Update 39: Russia’s war with Ukraine

Russia carried out two mass rocket attacks on Ukraine on 14 January, destroying an apartment block in Dnipro and leaving at least 14 people dead and 64 injured, at least a dozen of them children. At least one person was also killed in a separate strike on a residential area in the nearby city of Kryvyi Rih. Ukrainian authorities said the targets were the country’s energy infrastructure. Russia’s campaign of airstrikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure has continued into the New Year and largely consists of air- and maritime-launched cruise missiles but has also included Iranian-provided drones.

Some of the heaviest fighting of the war has been taking place in Bakhmut and Soledar in the eastern Donbas region, where Russian forces have been trying to advance since early summer. Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the president of Ukraine, likened the fight for Soledar to ‘Verdun for 21st century’. Mick Ryan, a strategist and recently retired Australian Army major general, has suggested that five factors will shape the Russia-Ukraine war in 2023: the husbanding of ammunition and the capacity of the West to increase defence production; the ability of Ukraine and Russia to mobilise, train and deploy its troops; the willingness of the West to provide more sophisticated ground and air offensive capabilities to Ukraine; the willingness of China to remain "neutral" in this war; and the strategic leadership of presidents Zelenskyy, Putin and Biden — and their ability to sustain the will of their people.

Read more in the attached pdf on: Ukraine’s relationship with NATO; the two-day Russian unilateral ‘ceasefire’; the Ukrainian attack on a Russian military base in Donetsk; cooperation between Belarus and Russia; stalled diplomacy; Western military and financial assistance to Ukraine; the humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict; the risk of nuclear weapon use; investigations into alleged war crimes; sanctions against Russia; international food security and Ukrainian grain exports; energy security in Europe; the position of China; developments in Russia; and developments within NATO.

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