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Putin the Monster: Russia Hits Ukraine With A Massive Missile Strike

U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, fire a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a truck mounted multiple-rocket launcher system, during exercise Steel Knight at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 13, 2012. The battalion conducted this historic live-fire exercise, simultaneously utilizing HIMARS, M777 Lightweight Howitzer and Expeditionary Fire Support System. This is the first time all three artillery weapons systems were fired during the same exercise. (DoD photo by LCpl Joseph Scanlan, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

Two days before the year ends, the Russian military launched its largest missile attack against Ukraine

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On day 310 of the conflict, the Russian military attacked cities and critical infrastructure all across Ukraine with more than 120 ballistic and cruise missiles and suicide drones.

The Russian military attacked cities and critical infrastructure all across Ukraine. 

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 105,250 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 283 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 268 attack and transport helicopters, 3,026 tanks, 2,010 artillery pieces, 6,059 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 423 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,683 vehicles and fuel tanks, 211 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,740 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 180 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 711 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Another Day, More Incoming Missiles

Over the past 24 hours, the Russian military launched another barrage of missiles and drones against Ukrainian urban centers and critical infrastructure.

According to Ukrainian officials, this was the single biggest missile attack since the war began more than ten months ago.

The office of the Ukrainian presidency stated that the Russian military launched more than 120 ballistic and cruise missiles against Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv were all hit. 

The missile attack is likely a response to the Ukrainian drone strike against Engels Air Base, where the Russian Aerospace Forces keep a considerable number of its strategic nuclear bombers. 

The Ukrainian military’s air defenses intercepted dozens of missiles, but the ones that got through wreaked havoc on the Ukrainian energy grid. According to Ukrainian officials, 40 percent of Kyiv is without power, while 90 percent of Lviv, a town close to the Polish border, is going through a power outage. 

Moscow continues with its strategy of using missile attacks to target the Ukrainian energy grid and force Kyiv to make concessions. Since early October, Russia has launched more than 1,000 missiles against Ukraine. 

Possible Change of Command

In its latest intelligence estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense assessed that the Russian military would be holding further changes of command in its senior commands. 

“Lieutenant General Yevgeniy Nikiforov is likely in the process of taking over command of Russia’s Western Group of Forces (WGF) in Ukraine. He would be at least the fourth commander of the formation since the invasion, and replaces Colonel General Sergei Kuzovlev, who was appointed just three months ago,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

Nikiforov was the chief of staff of the Russian military’s Eastern Group of Forces (EGF) during the first stages of the war. As such, he would have direct involvement in the failure to capture Kyiv. His possible appointment, thus, isn’t necessarily a good thing for the Russian forces. But Moscow is also running out of senior commanders to appoint.

“WGF is almost certainly currently tasked with holding Russia’s right flank, the area of Luhansk Oblast around Kremina and Svatove. As either side could plausibly attempt an offensive in this sector, Nikiforov assumes an important operational role in the conflict. The continued churn of senior Russian officers probably reflects internal divisions regarding the Russian Ministry of Defence’s future conduct of the war,” the British Military Intelligence added.

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Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.