In eastern Ukraine, Russian troops are maintaining pressure on the embattled city of Bakhmut, according to Ukrainian sources. According to the Ukrainian military, more than a hundred Russian soldiers were said to have been killed. Fighting continues elsewhere too.

In the course of heavy fighting for the eastern Ukrainian frontline town of Bakhmut, Russian troops have suffered heavy losses, according to Ukrainian accounts. As the spokesman for the Ukrainian Army Group East, Serhiy Cherevatyj, announced, around 170 Russian soldiers had been killed the day before. Another 200 Russians were wounded trying to attack the city. Cherevatyj spoke of an “assembly line of death” for the attackers. The information on the number of victims could not initially be independently verified.

Bakhmut is considered the so-called cornerstone of the Ukrainian front lines in the east of the country. For the Russian armed forces, the city is a prestige object that they want to conquer at any cost. The Russian attacks are led by members of the notorious Wagner mercenary group. The Russian side also regularly reports high numbers of casualties among the ranks of the Ukrainian opponents.

Combat operations also continued elsewhere: the Ukrainian air force reported 45 attacks with Iranian-type Shahed-136 combat drones on Ukrainian territory. They were all destroyed. “It was not possible to spoil the celebration for the Ukrainians,” said the air force in Kyiv. The occupiers in the areas controlled by Russia also complained about massive shelling.

As a result of the fighting, there were probably hundreds of soldiers killed on both sides as well as casualties among the civilian population. Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced on Saturday that an elderly man had been killed in the capital and numerous people had been injured, including a journalist from Japan. Klitschko assumes further Russian attacks. “Russia is mobilizing more forces, we expect up to 300,000 soldiers to start another attack on our country,” he wrote in a guest article for the “Bild” newspaper.

One person killed in the attacks was also reported from the Zaporizhia region. The deputy head of the presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, spoke of one death from Russian shelling in the city of Cherson, which was recently liberated by Ukrainian troops. He spoke of a total of 50 injuries over the holiday weekend. Ten people were injured in the western Ukrainian region of Khmelnytskyi and six in Mykolaiv.

At the turn of the year there were repeated air alerts across the country. The occupiers in the Russian-occupied areas also reported civilian casualties from Ukrainian shelling. In the city of Makiivka, 15 people were injured by fire from rocket launchers, the authorities of the occupied Donetsk region said. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it had repelled 15 Ukrainian drone strikes, including on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea annexed by Moscow and on its own border region of Belgorod.

The state of the energy infrastructure deteriorated in part due to the renewed Russian shelling on the holiday weekend. Power outages are now part of everyday life. Nevertheless, many Ukrainians were able to welcome the new year with light. The energy suppliers had been instructed to give priority to supplying private households with electricity at the festival.

Since mid-October, Russia has carried out eleven major attacks, primarily on objects in the Ukrainian energy system. Due to the massive destruction of the infrastructure, there are power outages in many places, affecting millions of people. The Ukrainian government accuses Russia of “terrorism” – with the aim of plunging the country into darkness and cold. Kyiv has accused Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin of wanting to force people to flee in order to destabilize the situation in the EU through mass immigration.