Last week (January 2–8) will be best remembered for a cascade of good news about the provision of weapons to Ukraine. In particular, Germany decided to transfer to Ukraine an additional battery of the Patriot air defense system. Instead, the United States, Germany, and France announced that they will transfer to Ukraine a little more than 400 units of various types of armored vehicles that can be used for a potential counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the spring of 2023. Commenting on these decisions, the representatives of Ukraine said that “the time for a taboo on weapons has passed,” and expressed the hope that later Western partners will also transfer tanks to Ukraine in order to continue to liberate the russia-occupied territories.

russia continues to look for ways to force Ukraine into negotiations and agree to territorial losses. To do this, they plan to offer a “Korean solution” for resolving the war. However, such proposals are not accepted in Kiev: Ukraine plans to return all the occupied territories, in particular the Crimean peninsula seized in 2014. Russia also announced a unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas holidays but violated it, immediately accusing Ukraine of escalation and unwillingness to peacefully resolve the conflict. This may indicate that the real purpose of this “truce” was not the cessation of hostilities but discrediting of Ukraine.

In January, Russia may announce a new wave of mobilization. This has been reported by the intelligence service at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Also, in order to placate the indignation of supporters of the “special operation” about the failures at the front, the Russian Ministry of Defense invented new “victories” that were refuted by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and  foreign journalists. They include, among other stories, a strike on the temporary deployment point of the Ukrainian military in Kramatorsk as “retaliation” for the destruction of several hundred Russian troops mobilized in Makiivka.

While the Russians are inventing their “gains”, Russian troops have not advanced significantly since the capture of Lysychansk in July, and the battle for Bakhmut and Soledar has become a true hell for the aggressor.

Ukraine will be supported as much as needed

The new year was marked for Ukraine by serious shifts in the supply of weapons. France, the United States, and Germany announced new military aid packages that include armored vehicles.

On Wednesday, January, 4, the President Emmanuel Macron of France announced the transfer to Ukraine of heavy armored personnel carriers AMX-10 R. They are also called “wheeled tanks”. Later, Volodymyr Zelensky also confirmed the supply of Bastion armored vehicles. The precise amount of equipment provided is currently unknown.

There was good news from Germany as well. According to the spokesman of the German government, Steffen Hebestreit, Berlin plans to deliver about 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and an additional battery of the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine in the next three months.

As usually, the largest package of assistance with a record value of more than $3 billion will be received from the United States. In particular, it will include 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 100 M113 armored personnel carriers, 55 mine-protected vehicles (MRAP), 138 HUMVEES armored vehicles, 18 self-propelled guns, Sea Sparrow missiles, and thousands units of ammunition. As a matter of fact, in the context of assistance, Joe Biden and Olaf Scholz  expressed “a shared determination to provide the as much as necessary support to Ukraine.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, called the new help from the allies a"cascade of good news", and added: "The time of the taboo on weapons has passed. We are entering a decisive phase. There can be only one goal: the victory of Ukraine. ” On the other hand, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, dmitriy medvedev, announced the sending into the Atlantic ocean of the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov”, armed with hypersonic missiles “Zircon”. The russian official called such actions “the main gift for the New Year that set out yesterday to the shores of NATO countries.” However, it is obvious that such russia's efforts are unlikely to intimidate anyone.

At the end of last week, according to Spiegel, it became known that the German government wants Ukraine to receive more Gepard anti-aircraft systems, and, therefore, they are negotiating with the two countries about it. Furthermore, Italy is discussing with France the sending of air defense systems to Ukraine, such as SAMP/T. Also on Friday, the chairman of the Bundestag's defense committee, Agnes Strak-Zimmermann, promised to make efforts to provide Ukraine with tanks: “We will not give up. After Marder, comes Leopard. ” Certainly, for now this is still under discussion but Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, refused to confirm or refute that Ukraine sent a request to receive German-made 2 Leopard tanks. However, until now, the provision to Ukraine of Western heavy weapons had not been in question at all. Therefore, as Volodymyr Zelensky said, new assistance from allies can be called “a new badly needed level of interaction with partners.”

russia continues to run out of their missile arsenal and stocks of Iranian-made drones. Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) say that the aggressor country had not galvanized their military industry to support the war in Ukraine. Certainly, the threat, especially to Ukraine's critical infrastructure, has not vanished but next year may indeed be a time for change, or a year of Ukrainian victory. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), Oleksiy Danilov, was highly optimistic to call 2023 “the beginning of an offensive war for Ukraine.”

The Russians can threaten Ukrainian allies as much as they wish with “retaliatory measures,” as the speaker of the state duma, vyacheslav volodin, does, or they may urge the world to “stop the military pumping of Kyiv”— and this is exactly what maria zakharova says, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the russian federation. However, the choice in favor of Ukraine's victory has already been made. And the next meeting of the Contact Group on Defense of Ukraine in the Ramstein format to be held on January, 20, 2023, should help in this. As of today, we know that the heads of defense departments of 50 countries will participate. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, has already said: "We have high hopes for new decisions on defense support from partners." Therefore, the first thing we expect from the new “Ramstein” is an increase in the pace and volume of arms supplies to Ukraine.

russia declares a Christmas truce and breaks it

russia does not stop trying to end the war against Ukraine by concluding a “peace” on their own terms. On January, 5, russian President, vladimir putin, told a Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a telephone conversation that the russian federation is open to dialogue on Ukraine but Kyiv should take into account the “new territorial reality.” In other words, Ukraine needs to accept the annexation of part of the territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson regions, as well as the peninsula of Crimea.

According to the NSDC Secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, as part of this strategy, the russians are going to offer Ukraine a solution for resolving the war, which involves the division of the country. "We are now being offered a Korean solution. The so-called provisional “parallel 38” (according to which North and South Korea were divided into two separate states — ed.). Here we have the proper Ukrainian people, but there we have improper Ukrainian people. The russians are going to invent whatever. I know for sure that one of the options they can offer us is the '38th Parallel', "the politician said in an interview on the national telethon.

Kyiv rejects any such proposals and says that they plan to return all the occupied territories. Ukraine sees a possibility for peace talks with russia only after they withdraws all their troops from all occupied territories, including from Crimea.

In the context of different visions for a possible peaceful end to the war, the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan (who presents himself as a mediator in this conflict) during a telephone conversation with putin, offered russia to back up their calls for peace and negotiations with a unilateral ceasefire and a "vision of a just solution".

putin listened to Erdogan but used his proposal to discredit Ukraine. Thus, on January, 5, putin instructed the head of the russian Ministry of Defense, sergei shoigu, to introduce a ceasefire along the entire contact line between the sides in Ukraine, from 12.00 on January, 6 to 24.00 on January, 7. As reported in the kremlin, putin called on the Ukrainian side to "declare a ceasefire and give Orthodox Christians the opportunity to attend church services on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day."

Only that putin seems to have forgotten that Ukrainian people cannot access religious sites because of the russian rocket and artillery attacks, drone attacks, and the war that russia started on Ukraine.

In Ukraine, russia's proposal has not found any support because they do not believe in the integrity of the russian initiative. "First. Ukraine does not attack foreign territory and does not kill civilians, like the russian federation does. Ukraine destroys only members of the occupation army on our territory. Second. The russian federation must leave the occupied territories - the "temporary truce" may only begin in that case. Keep the hypocrisy to yourselves...", adviser to the Head of the Office of the President, Mykhailo Podolyak, wrote on Twitter. 

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the NSDC, also called the russian initiative hypocritical. “What does a flock of little devil Iblies has to do with the Christian holiday of Christmas? Who will believe the wretches that kill children, shell maternity hospitals, and torture prisoners? Ceasefire? Lies and hypocrisy. We will crunch you in the melodious silence of the Ukrainian night, ” the politician wrote on Twitter.

The Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations stressed that a few months ago the representative of russia to the UN, polyansky, speaking at a meeting of the Security Council, rejected any Ukrainian proposals to cease fire. “Wait! Not so long ago, the sleazy polyanski [villainski] (here, he used a pun with the name  of the russian diplomat — ed.) said "no" to a ceasefire. Because it was supposed to buy some time 'to regroup the troops and receive a new batch of drones.' So now what? ... deliveries from Tehran are delayed and Putler's cook is late in supplying more mobilized cannon fodder?...  "- the diplomat wrote on his Facebook.

The russian proposal also received a skeptical response  from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Experts believe that putin does not expect Kyiv to implement the ceasefire suddenly announced by the russian federation, and may have called for a truce to present Ukraine as a state unwilling to reconcile. “The date of the russian Orthodox Christmas in 2023… has been known for centuries. If putin were serious about a religiously motivated ceasefire, he would have had plenty of time to prepare for it. The announcement of a ceasefire within 24 hours before it's effective date suggests that it was announced with the intention of exposing Ukrainian forces… as unwilling to work for peace…” the ISW believes.

It did not take long for the russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense to accuse Ukraine of not adhering to the ceasefire and being interested in escalation. At the same time, russia continued to conduct offensive operations and shell civilian infrastructure. This information was confirmed in the Ukrainian General Staff.

The ministry informed that on Saturday, January, 7, during the “ceasefire regime” declared by the kremlin, russian invaders continued to shell the positions of Ukrainian units from tanks, mortars, and artillery. In addition, it was reported that during the day the enemy struck 1 airstrike and carried out 7 MLRS⁠attacks. A similar situation also developed on January, 6, when russian troops shelled Kherson, Kurakhovo, and Kramatorsk.

Information that russia does not adhere to their own promises was also confirmed in the Pentagon. Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, said this at a briefing on January, 6.As for putin's statement on the ceasefire, I can tell you that today in Ukraine we are observing hostilities, even if it is formally a “window” of ceasefire, ”she said.

russia plans to mobilize more soldiers to compensate for failures at the front

Volodymyr Zelensky said he had sent to russia clear signals to end the war but the kremlin was sending people to slaughter. “The enemy is actually trying to move forward over the dead bodies but the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces are restraining the enemy offensive at the cost of extra effort,” the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhnyi described the front line section of Soledar-Bakhmut-Mayorsk.

Many russian soldiers are liquidated on the sites of their temporary deployment, far from the front line. A case in point was the strike at the place of temporary deployment of the russian military unit in the vicinity of the village of Makiivka on January, 1.

The losses were so tangible that they provoked indignation among supporters of the “special operation in Ukraine”. The Ministry of Defense of the russian federation had to react to the failure in some way, so they blamed it on the military themselves, who “massively used mobile phones, which made it possible to ping and determine the coordinates of the location of servicemen for the missile strike.”

However, in order not to look like absolute losers, the Ministry of Defense of the russian federation invented a story about the destruction in response of a large number of Western weapons, Ukrainian nationalists, and foreign mercenaries.

"The return fire destroyed the multiple rocket launcher used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces striking Makiivka. Also, as a result of missile and air strikes at the pileup of military equipment in the area of the railway station Druzhkivka in the Donetsk People's Republic, four more HIMARS⁠launchers, four combat vehicles MLRS RM-70 “Vampire”, more than 800 rockets to them, eight cars, as well as more than 200 Ukrainian nationalists and foreign mercenaries were destroyed, ”the Ministry of Defense of the russian federation informed.

"In addition, in the area of Maslivka, a temporary fort of a unit of the Foreign Legion was hit, where more than 130 foreign mercenaries were killed," the ministry added.

Destroying five HIMARS launchers in one day is probably a "great success", especially with no evidence and the White House's refutal of the fact that Ukraine had lost the rocket systems.

Obviously, russian Ministry of Defense was not entirely convincing, so they invented a “revenge operation”. As part of it, the russian military allegedly "discovered the points of temporary deployment of servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the city of Kramatorsk, launched a massive missile attack on January, 8, and destroyed 600 Ukrainian servicemen." This is not true, either, according to information refuted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and foreign journalists.

Internal conflicts are also brewing in the occupier's army. In particular, the head of a private military company, yevgenii prigozhin, is trying to shift the responsibility for the failures near Bakhmut to the Ministry of Defense of the russian federation.

Analysts of the Institute for the Study of War came to the following conclusions:"Wagner mercenaries told prigozhin that they were unable to break through the Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut due to a lack of armored vehicles, ammunition, and 100-mm shells. This statement is intended to absolve Wagner PMC⁠and prigozhin of personal responsibility, attributing their failure to seize Bakhmut to broader problems  of russian resource allocation the ISM⁠analysts claim.

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, did not ignore the failures of russian terrorists. “The enemy is already searching for anyone responsible for no success at Bakhmut. Our fortress is standing, and the swamp people are biting each other, " he commented.

Against the backdrop of all military failures, russia decided to mobilize even more of their citizens. “We have no doubt that the current masters of russia will throw everything they have left, and everyone who can be summoned to try to turn the situation in the war, and at least postpone their defeat,”  Volodymyr Zelensky said in one of his evening addresses.

“russia will not be able to silently hide their preparation for a new wave of aggression against Ukraine and the whole of Europe. The world will know in every detail how and when the aggressor is preparing a new escalation in this war. Every new mobilization step taken by russia will be known to the world even before russia makes it. We will ensure this, ”the President of Ukraine emphasized in another address.

russia's preparation for a new wave of mobilization is also confirmed by the intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, who report that the kremlin plans to mobilize another 500,000 troops in January and February. On the other hand, russia neither confirms nor denies the facts of mobilization preparations.

The public rhetoric of the politicians in the aggressor country focuses on preparing russians for the fact that the war will affect everyone. Thus, in the New Year's address, putin focused on justifying the war and the costs it entails. This  conclusion was reached by analysts of the Institute for the Study of War.

As to the head of the state duma of russia, vyacheslav volodin, he insists: the russians need to unite for a common victory. “The New year shall rely on the unity of our citizens, it should be a year of development, a year of common Victory. We all need to work more efficiently, each in their own area, to enable it as soon as possible, ” volodin said.

At the same time, leonid slutsky admitted that Ukraine is a sovereign state. He implied that russia does not encroach on this status but only protects its own. “The goal of the SMO⁠is to protect our citizens from the aggression of the Kyiv neo-Nazi regime, rather than to destroy Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly stated this, ”he said.