December 15,2023

Victory Chronicles-DAY 660

Russian attacks on Tavria front: 80 assaults a day for three days in a row

According to the commander of the Tavria operational and tactical group, the defense forces have destroyed 414 Russian occupants and 23 units of enemy military equipment over the past day. The number of combat clashes has not reduced, with around 80 assault actions daily for the past three days, mostly in the Donetsk sector. 

These assault groups consist of up to 20 people, supported by armored vehicles. The enemy has also increased the number of air strikes, using aerial bombs. In the past day, the Russian occupants carried out 15 air strikes, 76 combat engagements, and fired 631 artillery shells. Despite these challenges, Ukrainian fighters continue to hold the line. 

The total enemy losses amounted to 414 people, and 23 units of enemy military equipment were destroyed, including a tank, armored personnel carriers, artillery systems, anti-tank guns, unmanned aerial vehicles, vehicles, special equipment, and ammunition depots. An additional 20 units of enemy equipment were damaged.


Symbolic number of the Day

$1.34 billion

The World Bank has allocated an additional $1.34 billion to Ukraine, focusing on social payments, such as pensions and teachers’ salaries. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stated that these funds will also support internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other key state budget expenses. The majority of this funding comes from the Government of Japan, amounting to $1.086 billion, with additional grants from the United States, Switzerland, and the Ukraine Recovery, Transition, and Reform Fund (URTF).


War in Pictures


The Ukrainian Armed Forces published photos of the work of drone operators. “In just one day, they hit an enemy tank, helped destroy 2 armored personnel carriers and at least 5 occupants. They call themselves Black Raven and are one of the units of the 93rd Brigade Kholodnyi Yar that actively uses FPV drones in their work,” the Armed Forces said in a statement.


Video of the Day

Ukrainian service members are constantly improving their capabilities to destroy air targets, reported the Regional Directorate of the “East” Territorial Defense Forces. “The air defense units of the Regional Directorate of the Territorial Defense Forces “East” are guarding the sky. Recently conducted exercises confirmed the high level of mobile air defense fire groups of our Regional Directorate,” the statement said.


ISW report


Drone footage reportedly taken from western Zaporizhia Oblast shows Russian forces using Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) as human shields in an apparent violation of international humanitarian law. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) stated on December 13 that it received drone footage from Ukraine that shows Russian fighters covering themselves behind Ukrainian POWs as they advance on Ukrainian positions near Robotyne.

The Ukrainian POWs in the video appear unarmed, while the Russian fighters force them forward at gunpoint, and at some point, a Russian fighter fires at and apparently kills the Ukrainian POW as the POW tries to run away. RFE/RL noted that elements of the 234th Airborne Assault (VDV) Regiment (76th VDV Division) are active in the Robotyne area, suggesting that the command of this regiment would be responsible for the apparent violations of international humanitarian law. 

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office initiated criminal proceedings on the “violation of laws and customs of war” based on the video. Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets responded to the video and called it an apparent violation of the Geneva Convention. The Geneva Conventions prohibit the use of “protected persons” as human shields to protect against attacks or “prevent reprisals during an offensive,” and POWs are specifically classified as protected persons under international law.


War Heroes

Junior Sergeant Andrii Balenko, with the call sign Bulia, died on June 15, 2023, near the village of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Bakhmut district, Donetsk Oblast. The defender died as a result of an enemy mine explosion. 

On July 25, Andrii would have turned 43 years old. He graduated from the Kharkiv Automobile and Road Technical College of Mechanization. He lived with his family in the village of Pokotylivka in his native region. Recently, he worked abroad in construction. During the full-scale Russian invasion, the man fought for his country in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He served in the 225th separate assault battalion. He held the position of deputy commander of a combat vehicle gunner-operator.

“From the first days of the war, my beloved husband voluntarily came to the defense of our country. He never once doubted the correctness of his decision. And even after being wounded, he could not stay at home, because he said: “My guys are there, I can’t stay here.” He was killed while performing a combat mission…” said Olha Tyumentseva.

The fighter was buried in the village of Pokotylivka, Kharkiv Oblast. Andrii is survived by his parents, wife, and son.

*Andrii’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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