Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 31.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 8 Russian attacks near Synkivka where the enemy unsuccessfully tried to break through the Ukrainian defenses. On the Lyman direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 2 enemy attacks in the area of Makiivka. On the Bakhmut direction, they repelled 2 enemy attacks near Bohdanivka, Klishchiivka and Andriivka.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces keep holding back the occupying forces that persist in attempts to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. The Ukrainian Defense Forces over the past 24 hours repelled 5 enemy attacks near Stepove, Avdiivka, and 13 attacks near Pervomaiske and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continued holding back the enemy in the area of Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka, repelling 8 attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 2 enemy attacks near Pryiutne. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the they repelled 4 Russian attacks west of Verbove and east of Kopani.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG, on the Kherson direction the Ukrainian Defense Forces persist in expanding their bridgehead. Despite significant losses, the adversary persists in attempts to dislodge Ukrainian units from their positions. During the past 24 hours, the adversary conducted 13 unsuccessful assault attempts on the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

Russian forces advanced near Kreminna, Bakhmut, Avdiivka; positional combat operations continued along the entire front line.

General conclusion:

  • Russian missile and air strikes on December 29 were primarily directed towards defense industry facilities in Ukraine, including those associated with the production of missiles and UAVs.
  • During the missile strike, the enemy employed X-101/555 missiles equipped with the L-504 862-4-22 trap firing system for the first time, reducing the missile’s visibility by a factor of 3. It is likely that the missiles are also equipped with the “Otblisk-U” optical trajectory correction system based on satellite images, enhancing the precision of the strikes.
  • Russian forces have actively employed approximately 100 UAVs per day near Avdiivka in the last three days but reduced artillery usage in the past day.
  • Russian forces continue attempts to regain previously lost positions near Robotyne, but the frontline in this area has not changed.
  • The adversary resorts to simulation measures, painting aircraft on the Primorsko-Akhtarsk airfield.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 54 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces made slight progress west of Dibrova; positional battles took place in the areas of Synkivka, Novoselivka, north of Hryhorivka, near Makiyivka, Torske, and the Serebryansk Forest.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces advanced to the northern and northeastern outskirts of Bohdanivka, northwest of Khromove, north of Klishchiivka. Positional battles occurred near Hryhorivka, Khromove, Bohdanivka, Andriivka, Klishchiivka, and near Shumy.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces attacked on the northern flank of Avdiivka. They  advanced to the north of Stepove, gaining ground up to 370 meters along the front and 250 meters in depth north of Avdiivka itself and slightly progressed towards the Novobakhmutivka-Ocheretyne line. Positional battles took place around the Avdiivka coking plant, Novobakhmutivka, near Stepove, west of Kamyanka, near Opytne, Severne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka.
  • Berdyansk direction: positional battles took place near Pryiutne and Staromayorske.
  • Tokmak direction: Russian forces advanced 1 km deep east of Robotyne. Positional battles were ongoing west and north of Verbove, near Novofedorivka and Novoprokopivka, west of Robotyne, and east of Kopani.
  • Kherson direction, the “Odesa” OSG troops hold positions on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast, with no changes in the front line in this area. Positional battles were ongoing on the eastern bank, including near Krynky.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 5 ships;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 3 ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total “Kalibr” missile salvo is 16 cruise missiles.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • Units of the 58th Separate SOF Battalion of the 1st Army Corps of the 8th Combined Arms Army operate near Bakhmut.
  • In the Stepove area, units of the enemy 114th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps and the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Combined Arms Army are engaged in combat.
  • The Russian military command has tasked the Russian military police with disarming the “Kaskad” fighters and using force if they encounter resistance.

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 in many sectors along the front line and may lead to a gradual tactical advance 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 could result in the “Tavriya” OSG units withdrawing from both Novoprokopivka and Verbove to the Novodanylivka – Mala Tokmachka line.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 31.12.23 

Personnel – almost 359,230  people (+960);

Tanks – 5,977 (+8);

Armored combat vehicles – 11,070 (+17);

Artillery systems – 8,464 (+30);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 943 (+4);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 623 (+2);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 11,292 (+48);

Aircraft – 329 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,591 (+37);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,709 (+1);

Boats/ships – 24 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 12 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 120 towns and villages and 212 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. 10 people were reported killed and 40 injured in different regions of Ukraine. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On the night of December 30, Ukrainian defenders successfully shot down 21 out of 49 attack drones launched by Russian forces on Ukrainian territory. The majority of the attack drones were directed towards the frontline of defense, as well as civilian, military, and infrastructural targets in the near-frontline areas, particularly in Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts.
  • On Saturday, December 30, during the massive shelling of Kharkiv, Russian forces targeted the “Kharkiv Palace” hotel with S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. As a result of the attack on downtown Kharkiv, 26 people were injured, including children and a British journalist. The journalists were staying in at least 10 of the 15 occupied hotel rooms.
  • Russian shelling  in Kherson on Sunday killed a 14-year-old teenager and left a 9-year-old boy in critical condition. Two other residents of Kherson were also injured due to enemy attacks.
  • As of 12:30 on December 31, in the Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv, rescuers have recovered from the rubble 23 bodies of the people who died during the Russian rocket attack on December 29. Eight people have been rescued. Emergency and rescue operations are ongoing.
  • Around 19:30 on the evening of December 31, the Russian Federation launched a UAV attack on Ukraine. Ukrainian Air Defense Forces warned of several dozen Russian UAVs in the Ukrainian air space.
  • As of December 31, starting from May 4, when the first missile was downed, American Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems have successfully intercepted 15 Russian “Kinjal” missiles in Ukraine, the Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said.
  • During the full-scale war, Russia launched over 7,500 rockets on the territory of Ukraine, according to the Air Force.

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