Wednesday, 07 February 2024 04:41

What to know after Day 713 of Russia-Ukraine war

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Ukraine's Zelenskiy orders creation of separate military force for drones

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday ordered the creation of a separate branch of Ukraine's armed forces devoted to drones, weapons he and military officials say are crucial to fighting the war against Russia.

Zelenskiy signed a decree calling on the government and general staff of the armed forces to "work out issues on the creation within the Ukrainian armed forces of a separate force for drone systems".

"I have just signed a decree which will launch the creation of a separate branch within our armed forces -- a drone systems force," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"This is not a question for the future. Rather, it must provide concrete results in the very near future. This year must be decisive in a great many aspects. And clearly on the battlefield. Drone systems have shown their effectiveness on land, in the skies and on the seas."

Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine's Minister for Digital Transformation, said the separate branch would provide "a powerful impetus" to the military's technological development.

In the past year, he said, drones had "fundamentally changed the situation on the battlefield. They are effective in stopping Russian attacks and back up counterattacks by Ukraine's armed forces."

According to Zelenskiy's decree, the results of the study would be submitted to the policy-making National Security and Defence Council.

Zelenskiy has pointed to drones, and production domestically and with partner nations, as a key element in conducting the war against Russia since Moscow's invasion two years ago this month.

In December, the president pledged that Ukraine would produce a million drones in 2024.

Government officials have said that Ukraine aims to produce tens of thousands of drones every month. No figures on current production are available, but since the start of the war, drone production has shot up, with dozens of companies developing and producing different models.

The commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, whose position is in question in view of differences with the president, said in a comment for CNN last week that drones were critical for the conduct of the war.

"Crucially, it is these unmanned systems – such as drones – along with other types of advanced weapons, that provide the best way for Ukraine to avoid being drawn into a positional war, where we do not possess the advantage," Zaluzhnyi wrote.



Ukrainian forces lose up to 290 servicemen, equipment in Donetsk area

The Russian armed forces wiped out up to 290 Ukrainian servicemen, a tank and two infantry fighting vehicles in the Donetsk area over the past 24 hours, the Defense Ministry said.

Here are the details of this and other combat actions that happened over the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry report.

Donetsk Area

"The Ukrainian military lost up to 290 servicemen, a tank, two infantry fighting vehicles and three vehicles. In addition, a US-made M777 artillery system, a Msta-B howitzer, and a US-made AN/TPQ-50 counter-battery radar were hit," the Ministry said.

The Russian army continues to take more favorable positions in the Donetsk area, with seven Ukrainian attacks repelled over the past 24 hours, the Defense Ministry added.

"Near Donetsk, units of the southern group have taken more advantageous lines and positions, as well as repelled 7 enemy attacks and inflicted losses in manpower and materiel on the enemy in the areas of Kleshcheyevka, Andreyevka, Kurdyumovka, Novgorodskoye, Georgiyevka and Katerinovka of the Donetsk People's Republic," the report says.

A day earlier, the Ministry also reported that units of the southern group had occupied more favorable positions in the Donetsk area over 24 hours.

Southern Donetsk Area

Units of Russia’s Battlegroup East repulsed two attacks of Ukrainian assault teams in the south Donetsk area over the past 24 hours in the special military operation in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry announced.

"In the south Donetsk direction, units of the battlegroup East improved their frontline positions, repelled two attacks and inflicted damage on the manpower and military hardware of the Ukrainian army’s 58th motorized infantry brigade, 105th and 128th territorial defense brigades near the settlements of Staromayorskoye, Urozhainoye in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] and Priyutnoye in the Zaporozhye Region," the Ministry stated.

"The Ukrainian army’s losses in the south Donetsk area over the past day amounted to roughly 195 personnel, a tank and two motor vehicles.," the Ministry specified.

In counter-battery fire, Russian forces destroyed an Akatsiya motorized artillery systems and a Gvozdika motorized artillery system.

Zaporozhye Area

The Ukrainian armed forces lost more than 95 servicemen, a D-20 gun and a Gvozdika howitzer in the Zaporozhye area over the past 24 hours, the Defense Ministry said.

"The enemy lost over 95 servicemen, two armored combat vehicles and two pickup trucks, as well as a a D-20 gun and a Gvozdika howitzer," the Ministry said, adding that Russian forces defeated the 128th Ukrainian mountain assault, 65th, 118th mechanized brigades near Rabotino, Nesteryanka and Pyatikhatki of the Zaporozhye Region.

Krasny Liman Area

Russian forces left roughly 240 Ukrainian troops killed and wounded in the Krasny Liman area over the past day in the special military operation in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry reported.

"In the Krasny Liman direction, the battlegroup Center improved its frontline position and repelled two attacks by assault groups of the Ukrainian army’s 60th mechanized brigade near the settlement of Yampolovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR]," the Ministry stated.

The Ministry also said that the Russian forces also destroyed a Ukrainian field artillery arms depot and inflicted damage on the enemy’s military hardware and personnel.

The enemy’s losses in the Krasny Liman direction over the past 24 hours "amounted up to 240 personnel, three armored combat vehicles, four motor vehicles and an Akatsiya motorized artillery system," the statement specified.

Kupyansk Area

The Russian army repelled six Ukrainian attacks near Kupyansk during one day, with the enemy's losses estimated at 35 men, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"In the Kupyansk area, units of the western group of forces repelled six attacks by assault groups of Ukraine’s 25th airborne, 30th and 44th mechanized brigades and 18th brigade of the National Guard in the areas of Sinkovka in the Kharkov Region, and Terny in the Donetsk People's Republic. The enemy lost up to 35 servicemen and 2 vehicles," the news release reads.

Kherson Area

The Ukrainian armed forces lost up to 30 servicemen and 2 automobile vehicles in the Kherson area, the Defense ministry reported.

"On the Kherson area, actions of the Russian battlegroup and complex fire damage over the past 24 hours resulted in Ukrainian armed forces’ casualties of 30 servicemen and 2 automobile vehicles," the Ministry noted.

Seversk area

A Grad multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) of the South battlegroup destroyed a group of Ukrainian infantry and disrupted a rotation at frontline positions in the Seversk direction, the Defense Ministry said.

"Air reconnaissance exposed accumulations of Ukrainian personnel preparing to rotate in the Seversk direction. The Grad MLRS advanced to the firing position and delivered a strike at the adversary," it said.

The MLRS then abandoned the position and drove to a safe area for reloading, it added.

Destroyed equipment tally

The Russian Air Defense Troops shot down two HIMARS rockets and 30 Ukrainian drones over the past day, the Defense Ministry reported.

"The Russian Air Defense Troops downed two HIMARS rockets. In addition, 30 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed near Masyutovka of the Kharkov Region, Baranikovka, Lisichansk, Nikolayevka of the Lugansk People's Republic, Otradovka of the Donetsk People's Republic, Novaya Kakhovka and Alyoshki of the Kherson Region," the statement said.

The Ministry also said that since the beginning of the special military operation, Russian forces destroyed 568 aircraft, 265 helicopters, 11,863 drones, 462 anti-aircraft missile systems, 14,927 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 1,217 multiple rocket launchers, 7,973 field artillery and mortars, as well as 18,283 units of special military vehicles.



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