Ukraine Situation Report: Russia Launches Rocket Attack On Kherson

At least 8 civilians were killed and nearly 60 more injured in a Russian rocket attack in Kherson’s city center on Christmas Eve. 

Graphic video from the scene showed victims where they died amid vehicles and storefronts shredded by shrapnel and debris. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted photos from the attack and its aftermath to his Telegram channel. The Ukrainian National Police have reportedly begun an investigation into the strike. 

The attack reportedly used BM-21 ‘Grad’ rockets, the infernally inaccurate system descended from the Soviet Katyusha rockets used to saturate broad areas with artillery fire. With no precision to speak of, their only purposes in a city are widespread destruction and terror. 

This isn’t the first attack in recent days either, with two people reportedly killed in a similar strike on December 23, as well. While Ukrainian troops retook the strategic city in early November, it remains well within the range of Russian artillery from across the Dnieper River. We previously wrote about Russian artillery using the occupied Zaporizhzia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) as a fire base to strike targets on the opposite bank further upriver, which you can read about here.

Before we go into the latest news from Ukraine this Christmas Eve, The War Zone readers can get caught up on our previous rolling coverage here

The Latest

Some camouflage netting may well have saved a Ukrainian T-72 from a Russian loitering munition near the frontline. Footage shows the remains of a Russian Lancet loitering munition snared in the covering above a Ukrainian tank.

The Lancet has proven a real threat to Ukrainian troops, especially to those spending too much time in the open or in one location along or near the front lines.

We also have what appears to be a destroyed Ukrainian AHS Krab 155mm self-propelled howitzer. These Polish NATO-caliber guns have been a preferred artillery system of Ukrainian crews since their arrival earlier this year, but this one has definitely seen better days. 

The low-altitude spray and pray rocket attack remains in use, as seen with this Ukrainian Mi-24 Hind lobbing S-8 rockets toward a Russian position. 

Ukrainian drones remain active over the battle raging for Bakhmut, with new video showing one spotting for Ukrainian artillery gunners shelling a Russian position. 

Ukraine now estimates Russia has used 540 of some 1,700 kamikaze drones delivered by Iran. Since their appearance in large-scale attacks against Ukrainian targets in September, Kyiv has made air defenses against these drones and Russian cruise missiles a top priority.

Back in Bakhmut, Ukrainian forces are putting a Mk 19 grenade launcher through its paces as one heck of an indirect fire weapon. A full box of 40mm grenades raining on your foxhole is certainly less than ideal under any circumstances. 

There’s an incredible thread documenting the proliferation of Western electronics, particularly microchips, in Russian weapon systems. Examination of a Russian Su-24M Fencer downed near Bakhmut revealed microchips from a number of U.S. companies. 

We wrote about the number of American-made chips in Russian weapons as Ukrainian troops got their hands on more and more gear earlier in the war, which you can read about here. A similar reality is true for Iran’s drones, as well.

The Russian Air Force is taking further precautions at its bases in the weeks after Ukrainian drones struck Engels-2 and Dyagilevo airfields in stunning, long-range attacks. Evergreen Intel (@vcdgf555 ) and ThreeCalories (@ThreeCalories ) found dividers installed between the most active aircraft at the Akhtubinsk Flight Test Centre. 

Akhtubinsk, just down the river from Volgograd and not far from the border with Kazakhstan, has been associated with the Russian Su-57 Felon fifth-generation fighter program and houses numerous aircraft types for research and development. The dividers are no doubt an attempt to contain any damage to one aircraft in an attack, lest fire and shrapnel spread as happened at Saki Air Base in Crimea this summer

On a final and lighter note, the Christmas spirit still looks strong even in war. Video showed a truck blasting Christmas music through a darkened Kyiv on Christmas Eve, while a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 pilot rocks a Santa Claus hat. 

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

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