 24

Prosecutors uncover 54 Russian torture chambers, investigate over 5,000 cases of alleged torture -- Russia moves more personnel, equipment to front line in Ukraine -- Kremlin censors talk of mobilization in Russian state-controlled media -- Putin relies on hand-picked information feeding into his miscalculations on Ukraine war -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Saturday, December 24

Russia’s war against Ukraine


Woman holds a chicken in her backyard in Oleksandrivka village, Kherson Oblast on December 23, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

NYT: Intelligence chief Budanov says no intelligence points to imminent threat from Belarus. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate, said in an interview with the New York Times that Russia has tried to raise alarms in the Ukrainian army by loading its soldiers on trains that bring them toward Belarus’s border with Ukraine. “The Soviet Union employed similar tactics during World War II, sending soldiers on useless train rides to imitate attacks or retreats,” Budanov added.

Prosecutors uncover 54 Russian torture chambers, investigate over 5,000 cases of alleged torture. The Prosecutor General’s Office also revealed that 855 criminal investigations had been opened into war crimes against children, including 10 cases of sexual violence.

Putin tells Russian defense industry to ramp up production for war in Ukraine. “It’s also important to perfect and significantly improve the technical characteristics of weapons and equipment for our fighters based on the combat experience we have gained,” Putin said at a meeting of defense industry leaders in the Russian city of Tula on Dec. 23.

General Staff: Russia moves more personnel, equipment to front line in Ukraine. The Ukrainian military also reported that Russian troops continue to conduct offensives in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Lyman sectors in the eastern Donetsk Oblast.

Moscow Times: Kremlin censors talk of mobilization in Russian state-controlled media. Russian state-controlled media outlets have reportedly been prohibited from publishing any information about the mobilization in the country, even if the statements originate from Russia’s parliament, the Moscow Times reported, citing unnamed officials.

Zelensky: ‘We see prospects **on the front line, and we will respond’. “**We are preparing for the coming months and next year in general. Our tasks are unchanged: the liberation of our land, the safety for our people, restoration of our country after the Russian strikes,” he said.

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Mayor: Explosion reported in occupied Melitopol. Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported on Dec. 23, citing local witnesses, that a car used by Russian forces exploded in Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russian proxies in the region wrote that two employees of Russian special services were injured after a car exploded in the city.

Governor: Electricity deficit in Kyiv Oblast still at 50%. Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksii Kuleba emphasized that hospitals, water, and heat supply systems, and other critical infrastructure facilities are being prioritized in terms of electricity provision.

Mayor: Additional emergency hubs set up in Kyiv amid power outages. Kyiv’s local authorities have recently opened 52 new emergency hubs equipped with power generators, Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported on Dec. 23.

Ukraine will open embassies in 10 African countries. President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine plans to increase the country’s presence in Africa by opening 10 new embassies and strengthening trade ties.

WSJ: Putin relies on hand-picked information feeding into his miscalculations on Ukraine war. The Wall Street Journal interviewed several current and former Russian officials and people close to the Kremlin who broadly described Vladimir Putin as an isolated leader who was “unable, or unwilling, to believe that Ukraine would successfully resist.” Putin starts his day with a written briefing on the war with information “carefully calibrated to emphasize successes and play down setbacks,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources.

ISW: Kremlin continues to deflect criticism about Russia’s military failures in Ukraine. The Kremlin has been rhetorically narrowing the definitions of its initial war objectives without formally changing them, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update. When asked about the Russian invasion’s progress, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian forces achieved “significant progress” in its war objective of “demilitarization” of Ukraine on Dec. 23.

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Ukraine war latest: Putin wants to increase arms production for his war in Ukraine.

In an op-ed for the Financial Times, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused the Kremlin of using “invitations to negotiations” as a mere pretext to buy time for Russia to ready itself for a new offensive against Ukraine.

Photo: Getty Images

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The human cost of Russia’s war

Russian attacks across 7 Ukrainian oblasts kill 5, injure 14 over past day. Russian strikes on Donetsk, Kherson, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, and Luhansk oblasts in the east and south of Ukraine killed five people and wounded 14 more, according to local authorities.

Governor: Russia attacks civilians in Kherson on Dec. 23, killing 2. According to Kherson Oblast Governor Yaroslav Yanushevych, residential buildings in the Korabelnyi district in Kherson came under the recent Russian attack.

Russia attacks DTEK energy facility, kills 1, wounds 1. Ukraine’s biggest private energy company DTEK reported that the Russian attack on one of its power plants had resulted in the death of one employee and the injury of another.

General Staff: Russia has lost 100,950 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Dec. 23 that Russia had also lost 3,005 tanks, 5,986 armored fighting vehicles, 4,622 vehicles and fuel tanks,1,984 artillery systems, 414 multiple launch rocket systems, 212 air defense systems, 283 airplanes, 267 helicopters, 1,698 drones, and 16 boats.

International response

Estonia to send Ukraine new military aid package. The Estonian government has decided to provide Ukraine with an additional military aid package, according to the country’s Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur. “The package mostly concerns personal equipment because this is what the Ukrainians specifically asked us for,” said Pevkur.

Netherlands to provide Ukraine with 2.5 billion euros in aid in 2023. “As long as Russia continues its war against Ukraine, the Netherlands will provide assistance to Ukraine,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

European Commission sends 66 million euros for Ukrainian schools’ restoration. Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine has destroyed or damaged more than 2,800 educational institutions in the country, according to Education Minister Serhii Shkarlet.

Stoltenberg: Putin doesn’t want peace, but pause for regrouping. Kremlin’s “invitations to negotiations” only aim to buy Russia time to prepare for a new offensive against Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote for the Financial Times. Russian President Vladimir Putin “shows no signs that he is seeking real peace,” Stoltenberg said.

In other news

European Commission expects Ukraine to follow Venice Commission recommendations on Constitutional Court bill. The European Commission (EC) expects that the Ukrainian authorities will fully take into account Venice Commission’s recommendations to the law on the Constitutional Court, Ana Pisonero, the EC spokeswoman, told Suspilne media outlet. “The European Commission will closely monitor this process,“ she added.

The Guardian names Ukrainian Evgeniy Maloletka photographer of the year. Ukrainian photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka covered attacks on Mariupol in the Associated Press team during the first 20 days of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Teah Pelechaty, Daria Shulzhenko, Francis Farrell, Alexander Khrebet, Oleg Sukhov, Alexander Query, Brad LaFoy, Anastasiya Gordiychuk, and Olena Goncharova.

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