Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 29.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian Defence Forces repelled 12 enemy attacks near Synkivka. On the Bakhmut direction, they repelled three enemy attacks near Bohdanivka and Andriivka. 

In the OSG “Tavriya” operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back the enemy, which persists in attempting to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. Over the past day, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 14 attacks east of Novobakhmutivka and Avdiivka and 12 attacks in the areas of Pervomaiske and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, Ukrainian troops are holding back the enemy in the areas of Maryinka and Novomykhailivka, where they repelled 6 attacks. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 4 attacks south of Novodarivka, west of Verbove and Robotyne.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG on Kherson direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces persist in expanding their bridgehead. Despite encountering setbacks, the adversary persists in attempts to dislodge Ukrainian units from their positions. During the past 24 hours, the adversary attempted 13 unsuccessful assault actions, faced strong resistance, and subsequently retreated.

Russian forces advanced northwest of Avdiivka, near Maryinka and south of Hulyaipole, with positional combat operations ongoing along the entire contact line. 

General conclusion:

  • The enemy consistently breaches the Geneva Convention concerning prisoners of war. The 234th Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Air Assault Division is implicated in the execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Robotyne area, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, as verified by UAV footage. Previously, the 234th Air Assault Regiment had severely mistreated the civilian population of Bucha in Kyiv Oblast. These indicate a tolerance for violations of laws and customs of war by the command of the 76th Air Assault Division and the Russian Airborne Forces.
  • Russian forces continued their attempts to capture Bohdanivka, to advance towards Chasiv Yar, and regain lost positions near Klishchiivka and Andriivka.
  • The adversary has almost entirely eliminated the incursion of the “Tavriya” OSG forces into the first position of its main defensive line on the Tokmak direction.
  • Forward units of the adversary have reached a position 2 km from the western outskirts of Robotyne and continue to attack. Should they succeed in progressing on this axis by at least 1-1.5 km, the situation to the east and southeast of Robotyne for the “Tavriya” OSG will sharply deteriorate.
  • Russian forces have doubled the use of barrage munitions and increased the number of precision bombing raids by Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft on the Tavriya direction.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 53 combat engagements on various fronts. 
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces captured two Ukrainian positions near Synkivka. They are slowly advancing; prioritizing artillery strikes on the objects of the “Khortytsia” OSG rather than engaging in direct assaults. Positional battles persisted in the areas of Synkivka, Ivanivka, Lake Lyman, Serebryansk Forest, Torske, Dibrova, and Hryhorivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces made slight progress near Spirne, north and east of Bohdanivka, and attempted an unsuccessful attack near Vesele.
  • The “Khortytsia” OSG forces made minor advances southeast of Klishchiivka, continuing positional battles with the enemy near Khromove, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka. They maintain fire control over Bohdanivka, preventing its capture by the enemy.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the “Tavriya” OSG forces attacked near Mayorske and New York. 
  • Russian forces made slight progress near the Avdiivka coke chemical plant, up to 800 meters in the Severne area, near Ocheretyne along the railway line, in the industrial zone near Maryinka. They attacked near Pobieda, Heorhiivka, and Novomykhailivka. Positional battles persisted northwest of Avdiivka, east of Novobakhmutivka, near Stepove, near Pervomaiske, Nevelske, and Severne.
  • On the Berdyansk direction, Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked south of Novodarivka.
  • Tokmak direction: Russian forces captured Dorozhnyanka, advanced west and northwest of Robotyne, and along the line Robotyne-Verbove. They launched an aerial strike with glide bombs on Orikhove. The adversary partially managed to restore positions along the first line of its main defense line through intensive attacks by the forces of the 76th and 7th Air Assault Divisions. The enemy has achieved some success west of Robotyne and north of Kopani, where units of the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, and the 76th Air Assault Division of the adversary are attacking. The enemy has the potential to reinforce this direction with up to 4 motorized rifle regiments, which are restoring combat readiness.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces have secured a small foothold north of Verbove, although they were forced to withdraw from the first position of the adversary’s main defense line west and north of Verbove.
  • Kherson direction: The “Odesa” OSG forces maintain positions on the eastern bank of the Kherson Oblast; positional battles have been ongoing across the entire eastern bank.
  • The adversary has increased the intensity of aerial reconnaissance of the tactical and operational-tactical rear of the “Odesa” OSG, employing reconnaissance UAVs “Supercam” (mainly from the 350 series) and “Merlin.” The frequency and intensity of these enemy UAV flights have significantly increased recently. Areas of particular attention include the delta of the Dnipro River, the direction towards Dniprovske village (Kherson Oblast), the areas near Kherson city, and Solonchaky village (Mykolaiv Oblast). The adversary uses these UAVs not only for reconnaissance and aerial photography but also for adjusting the fire of their long-range strikes in this direction.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 8 ships, including 3 cruise missile carriers, with a total salvo capability of 20 Kalibr cruise missiles.
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship.
    • Mediterranean Sea: 3 ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers, with a total salvo capability of 16 Kalibr cruise missiles.
  • At the base in Novoozerne, the adversary maintains 2 missile boats of the 12411 project, namely “Ivanovets” and “Burya.” On the latter, the “Palash” anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex has been installed as part of a modernization experiment.
  • As of December, 305 civilian vessels have transported over 10 million tons of grain and other cargo through the civilian corridor in the Black Sea.

Change in enemy disposition: 

  • The Russian military command will disband the operational-combat tactical formation “Kaskad” of the “Ministry of Interior” of the self-proclaimed “DPR” by December 31, 2023.
  • Russia’s Ministry of Defense officially deployed a battalion, formed from Ukrainian prisoners of war to the front line in Ukraine, recruiting approximately 70 prisoners of war.
  • Units of the 123rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps are engaged in combat near Berestove, and the 106th Airborne Division is active on the Soledar direction.
  • Near Klishchiivka, combat operations are being conducted by the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps and the “Shustry” detachment of the “Akhmat” unit. Near Bakhmut, the 331st Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division and the 102nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Combined Arms Army are engaged in combat.
  • Units of the 238th Artillery Brigade of the 8th Combined Arms Army are deployed near Horlivka. 
  • On the Berdyansk direction, units of the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (Mountain) of the 49th Combined Arms Army are active.
  • The command of the adversary’s “Dniepr” operational grouping has withdrawn a part of the 205th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 49th Combined Arms Army to restore combat readiness north of Dzhankoy. Units of the 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade were detected in the Nova Mayachka area (information is being verified). Near Krynky, the Russian “Volunteer Battalion Margelov” is operating.

Escalation indicators: 

  • The adversary, leveraging its superiority in the air, is increasing the intensity of airstrikes on the Tavria direction, conducting aerial reconnaissance on the Kherson direction, and regrouping forces in the vicinity of Avdiivka.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The Russian Federation plans to seize the entire Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and part of Kharkiv Oblast up to the Oskil River by March 2024. Over the next 36 months, Russia intends to capture parts of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv Oblasts, including the city of Kharkiv on the left bank of the Dnipro River.
  • Localized enemy attacks exert pressure on Ukrainian forces along the front line and may lead to a gradual tactical advancement by the adversary.
  • In the near future, the enemy will commence the assault on Novomykhailivka.
  • The enemy offensive in the Mykilske area and in the Novomayorske-Pavlivka section should be expected.
  • The enemy will continue its attempts to break through along the O0532 road towards Pobieda-Kostyantynivka.
  • The attacks by the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, and the 76th Air Assault Division of the adversary in the area of Robotyne and Kopani may lead to the withdrawal of units of the “Tavriya” OSG forces both from Novoprokopivka and Verbove, to the Novodanylivka – Mala Tokmachka line.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 29.12.23  

Personnel – almost 357,520 people (+850); 

Tanks – 5,953 (+13); 

Armored combat vehicles – 11,033 (+18); 

Artillery systems – 8,417 (+26);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 938 (+3);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 620 (+3);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 11,215 (+35);

Aircraft – 329 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,539 (+36);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,620 (0);

Boats/ships – 24 (0).


  • On the morning of December 29, Russia launched the most massive aerial attack on Ukraine to date using various types of strike drones and missiles. In total, the enemy used 158 aerial attack assets. It directed them towards industrial, military, and civilian objects, including critical infrastructure. “Everything was flying, except, for maybe, “Kalibr.” There were “Kinzhals,” ballistic missiles, S-300, and cruise missiles… “Shahed” drones were also used.” – Yuriy Ihnat, the Spokesperson of the Ukrainian Air Force, said.
  • According to the updated information, during the morning aerial attack, Ukraine’s air defense destroyed 88 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles and 27 strike drones of the Shahed-136/131 type.
  • Ukrainian rescuers from the State Emergency Service have saved 53 people, with 8 of them rescued from under the rubble. As of 6:30 p.m. there were reports of 30 fatalities and more than 160 injuries due to Russia’s morning mass strike on Ukrainian territory.
    • As of 17:30, at least 8 people were reported killed, and another 13 people were reported injured as result of the morning rocket strike on the city of Zaporizhzhia. Search and rescue at the sites of Russian missile impacts continues. 
    • Due to the Russian missile impacts in Dnipro, 6 people have died, and another 30 have been injured, including a 1.5-year-old child. In Dnipro, a fire broke out in a maternity hospital after the attack. Patients and staff, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, were unharmed. In addition to the damaged shopping center and maternity hospital, one private house in the city has been completely destroyed. Eight administrative buildings are damaged, along with at least two dozen multi-story buildings and several cars.Bottom of Form
    • Eight injured individuals were rescued and the bodies of nine deceased persons were recovered from the rubble of a warehouse building in the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv.
    • As a result of a Russian missile hitting the residential sector of the city of Smila in Cherkasy Oblast, nine people were injured, including a child. According to preliminary information, 51 buildings have been damaged.
    • In Lviv, based on the latest information, 30 individuals, including two children, were injured following the Russian rocket attack.
    • In the city of Konotop in Sumy Oblast, four civilians were injured by Russian shelling, and numerous residential and administrative buildings sustained significant damage.
    • Between five and eight in the morning on December 29, Kharkiv was subjected to three waves of missile strikes by Russia. Three individuals lost their lives, and 13 sustained injuries, with 11 of them admitted to hospitals. Among those hospitalized, three are in critical condition, while others are in a moderately severe state. The city’s infrastructure, including a hospital, polyclinic, school, over a dozen residential buildings, a “Nova Poshta” branch, and industrial facilities, suffered damage.
    • During the drone attack in Odesa, debris from a downed drone fell onto a multi-story building, causing a fire. Twenty-three people were evacuated from the high-rise, five were rescued, and six individuals were injured, including two children. Two fatalities were confirmed. Additionally, under the debris of a three-story residential building, which also caught fire, a deceased woman was found, and four people were injured.

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