December 11,2023

Victory Chronicles-DAY 656

The operational situation in the East remains difficult

Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, called the situation in the east of the country difficult, adding that Russians are attacking along the entire contact line.

“The operational situation in the east is difficult. The enemy does not stop attacking along the entire contact line. I have carefully analyzed the situation and considered options for further actions together with the commanders holding the defense on the Eastern Front,” Syrskyi said. According to Syrskyi, the decisions were made to ensure the defense’s stability and save fighters’’ lives.


Symbolic number of the Day


Russian troops launched an attack on Ukraine during the night of December 10-11, utilizing Shahid drones and ballistic missiles. The attack was carried out from occupied Crimea, with the drones being launched from airfields in Chaud and Belbek. Ukrainian air defense systems successfully destroyed 18 attack UAVs and eight missiles. The majority of the drones were shot down in the Mykolaiv Oblast, with the actions of the anti-aircraft missile units and mobile fire groups of the Ukrainian Air Force and Land Forces proving successful. 


War in Pictures


During the week of December 4 to 10, demining units of the State Special Transport Service successfully detected, eliminated, and rendered safe 882 explosive objects. Additionally, they cleared a total area of 1759.42 hectares by removing landmines. Since the onset of the Russian Federation’s large-scale aggression, the State Special Transport Service has found, disarmed, and neutralized 89531 explosive objects, thus clearing an area of 43705.66 hectares from landmines. 


Video of the Day

The public relations service of the 79th separate airborne assault brigade of the Tauride Airborne Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has published a video of the destruction of Russian equipment. “The enemy keeps trying to break through the defense of the 79th Air Assault Brigade’s positions, throwing a significant number of infantry and armored vehicles against Mykolaiv paratroopers every day. But his plans are thwarted by the heroism and military training of the Maroon Berets.

The video demonstrates one of the combat episodes when the enemy launched 19 armored vehicles at once to storm the positions of the 79th Brigade, 15 of which were destroyed or damaged by the paratroopers. Then, the paratroopers’ defense was strengthened by the high training of anti-tank crews, who stopped the enemy vehicles with their accurate fire, thus disrupting the occupiers’ plans,” the 79th separate airborne assault brigade of the Airborne Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement.


ISW report


Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova emphasized that Russia’s maximalist objectives in Ukraine have not changed, repeating the Kremlin’s demand for full Ukrainian political capitulation and Kyiv’s acceptance of Russia’s military and territorial demands rather than suggesting any willingness to negotiate seriously. 

In a written interview with AFP on December 9, Zakharova claimed that a “comprehensive, sustainable, and fair resolution” in Ukraine can only happen if the West stops “pumping up the Armed Forces of Ukraine with weapons” and that Ukraine surrenders Russia’s claimed Ukrainian territory and “withdraws its troops,” presumably from Ukrainian territory Russia claims to have annexed. Zakharova emphasized the Kremlin’s longstanding claim that Russia invaded Ukraine for “de-militarization,” “denazification,” and to “ensure the rights of Russian-speaking citizens” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has consistently used the term “denazification” as code for the removal of the elected government of Ukraine and its replacement by some government the Kremlin regards as acceptable—i.e., regime change. “De-militarization” would obviously leave Ukraine permanently at Russia’s mercy. Zakharova’s comments clearly highlight the fact that the initial goals of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, as set out by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022, have not changed, and that Putin does not intend to end the war unless his maximalist objectives have been accomplished. ISW continues to assess that Russia does not intend to engage in serious negotiations with Ukraine in good faith and that negotiations on Russia’s terms are tantamount to full Ukrainian and Western surrender.

Zakharova’s demand that Ukraine withdraw its troops from “Russian territory” as a necessary prerequisite for the resolution of the war suggests that Russia’s maximalist objectives include controlling the entirety of the four oblasts it has illegally annexed parts of. Russian forces currently militarily control portions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson oblasts, but Russia formally (and illegally) annexed the entirety of these oblasts in September of 2022.

Zakharova’s suggestion that Ukrainian forces must entirely withdraw from territory that Russia has claimed through its sham annexation suggests that the Russian demands include the surrender of additional Ukrainian territory that Russian forces do not currently control up to the administrative borders of the four occupied oblasts. Calls for Ukraine’s capitulation under the current circumstances of Russian control of Ukrainian territory up to the current frontline are already unacceptable from the standpoint of vital Ukrainian and Western national security interests, as ISW has previously assessed.

 The Russian demand for an even more expansive surrender of Ukrainian-held territory that Russian forces could likely conquer only at the cost of tremendous additional blood, treasure, and time, if they can do it at all, indicates that Russia’s aims far transcend keeping the territory Russian forces have already seized. It is noteworthy, in this regard, that Russian forces continue to conduct offensive operations in eastern Kharkiv Oblast, which Russia has not claimed to have annexed, suggesting that Russia’s territorial aims may be even more expansive than those Zakharova laid out.


War Heroes

Defender Maksym Hamov, with the call sign Acrobat, died near the village of Novoselivske in Luhansk Oblast. During a combat mission, he was fatally wounded by enemy artillery fire. On December 10, the fighter would have turned 29 years old.

Maksym was born and lived in Vinnytsia. He graduated from the Vinnytsia Transport Professional College with a Maintenance and Repair of Railway and Track Facilities degree. He was a sports acrobat and was awarded the title of Candidate Master of Sports of Ukraine. In civilian life, he worked as a trackman at the Vinnytsia Transportation Company.

During the full-scale war, in October 2022, the man joined the ranks of the Airborne Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and defended his country against the Russian invaders. Maksym served in the 25th Separate Airborne Sicheslav Brigade. He held the position of anti-aircraft gunner of an anti-aircraft missile platoon.

“My son is my dearest person, who was a part of me, and now he was killed. Maksym was a very kind and compassionate person, he was very fond of animals. He was a true friend,” said the mother of the fallen fighter.

The paratrooper was buried at the Sabariv cemetery in Vinnytsia Oblast. Maksym is survived by his mother Oksana Anatoliivna, brother Viktor, other relatives, friends and fighters-in-arms. *Maksym Hamov’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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