Some 135 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during the past 24 hours, the Russian defense ministry said Saturday, as Moscow’s forces are trying to push further into the Donbass.
Due to the fighting toward Kupiansk in Kharkov, the Russian defense ministry revealed that some 40 Ukrainian soldiers and a combat armored vehicle, as well as four motor vehicles.
In the Kupyansk direction, damage by firepower was inflicted on Ukrainian army units near Petropavlovka and Timkovka in the Kharkov Region. Up to 40 Ukrainian servicemen, a combat armored vehicle, and four motor vehicles were destroyed,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said.
“A temporary base of foreign mercenaries was hit near Krasny Liman in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” he specified.
Operational-tactical aircraft, missile troops, and artillery struck a temporary deployment site of the Ukrainian armed forces’ 14th mechanized brigade near Kupyansk in the Kharkov Region, as well as 53 artillery units at firing positions, manpower, and military equipment in 89 areas, Konashenkov revealed.
“Ukrainian troops tried in vain to counterattack the Russian forces near Bakhmutskoye and Opytnoe in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Artillery units and assault teams stopped enemy forces and scattered them,” he added.
According to the spokesperson, the Russian Armed Forces killed up to 35 Ukrainian troops in the south of the DPR.
He also said the Russian armed forces used high-precision weapons to strike the command systems of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as their defense industry facilities and related energy sites.
“On Friday, December 16, a massive attack was carried out on Ukrainian military command systems, defense industry facilities, and related energy sites, which involved long-range air-and sea-launched high-precision weapons,” Konashenkov said.
As Russia advances on the battlefield, Ukraine is waging war using the West-supplied HIMARS, which have been mostly getting intercepted by Moscow’s forces. According to the MoD spokesperson, Russia intercepted three Uragan rockets near Tokmak, Zaparozhye, and four HIMARS rockets near the Rozovka and Baranikovka, Lugansk.
He also said that two Ukrainian drones had been downed near Zaliman, Lugansk.
The first package of HIMARS arrived in Ukraine on June 23, 2022, to be used against the Donbass. HIMARS is capable of launching Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles with a range of up to 50 miles as well as a single Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile with a range of 186 miles. The US has been continuously supplying Ukraine with GMLRSs, while Kiev continues to make demands for ATACMS delivery.
An article written in the New York Times back in September affirmed that the US HIMARS missile systems were, in fact, useless in their battle in the city of Artyomovsk, and have “failed to put much of a dent in the Russian supply chain.”
Despite pumping what seems like an endless supply of arms into Ukraine, the United States has been complaining that it has been running into major obstacles tracking the aid sent from Washington to Kiev, which has amounted to tens of billions of dollars since the start of the Ukraine war, resorting to blockchain technology and Ukrainian personnel to help them track the aid flowing into their country.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is mulling utilizing a certain unnamed US firm by February to implement a three-year initiative that would help with oversight regarding the aid making it into Ukraine, Politico reported on Friday, citing a “sensitive but unclassified” document.
This comes after reports last month that said the Biden administration was scurrying to track down the approximately $20 billion in military aid it sent to Ukraine, amid a warning by Republicans of impending audits after they take over the House in January.
Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to “hold our government accountable”, as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to The Washington Post: “The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it’s intended to go,” adding: “In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies.”
Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a “blank check”. The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where – as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.
Former President Donald Trump slammed Washington’s generous hand-over of cash and weapons to Ukraine: The US, according to Trump, has too many problems of its own to hand money and weapons to Ukraine for its conflict with Russia, insisting that if anything it’s Europe that should be providing more help to Kiev given that they’re more affected by the situation.