As the war enters its 707th day, here are the main developments.
Here is the situation as of Wednesday January 31, 2024.
- Four people in two villages in northern Ukraine’s Sumy region near the Russian border were killed in Russian shelling, while a woman died in a new assault on the devastated town of ‘Avdiivka, in eastern Ukraine, according to local authorities.
- Three people were also reportedly injured after Russian drones struck Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, according to local authorities. The attack also sparked a fire and caused damage to apartment buildings and infrastructure.
- The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia launched a total of 35 attack drones and two guided missiles targeting energy and military infrastructure near the front line and other Ukrainian regions, defense systems air force having destroyed 15 of the 35 drones.
- Russia said it shot down 11 drones launched by Ukraine over Crimea, which it occupied and annexed in 2014, in a move that was not recognized internationally. The Ukrainian military said it hit a Russian air defense radar station located on the peninsula. Russian news agencies said several drones allegedly launched by Ukraine were also shot down over Belgorod, Bryansk, Kaluga and Tula, all regions of Russia.
- Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency, said he expected Russia’s offensive on the Eastern Front to run out of steam by early spring. In recent months, Russia has intensified its attacks in the region, attempting to encircle towns like Avdiivka. Budanov said they had only made “some progress in some areas.”
- The Ukrainian government has submitted to Parliament an amended version of its controversial military mobilization bill, including a new provision that would allow certain people to serve in the armed forces even if they have been convicted of a crime. The bill aims to lower the conscription age from 27 to 25.
- Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence, said Russia has shown itself “not ready” to return the bodies of 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war Moscow says were killed in the conflict. crash of a military transport plane last week.
- Ukraine said it temporarily disrupted communications of military units in a cyberattack that took down a server used by the Russian Defense Ministry.
Politics and diplomacy
- Writing on the Foreign Affairs magazine website, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Bill Burns, said that Ukraine would likely face a difficult year fighting Russia in 2024, and that a American decision to cut aid to Kiev would be an “own goal of historic proportions”. A huge aid package for Ukraine is currently blocked in Congress because some Republicans want to tie it to changes in U.S. border policies.
- Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote in a letter to his lawyer that he had been in solitary confinement for four months after being transferred to a new Siberian penal colony. In the letter, published by his wife, he said the decision was punishment for not standing up when a guard ordered him to “stand up”, which he said authorities had considered to be “a malicious violation.” Kara-Murza, a critic of President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, was jailed for 25 years last April after being convicted of treason.
- Russian investigators have accused two 17-year-olds of sabotage in favor of Ukraine after setting fire to a railway equipment vault in Moscow. Both men have been remanded in custody and face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia had more than doubled its production of air defense missiles and aimed to increase production further, but there were ‘questions’ regarding the production of engines and launchers that needed to be resolved.
- Ukraine is expected to receive its first batch of Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB), a new long-range precision bomb developed by Boeing, as early as Wednesday, according to Politico. The new bomb can travel about 145 km (90 miles) and will give Ukraine “a deeper strike capability that it hasn’t had,” a U.S. official told the magazine.