Russia hasn't made any critical advances near Bakhmut and Avdiivka - military expert Zgurets
Russia is trying to use only the manpower advantage in all its strategies and tactics. This is evident in all parts of the frontline: near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, and in the northern Kharkiv region, where it is trying to reach Kupyansk
Russian missile attacks on December 29 and January 2
On both December 29 and January 2, Russia launched massive missile attacks with a variety of munitions, ranging from FPV drones to Kh-101 cruise missiles and Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. The Russian army pursued several targets, primarily strikes on military-industrial and civilian targets. After a long pause, a significant number of different types of missiles were used for the first time.
Ukraine's air defense has demonstrated a high level of effectiveness. When 20% of Russian targets are shot down, it is considered that the air defense system is sufficiently effective. If Ukraine's system now destroys over 80% of the missiles Russia uses, it is four times better than good. We currently have a high level of air defense capability, but we also understand the insidiousness of the Russian army, which for the first time used almost all Kinzhal carriers, having launched 10 MiG-31K aircraft, and used other means of destruction.
The White House National Security Council's Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said that both on December 29 and January 2, North Korean missiles were used to strike Ukrainian cities for the first time. An infographic was provided, and it was about Zaporizhzhia, although Ukraine's data shows that the wreckage of these North Korean missiles is more likely to be in Kharkiv than in Zaporizhzhia.
Now the fragments of the missiles are being studied, on which all markings have been erased, but the design is very similar to North Korean KN-23 missiles, which are a clone of the Russian Iskander. The missiles can have a range of up to 600 kilometers and a warhead weight of 500 kilograms, but I would not overestimate the potential of these missiles. In any case, we understand that the threat of more weapons of destruction for Russia is an alarming trend.
The UN Security Council is meeting on January 10 to discuss this issue. The main issues remain equipping Ukraine's army with more air defense systems, as well as long-range weapons, which can be a significant response to Russia's attempts to enter into an alliance with North Korea and obtain certain weapons.
Frontline situation - Bakhmut
When we talk about Bakhmut and Avdiivka, this area really remains a difficult one on the front line. As we have been observing this area for a week, we see that the Russian troops have not made any critical advances.
Photo: Map of fighting in Bakhmut sector
Russia is trying to advance towards Bohdanivka and Ivanivske in the north. But there are no significant changes that would affect the tactical or operational situation. The Russian army may have advanced a few hundred meters west of Khromove in a week. This is a known area where Russia has been amassing forces and is now trying to use this wide front (Bohdanivka, Khromove, Ivanivske) to move towards Chasiv Yar in the future.
Chasiv Yar is the dominant height, Ukraine's line of defense. Given the pace at which the Russian forces are advancing to Bohdanivka or Ivanivske, it is clear that their capabilities are limited. There have been no changes in the south either, when talking about Klishchiivka and Andriivka, but there are nuances. The Ukrainian military says that the Russian troops are actively using fortifications and digging in. And Ukraine still ignores the needs of fortifications. Sometimes Ukrainian soldiers are too lazy to dig in their full height trenches.
Speaking about Bakhmut, the military says that Ukrainian troops have enough artillery, but Russia has a certain advantage in mines and mortars. Both sides are using FPV drones. The area around Bakhmut remains difficult, but not so critical that it is possible to talk about their systematic advances.
Holding Avdiivka remains a crucial point for the defense forces and a crucial point for the Russian Federation, which has already deployed a significant number of personnel there.
Photo: Map of fighting near Avdiivka, Donetsk region
Russia is trying to keep pushing along the entire perimeter, but an officer of the 47th Mechanized Brigade, which holds the northern part of Avdiivka, said there are positive developments there. The Russian troops crossed the railroad some time ago and tried to entrench themselves there, but they failed to gain a foothold, so they cannot be active enough. They are trying to move north to attack Berdychi, but their advance has been stopped there as well. There are no changes in the industrial zone. It can be said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are now holding back Russia's pressure. However, it is clear that after significant losses, the Russian troops will regroup and continue to attempt to implement their plan to encircle Avdiivka. However, for three months now, Russia has been suffering enormous losses, and its advances have been minimal. The potential of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to deter the Russian forces remains.
Russia troops are trying to use only the advantage in manpower in all their strategies and tactics. This is evident in all parts of the frontline - near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and in the north, in the Kharkiv region, where they are trying to reach Kupyansk. Manpower superiority is still the only component that allows them to nurture the hope that they can push through Ukraine's defense with such tactics.
If Ukraine now relies on active defense, strong fortifications, artillery, and the most important thing here is the timely supply of ammunition from its partners, then in this format, active defense with significant destruction of the enemy, depletion of its forces and means may well be the basis of the transition period, to which 2024 is referred. During this year, Ukraine must ensure the maintenance of defense, the destruction of Russian forces and means, the preparation of reserves and the creation of preconditions for liberation offensives in a certain period of time.
Russia is now directing its efforts to overturn the results of Ukraine's offensive. It is about Ukraine's penetration into the Russian defense on a 10-by-10-kilometer section. A few days ago, we talked about counterattacks on both sides. In particular, in those areas, the Russian troops were repelled both west of Robotyne and west of Verbove. Russia is trying to amass forces there.
Photo: Map of fighting in Zaporizhzhia region
Russia's modernization of Kh-22 missiles
It is known that Russia's army uses various types of missiles against Ukrainian cities and towns. The latest information is that Russia is now trying to modernize the Kh-22 missiles, which have a warhead of 1 ton. They are not very accurate, but very powerful. According to this information, during 2024, there are certain design tasks for Russian developers to create transitional modules for the use of cluster warheads on these missiles. Regarding the modernization of the Kh-22, this is a technological process, there have been no tests yet, so let's not worry prematurely.
Meetings with Ukraine's partners to strengthen air defense, obtaining new models and F-16 aircraft - all this will be a reliable deterrent to Russian malicious initiatives.