December 20,2023

Victory Chronicles-DAY 665

Ukraine to produce a million FPV drones next year

Ukraine plans to manufacture one million FPV drones and over 11,000 medium- and long-range strike drones next year, according to the country’s Minister for Strategic Industries. 

FPV drones, originally designed for personal civilian use but modified for military applications, have been extensively used by Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion as a cost-effective option for reconnaissance and attack. This strategy has been adopted by Russian forces as well. 

The production facilities are ready, and contracts for 2024 are being signed, with at least 1,000 drones having a range of over 1,000 km. Ukraine aims to boost its own arms production to ensure a stable supply and reduce dependency on aid from partners, thereby stimulating the economy. 


Symbolic number of the Day


Ukraine’s military leadership has proposed mobilizing an additional 450,000-500,000 conscripts, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. However, Zelenskyy highlighted that several key issues need to be resolved before he can support the plan. During a press conference, Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of having specific information about the future of the Ukrainian army, which currently consists of 1 million personnel.

The President also stressed the need for fair rotation and demobilization processes, considering the troops’ morale. In terms of financial costs, Zelenskyy estimated that this mobilization plan would cost approximately $13.4 billion. Additionally, when asked about the mobilization of women, Zelenskyy stated that he would not support it. However, he expressed his agreement with the mobilization of 25-year-old men, pending the presentation of all the necessary arguments.


War in Pictures


Tonight, as a result of another shelling of Kherson, the humanitarian aid warehouse of the Kherson regional organization of the Ukrainian Red Cross was completely destroyed.  The organization published a photo report on the incident. “The direct hit and the resulting fire completely destroyed the humanitarian aid stocks for the residents of Kherson region stored in the warehouse. The staff and volunteers of the Kherson Oblast Organization of the Ukrainian Red Cross were not injured. The work on eliminating the consequences continues,” the organization said in a statement.


Video of the Day

The Russians have become somewhat more active in the Avdiivka sector, using infantry, armored vehicles and aircraft. “One of the reasons is that they are trying to capture at least some part of the settlement, because it is easier to spend the winter in basements than in the field,” the 47th separate mechanized brigade said in a statement.


ISW report


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an end-of-the-year press conference on December 19 during which he commented on Russia’s continued unwillingness to negotiate, his confidence in future Western aid provisions, Ukrainian domestic weapons production, and possible future mobilization in Ukraine.

Zelensky stated that the Kremlin did not achieve its military objectives in Ukraine in 2023, likely referring to Russia’s inability to occupy the entirety of its illegally annexed territory, particularly by failing to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.[19] Zelensky stated that Ukraine is working on a peace formula at international summits to possibly present to Russia in the future but that the issue of negotiations with Russia is currently “irrelevant” as Putin’s recent statements about Russia’s unchanged goals in Ukraine indicate that Putin does not want peace. (ISW has long assessed that Russia is unwilling to negotiate with Ukraine in good faith.)


War Heroes

Junior Sergeant Yurii Maksymchuk, with the call sign Hutsul, died on June 5, 2023, near the village of Levadne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. While performing a combat mission, he was mortally wounded by enemy artillery fire. The defender would have turned 30 in October.

Yuriy is from the village of Bystrytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. He graduated from high school there. Before the Great War, he worked as a timber carrier in Russia for several months. However, after the full-scale invasion, the man immediately returned home, crossing 5 countries. In early March, Yurii signed up as a volunteer at the Nadvirna military enlistment office and waited for a call. Two weeks later, he repeatedly asked them to recruit him to defend Ukraine. On May 7, 2022, he went to study in the Lviv Oblast. A few months later, he was transferred to Mykolaiv Oblast, where he became a fighter with the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, named after Rear Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskyi of the Ukrainian Navy. Together with the unit, he went to Donetsk Oblast.

On October 30, 2022, in Avdiivka, Yurii sustained shrapnel wounds to his shoulder. After rehabilitation, he returned to service with shrapnel that could not be removed. He was promoted to junior sergeant and became a squad leader of a reconnaissance group and combat vehicle commander.

“Yurchyk was very cheerful and serious at the same time, brave and fair, not afraid of hard work. As a little boy, he loved to play war games with his brother. He loved weapons and wanted to become a fighter. When he turned 18, he wanted to serve in the army, but was twice denied,” said Khrystyna, the sister of the deceased. The marine was buried in his native village. Yurii is survived by his parents and sisters.

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


Latest news

  • WP: Running short on Ukraine air defenses, U.S. looks to Japan
  • Ukrainians prepare for first wartime Christmas on new calendar
  • NYT: In a Tough Year on Land, Drones Give Ukraine Some Success at Sea
  • Ukrainian forces pivot to more defensive posture along front line

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