Ukraine Situation Report: Missiles Descend On Kyiv In New Years Eve Barrage (Updated)

Explosions rocked Kyiv on New Year’s Eve as another wave of Russian missiles targeted the Ukrainian capital. 

A missile strike in central Kyiv’s Solomyansky district left at least five injured and one dead, while a hotel in the nearby Pecherskyi district partially collapsed in the attack. Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko said air defense forces prevented further serious damage to energy infrastructure. Twelve Russian missiles were reportedly shot down, with six downed near Kyiv.

The attacks also injured Wataru Sekita (@watarusekita ), a journalist for Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, who was reportedly hospitalized. 

The latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense suggests Russia will follow up with yet another wave of missile attacks soon after the new year. While Russia’s campaign against Ukrainian energy infrastructure this fall has consisted mainly of mass drone and missile attacks every 7 to 10 days, Moscow may scrap the pattern to try and break Ukrainian morale over the holiday. 

Despite the strikes, morale in Kyiv stood firm on New Year’s Eve with celebrations before curfew. 

Long before the missiles reached Ukraine, however, citizens in the Russian city of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea coast saw them flying overhead on their way to targets. Russian Long-Range Aviation has routinely used the Caspian Sea to launch missiles against Ukraine, but atmospheric conditions have made them much more conspicuous today.

Not every missile made it to Ukraine, with at least one failing and crashing into houses in Russia’s Volgograd region. 

Before we dive into the latest news from Ukraine this New Year’s Eve, The War Zone readers can get caught up on our previous rolling coverage here

The Latest

A day after Russian air defense activity rocked the port city of Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, observers noted further missile launches from around Dhzankoi Air Base closer to the border with Kherson Oblast. Air defense activity was also reported near the city of Yevpatoriya north of Sevastopol. 

A large number of Ukrainian prisoners of war returned home on New Year’s Eve as part of the latest prisoner exchange with Russian forces. Among the 140 POWs were wounded, those who fought in Mariupol, on Snake Island, and other locales. 

We have new imagery of two Western-supplied weapon systems not previously seen in Ukrainian service, the Canadian Armored Combat Support Vehicle (ACSV). 

Canada pledged 39 ACSVs for Ukraine in June, the wheeled armored personnel carriers the fourth generation of General Dynamics’ venerable Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) family

On the far end of the technology spectrum, Czech fundraisers have reportedly met their goal to supply Ukraine with 15 Viktor anti-aircraft guns. These modernized ZPU-2 14.5mm dual heavy machine guns are mounted on Toyota Land Cruiser 79 chassis. 

Used as either direct fire to support infantry or as SHORAD against Russian drones, the Viktor can put a lot of rounds toward the target in not a lot of time. 

Speaking of those Russian drones, Ukrainian troops recovered another downed Orlan-10 UAV. We have written about how the Orlan-10, commonly used to direct fire for Russian artillery, has been further complimented by Iranian-supplied drones and Lancet loitering munitions, which you can read about here

At the ongoing fight for the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, imagery shows Russian Wagner Group PMC tanks in the area, both a video featuring a T-72B3M and Russia’s most modern front-line heavy armor, a T-90M

On the Ukrainian side, a new video shows one of Kyiv’s modernized T-64BM “Bulat” main battle tanks having survived a top attack by Russian forces. The tank commander’s viewport appears shattered and the 12.7mm NSVT machine gun is also damaged.

Based on the considerable scorching and damage to the top of the turret, it appears the tank’s “Nizh” explosive reactive armor did its job. 

Update, December 31, 7:30 CST: Air raid sirens have again sounded throughout Ukraine amid Russian drone and missile attacks that began shortly after midnight local time. Kyiv specifically has started 2023 with a near continuous sound of anti-aircraft fire and air defense interceptions.

That’s it for now. We will update this story when there is anything major to add.

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