New Year – New Features of Warfare in Ukraine

Western narrative changing

The narrative of western mainstream media has changed from “Ukraine victory” to fearful “Russia heading to victory in Ukraine”. This change took place during the autumn 2023 after the total failure of AFU summer counteroffensive.

Douglas Macgregor Reveals The War In Ukraine Is Over & Russia Has Won!

January 7, 2024

Mark Galeotti, January 8, 2024:

General, political situation in Ukraine

“UKRAINE MADE MISTAKE BECOMING HOSTILE TO RUSSIA” said former Zelensky adviser Oleksi Arestovich as he admits in video below that Ukraine shouldn’t have chosen anti-Russian path because no country “would tolerate hostile state on its borders.

“Since they began to make anti-Russia out of Ukraine, we put Russia in conditions it can’t tolerate hostile state. This is our mistake. There was no need to turn anti-Russia” said Arestovich.

Secretary of Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) Committee on National Security, Mr. Kostenko, stated “Zelensky is politically already dead”, when the Committee was discussing the government bill on mobilization, January 8, 2024.



As to the financing and supporting Ukraine, the situation is getting tighter and more tense. The EU is facing great difficulties and the unity seems to begin someway fissure.

The US had no funds left to replace weapons sent to Ukraine, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a press briefing, January 4, 2024. “We’re out of money,” he told reporters. The lack of replenishment funds will likely lead to a pause in support, as the Pentagon doesn’t want to risk the readiness of US forces.

A group of senators is negotiating a border security deal seen as the key to unlocking a $100 billion spending bill, of which more than half would go to Ukraine-related support. The Pentagon announced its final Ukraine aid package for now in late December — worth $250 million and mainly comprised of artillery and other munitions.

Presidential elections, according to the constitution, should be organized in spring 2024, but Zelensky has given the executive order to postpone them to unspecified time in the future. Political tension between President Zelensky and Supreme Army Command, General Zaluzhnyi is getting higher and higher.

Ukrainian refugees

There are 4.27 million Ukrainian refugees in the European Union, according to Eurostat. Most Ukrainians are in: Germany – 1,235,960 people (28.9%); Poland – 955,110 (22.3%) Czech Republic – 369,330 (8.6%).

In fact, this is only half the truth, because the largest number of Ukrainians fled to Russia and there are 5.3 million of them!

Putin’s speech in December and some assessments on Russian goals

Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is entering a new phase. President Vladimir Putin lifted the fog of war and hinted at what can be expected going forward in a landmark speech at the National Defence Control Centre while addressing a meeting of the Russian Defence Ministry Board on December 19.  

Putin’s speech was grandiose. The Russian economy has not only regained its pre-2022 momentum but is accelerating toward a 3.5% growth rate by the yearend, marked by rising incomes and purchasing power for millions of its citizens and an increase in living standards. Unemployment is at an all-time low and Russia has beaten back the Western sanctions and the attempts to isolate it in the international arena. 

The leitmotif of Putin’s speech is that this is a war that Russia never sought but was imposed on it by the US. Putin had listed last year five clear-cut objectives of the Russian military operation: 1) security of the Russian population, 2) de-nazification of Ukraine, 3) demilitarisation of Ukraine, 4) striving for a friendly regime in Kiev and 5) non-admission of Ukraine into NATO. Putin’s message is that any new Western narrative on the war is doomed to meet with the same fate as the previous one, unless there Is realism that Russia cannot be militarily defeated and its legitimate interests are recognized. 

Russia has gained the upper hand in the proxy war, while the US and the West as a whole are struggling to recreate a new narrative. The heart of the matter is that the West all along perceived Ukraine as a geopolitical project targeting Russia. Today, the West’s priority lies in forcing Russia to agree to a ceasefire on the basis of the existing line of contact without any geopolitical or strategic obligations on the part of Washington, which would mean leaving the door for the rearmament of the Ukrainian military and for Kiev’s accession to NATO through the back door. 

Unsurprisingly, Putin’s speech paid great attention to develop Russia’s defense industry to meet any military necessity that might arise. On the military side, clearly, Russia will press forward the attritional war to its logical end of pushing the Ukrainian military into a strategic dead-end.

In the final analysis, Putin asserted, Russia is determined to reclaim the “vast historical territories, Russian territories, along with the population” that the Bolsheviks transferred to Ukraine during the Soviet era. However, he drew an important distinction as regards the “western lands” of Ukraine (west of Dnieper) that are a legacy of World War II over which there could be territorial claims from Poland, Hungary and Romania, which at least in the case of Poland is also linked to the transfer of “eastern German lands, the Danzig Corridor, and Danzig itself” following the defeat of the Third Reich. 

Putin took note that “people who live there (western Ukraine) want to return to their historical homeland. The countries that lost these territories, primarily Poland, dream of having them back.” That said, interestingly, Putin simply washed his hands off any territorial disputes that may arise between Ukraine and its eastern neighbours (all of whom are NATO countries.) Looking ahead, this is going to be a can of worms for the US. Recently, Russia’s intelligence chief Sergey Naryshkin used a powerful metaphor, warning that the US may face a “second Vietnam” in Ukraine that will come to haunt it for a long time. 

The bottom line, as Putin framed it, is as follows: “History will put everything in its place. We (Moscow) will not interfere, but we will not give up what is ours. Everyone should be aware of this –- those in Ukraine who are aggressively disposed towards Russia, and in Europe, and in the United States. If they want to negotiate, let them do so. But we will do it only based on our interests.”

Some experts in Russia believe the war in Ukraine will be all about Odessa and Nikolaev regions. Capturing them along the parts of Kherson region still controlled by Ukraine would allow Russia to ensure the relative safety of Crimea and give Russia the control of agricultural products exported out of Ukraine. Gaining control of Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson and Zaporozhye would also give Russia the control of large parts of agricultural land. Removing Ukraine as the competitor and making Russia the sole food security guarantor for many countries of the Global South is viewed by Russian experts as important part of the geopolitical strategy.

According to those analysts, Russian leadership will be prepared to pay a very heavy price to capture those regions seeing it as investment for the future, making Russia even larger wheat exporter than it already is. It is believed Ukraine will harass Russian assets with foreign supplied missiles not just on behalf of itself but also on behalf of the UK and US that want to prevent Russia from gaining more influence in the Global South, if Russia was able to succeed in removing Ukraine from the agricultural products market as a major player.

Military actions and situation 

New tactics and strategies

The Russian Forces seem to have adopted the tactic of striking even more on rear areas. This tactic is not about captured cities and villages or “liberation of the entire territory of the Donbass”. Russia’s goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on the enemy (AFU). Individual operations are of second importance. The war is going on with entire fronts and armies; the entire armed forces of Ukraine (AFU) as a proxy of the US and NATO in the war against Russia, will be destroyed.

It should be noted that Russian troops do not so much storm the positions of the AFU than attack in the rear-situated strategic targets. There is logic in this tactic to reduce their own losses.

Kiev Gets Ready For Russian Offensive On New Front, SouthFront, January 10, 2024

Russian Forces use new tricks, playing gunfire sounds recordings from drones to make Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers believe they are under attack, prompting them to leave trenches and expose their positions, according to NYT. Russian fighters force Ukrainian Armed Forces to retreat, abandon equipment, and positions. The widespread use of FPV drones by the Russian army has mainly led Ukrainian Armed Forces to abandon vehicles in the front-line areas and operate on foot.

Military Summary analyses an interesting new feature in Russian warfare, establishing a new air assault brigade supported by rapid helicopter transportation. The aim is to fly a brigade behind the enemy frontline in order to take over a bridgehead and by this way to break stalemate positions along the frontlines.

Some other analysts say that the Russian command is preparing several air assault brigades to be deployed behind the lines during the planned Russian offensive on certain sections of the front line The American ISW quotes the Russian publication Military Review. ISW assumes that these brigades will be used together with the ground forces of the Russian Armed Forces. Their task is to help the infantry break through the defenses of the AFU during ground assaults, striking from the rear.

The Russians Will Use New Tactics | The US Coalition Attacked Hodeidah | Military Summary 2024.01.14

Ukrainian Army frontline personnel speaking to the New York Times have widely reported devastating damage from a new wave of Russian air strikes using glide bombs. Personnel told the American paper that while long having suffered from near constant artillery attacks, since the spring they had endured “the additional devastating power” of these glide bombs. They stressed that these bombs were obliterating their underground bunkers and carried up to 500kg of explosives each. RMOD has reported the integration of gliding and correction modules onto FAB-500 and FAB-1500 bombs against Ukrainian positions, with these having a range of approximately 70km depending on the altitude from which they are released. Such guided bombs can lay down fire at a small fraction of the cost of cruise or ballistic missiles, but still cost significantly more than unguided bombs. 

New Kharkiv front

The border Kharkiv region is coming under massive Russian attacks almost every night. It was reported that several more military-industrial facilities in the Kharkiv region were damaged as a result of the strikes. One of the targets was the local Aircraft Factory, which was upgraded for the production of rockets and cruise missiles a few years ago. Warehouses with military equipment were also destroyed in the area of the Kharkov-Severny airfield. The areas of deployment of military Ukrainian personnel and equipment in the east of the Kharkiv region also came under attack.

The Ukrainian command is forced to deploy strategic reserves to strengthen defense on other fronts, where Russian forces continue their active offensive. Ukrainian sources have been frequently reporting that Russia may open a new front – in the north-east of Ukraine. They explain the possibility of a Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region with intensified strikes, including in close proximity to the border.

This may indicate the moment the Russians will change from active defenses to bigger attacks. But big red arrow movements are difficult to prepare for as NATO surveillance via spy planes and satellites is able to detect any concentration of forces. Expanding multiple local attacks to find a weak position, where a breakthrough seems likely, is probably that strategy Russian Forces will carry out. This seems right now taking place.

SnowStorm | Russia Opens The Kharkov Front. Desperate Times In Ukraine. Military Summary 2024.01.10

SnowStorm | The Russians Launched A Full-scale 1,000 Km Offensive. Military Summary For 2024.01.16

Massive, devastating air strikes by Russian Forces

December 2023 and January 2024 have seen numerous large scale and massive Russian air strikes and missile & drone attacks aimed at Ukrainian weapon production sites and other infrastructure targets.

The attacks have also exhausted the Ukrainian air defenses. The Ukrainian Air Forces confirmed that they do have a shortage of anti-aircraft guided missiles. This was stated by Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat, commenting on The New York Times article that the United States will soon not be able to supply Ukraine with Patriot missiles. He said also that the Ukrainian Armed Forces spent a lot of missiles to repel the last three massive Russian attacks on December 29, January 2 and January 8. Moreover, many Russian strikes have been targeted to Ukrainian warehouses of western missiles and rockets, where majority of stored missiles have been destroyed.

Step by step, Ukraine is admitting that their air defense has not been so effective as stated earlier. Majority of previous “shot down” reports were falsified and overestimated. They say now that the effectiveness of air defense has dropped significantly due to the destruction of several batteries of NASAMS and IRIS-T air defense systems. At the same time, the United States banned the use of Patriot, when the enemy launches Kinzhals, which causes the destruction of other air defense systems and virtually open skies over Ukraine.

RMOD 29.12.2023 (Russian Ministry of Defense)

In the period from 23 to 29 December 2023, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation inflicted 50 group strikes and one mass strike with high-precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles on the military industrial facilities, military airfield infrastructure, arsenals, storage sites for artillery ammunition, uncrewed surface vehicles, weapons and military hardware, as well as enemy POL bases.

On December 29, Russia launched 160 missiles to strike 44 targets in Ukraine. Military aircraft of the Russian Air Force and Russian Navy from the waters of the Black Sea were involved in the attack. Eighteen strategic bombers (nine Tupolev Tu-95MC and nine Tu-22M3) fired missiles to strike targets across all of Ukraine. Improper operation of Ukrainian own air defenses caused many of those missiles strike civilian infrastructure such as residential buildings and hospitals. This was the most massive strike in recent months, where large range of various types was used: Kinzhals, S-300, cruise and ballistic missiles, UAVs, Kh-22 or Kh-32, X-101/X-505 missiles.

Valery Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that on the night of December 29, explosions were reported at military and industrial facilities in Ukraine, as well as at critical infrastructure facilities in almost all of Ukraine’s airspace. Kyiv, Dnepr, Kharkiv, Poltava, Vinnytsia, as well as Khmelnitsky, Odessa and Mykolaiv regions were attacked, at least 44 objects were struck:  the Yavorovsky training ground, a critical infrastructure facility in Lviv, military warehouses in Kyiv and Kharkiv, the building of Artem rocket and space enterprise in Kyiv, the area where air defense systems are based in the region, Academy of Ground Forces in Lviv.

RMOD 31.12.2023 (12:35)

Yesterday the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched an attack with multiple rocket launchers against the city of Belgorod. Civilians, including children, were killed. Responding to this terrorist act, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation struck decision-making centres and military facilities used by the Kiev criminal regime in the city of Kharkov.

Representatives of the Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) and Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), who were directly involved in the planning and execution of the terrorist attack against Belgorod, were neutralized in a precision missile strike on the former Kharkov Palace Hotel. There were also up to 200 foreign mercenaries who were to have been involved in terrorist attacks on the territory of the Russian Federation on the border with Ukraine.

In the village of Zalestsy, a branch of the National Space Facilities Control Centre, was hit with high-precision strikes. Fuel depots in Kharkov and Zaporozhye were annihilated. Furthermore, missile strikes were launched against the temporary deployment areas of the AFU brigades and foreign mercenaries, with a total of up to 600 fighters, as well as against the sites of military hardware and artillery systems in Selidovo, Kurakhovo, and Korotchenko Mine in Donetsk People’s Republic. As a result, the enemy suffered heavy losses. Two HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems were eliminated.

RMOD 01.01.2024 (14:26)

On 31 December 2023, the Russian Armed Forces launched a strike by high-precision long-range air-based weapons at airfield infrastructure, where the Kiev regime is storing aircraft equipped with Storm Shadow cruise missiles. The goal of the strike has been achieved. All the targets have been engaged.

RMOD 02.01.2024 (13:20)

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation delivered a group strike with high-precision long-range weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles on enterprises of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine that carried out orders for the production of missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and repair of weapons and military hardware in Kiev and its suburbs, as well as storage sites for missiles, ammunition, and aircraft weapons supplied to the Kiev regime by Western countries. The purpose of the strike has been achieved. All the targets have been engaged.

RMOD 05.01.2024 (13:45)

In the period from 30 December 2023 to 5 January 2024, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out 41 group and one massive strickes with high-precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles on decision-making centres, objects of the Ukrainian military industrial complex, military airfield infrastructure, arsenals, and fuel bases. Attacks were also carried out against the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, nationalist formations, and foreign mercenaries. All the assigned targets have been engaged.

RMOD 08.01.2024 (13:05)

In the morning, the Russian Armed Forces launched group strikes by high-precision long-range sea- and air-based weapons, including by Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched ballistic missiles, at Ukrainian military-industrial complex facilities.  

Russian drones and missiles continue to destroy the Ukrainian military infrastructure. January 10 night was no exception. Russian strikes were reported in the Kherson, Sumy, and Kharkiv regions, as well as in the Ukrainian rear areas near the frontlines like Konstantinovka and Kurakhovo. The strikes were also reported in Kupyansk. Despite the attempts of the AFU commanders to assure the public that the Ukrainian army has “no problems” near Kupyansk, the military reports from the front confirm that Ukrainian units are experiencing difficulties in this area, largely due to the lack of trained reserves.

Russia Launched A Massive Missile Attack On Ukraine. Military Summary And Analysis For 2023.01.08

SnowStorm | Russian Missile Dominance. Ukrainian Air Defense Failure. Military Summary for 2024.1.13

The Russian Navy and Aerospace Forces carried out 23 group strikes using high-precision long-range air and sea-based weapons, including hypersonic Kinzhals on AFU bases and military enterprises, from January 6 to January 12, 2024. According to RMOD, the target of the strikes has been achieved and all designated targets are hit.

January 13, 2024. On Saturday morning, Russian forces delivered a massive attack on Ukrainian defense facilities, using long-range high-precision weapons, including the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system, the Russian Defense Ministry (RMOD) reported. “This morning, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a massive attack targeting Ukrainian 155mm, 152mm and 125mm artillery shell, gunpowder and drone production facilities, using long-range precision strike weapons fired from naval guns or from the air, including the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system,” the ministry said in a report, adding that all targets were successfully hit.

New page in the current crises

A new page has been turned in the crises of international politics: Ukraine war and Middle East crisis. Iran has come forward as an active actor in both of cases. Iran’s “show of force” has been impressive.

SnowStorm | The West Gathers Forces | Iranian-Russian Defense Alliance | Military Summary 2024.01.15

Iran’s Ruthless Attack | The Russians Went On The Offensive. Military Summary For 2024.01.16

Gigantic manpower losses of AFU

The Ukrainian government has not released official figures for the total number of soldiers, who have been killed or wounded since Russia launched its Special Military Operation (SMO) nearly two years ago. However, anecdotal evidence of mounting Ukrainian casualties in the war was reinforced by claims made on Ukrainian television this weekend by the country’s former prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko. He claimed that around 30,000 Ukrainian troops are now being killed or badly wounded per month and that the total casualty toll for seriously wounded and killed in the war is around 500,000.

The AFU losses about 30,000 men per month is about 1,000 per day. That is more than the Russian Ministry of Defense claims in its daily reports. The average therein is about 600 to 700 per day listed as Ukrainian dead or heavily wounded. Left out of the reports are those killed or wounded unobserved due to far range missile strikes in rear areas.

The high losses are the reason why the Ukrainian government wants to mobilizes another 500,000 men and women in 2024. That are about 41,000 per months. But the new mobilization law the government presented to the parliament was full of unconstitutional clauses and will have to be heavily modified. The mobilization efforts are unlikely to be successful, practical difficulties are great already and passive resistance among the Ukrainian people is large and intensifying.

The situation at the front for the AFU is critical, the Russian Forces are systematically targeting the Ukrainian military infrastructure, which is why human losses are growing exponentially. Due to the corruption of the rear staff, non-combat losses have increased, Ukrainian military personnel are suffering from illness; moreover, the number of losses among wounded AFU soldiers has sharply increased.

At the same time, problems are observed on all battle fields – Maryinka is lost, Avdeevka, Kupyansk and Krynki are moving towards a serious “meat grinder”. The situation is difficult in the rear – total mobilization destroys internal motivation not only in society, but also in the army, where unprepared and unwilling to fight “volunteers”, who were caught by force during raids by military commissars are recruited. Moreover, yesterday’s civilians, forcibly drawn into the army, are actually deteriorating the situation in the ranks of the AFU, which increases the risk of mass retreats this year. The situation is aggravated by huge losses among experienced field officers, creating a critical shortage of professional officers.

Closing words – by former Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki