December 18,2023

Victory Chronicles-DAY 673

Russian air defense downs its own Su-25 jet

Russian air defenses have downed their own Su-25 jet, Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk said on Dec. 17. “I can confidently say that it wasn’t Ukrainian air defense,” Oleshchuk added.

According to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, this is the 325th aircraft lost by Russia since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As of Dec. 17, Russia also lost 324 helicopters, according to Ukraine. On Dec. 5, Ukraine’s Air Force reported the downing of a Russian Su-24M bomber aircraft as it attempted to launch missiles toward targets in Odesa Oblast.

Russia has been enjoying an increasing air superiority near the front lines, with air power being among the reasons cited by Ukrainian officials and military observers for the failure of the summer counteroffensive.


Symbolic number of the Day


The demining units of the State Special Transport Service of Ukraine have made significant progress in clearing landmines over the past week, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A total of 928 mines were found, removed, and neutralized in three different regions, with the majority of mines (650) being defused in Kharkiv Oblast, followed by 169 in Kherson Oblast and 109 in Mykolaiv Oblast. 

Since the start of the Russian invasion, a total of 91,603 mines have been identified and removed near vital infrastructure such as water bodies, roads, railways, power lines, and gas pipelines. The seriousness of this demining initiative is emphasized by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s warning that 6 million people in Ukraine are currently at risk, with over 250 deaths and more than 500 injuries reported so far.


War in Pictures


The Australian military has been involved in the INTERFLEX training mission since January 2022, which the United Kingdom has led to support Ukraine’s national defense. Over 1,200 recruits have been trained by Australian Defence Force (ADF) instructors, and a new rotation of around 70 instructors has returned to Australia. In the coming year, the number of ADF personnel deployed will increase to 90 per rotation. Australia’s role in the mission is expanding to include training junior commanders and leaders in combat skills, combat first aid, explosive ordnance disposal, and marksmanship training.


Video of the Day

Ukrinform published a video of the aftermath of the fall of Russian UAV debris in Odesa Oblast. It took more than four hours for rescuers to eliminate the consequences of the enemy attack. Three one-story residential buildings were destroyed, and fires broke out in two of them. A 54-year-old man died as a result of the drone crash. “Mutilated and destroyed houses are what remained after the fall of the wreckage of Russian UAVs,” Ukrinform reported.


ISW report


The Kremlin’s repeated rhetoric about its hostile intent towards NATO, coupled with Russia’s potential future military capabilities in the event of Russian victory in Ukraine, poses a credible — and costly — threat to Western security.

If Russia were able to achieve its stated maximalist objective of full Ukrainian capitulation, likely leading to a Russian military occupation of Ukraine, Russia would be able to deploy forces right up to NATO’s border from the Black Sea to the Arctic Ocean.

ISW recently assessed that the sudden collapse of Western aid would likely lead sooner or later to the collapse of Ukraine’s ability to hold off the Russian military. Given Russia’s demonstrated hostile intent towards NATO and its potential military capabilities along almost the entirety of NATO’s eastern border, the West would be obliged to prepare to defend against possible Russian action against NATO. The cost of these defensive measures would be astronomical and would likely be accompanied by a period of very high risk.

Support for Ukraine offers the West the best opportunity to avoid these costs and the expanded Russian threat.


War Heroes

Ukrainian fighter Roman Hulenko, with the call sign Mykhalych, died on January 18, 2023, near the village of Rozdolivka, Donetsk Oblast. While performing a combat mission, he came under enemy mortar fire and was mortally wounded. The defender would have been 29 years old now.

Roman was born in Nosivka, Chernihiv Oblast. In 2010, he graduated from the local secondary school No. 1, and the following year, he graduated from the Kyiv Higher Vocational School of Railway Transport. Then he did his military service. In 2013-2016, he worked at the Public Security Police Department in Kyiv as a security guard at the Department’s material support unit. Since 2019, he has been an employee of the Kyiv Metro, where he held the position of inspector of the operational control unit. In 2021, he started working as an electrician.

The man volunteered to go to the front at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. He served in the Separate Presidential Brigade named after Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky as a gunner.

“My husband was courageous, strong, fair, kind, sincere, and loyal to his country. He gave the most important thing for us, our freedom – his life. We are proud of our Hero’s invincibility, courage, and resilience!” said the wife of the deceased. The fighter was buried in his hometown. Roman is survived by his mother, Lyubov Volodymyrivna, wife Valentyna, sister Oksana, relatives, friends and fighters-in-arms.

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


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