New Year Strikes

As could have been predicted, both RU and UA used the widely celebrated holiday as an opportunity to hit as many servicemen as possible. While those strikes are highly cynical, they are also very practical, as people will gather together at known time (midnight) in large groups and probably consume large quantities of alcohol.

UA had a very successful attack on the New Year celebration, organized for a 14444 regiment of mobilized soldiers in Makeevka. On December 31/January 1 midnight six GMLRS rockets (one full load of M-142 HIMARS launcher) intended to strike the compound of Polytechnical University. According to some reports, two of the rockets were intercepted, while the remaining four reached their target. Two rockets intercepted probably means there was one air-defence systems defending the area (usually, shorter-range systems of legacy types have two fire channels, meaning they are able to engage two targets simultaneously). The compound where celebration was held also housed an ammunition stock for the entire regiment, it seems. After the ammunition depot was hit, it resulted in a very large explosion, leading to about 70 dead and 130 injured. The final numbers are still not known, since the rescue works continue. To summarize, about 200 soldiers were lost to a few rockets only because the incompetence of the Russian military command. Now, as usual, the MoD is trying to blame the victims, saying the reason was that soldiers used their mobile phones that revealed their position, and not the commanders who gathered hundreds of their soldiers in one place, adjusted to an ammunition depot and protected only by one (I assume) air-defence system. Since those kinds of attacks were not only expected but also undertaken by the Russian Military against Ukrainian troops, it is obvious the threat was simply ignored, leading to this tragedy.

On the other side, Russian MoD used the holiday to engage in long-ranged strikes as many Ukrainian soldiers as possible. The usual targets of those strikes, the electrical infrastructure, was largely ignored. We don’t have any real numbers for the Ukrainian loses, but it is possible they lost fewer troops in dozens of Russian strikes than the Russians lost in a single strike in Makeevka. Which shows that having more weapons isn’t enough, if commanders are incompetent, and political leadership is unwilling to make any changes in the General Staff, after almost a year of failures and debacles.

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