HERE IS THE SITUATION ON SATURDAY 5 JAN 2024. (681 DAY)
White House Confirms Russia’s Use of North Korean Missiles in Ukraine
The White House has confirmed that Russia is employing North Korean ballistic missiles and launchers to target Ukraine. These missiles, with a range of approximately 900km, were launched in two attacks over the past week, according to national security council spokesperson John Kirby.
This development has sparked calls for support from Ukraine’s western allies, including Germany, to provide missiles like Taurus capable of delivering comparable long-range strikes, enabling Ukraine to target strategic Russian locations.
The United States and its allies plan to address this matter at the UN Security Council, as it represents a violation of UN sanctions against North Korea. Kirby emphasizes that this marks a “significant and concerning escalation” in North Korea’s support for Russia. Britain strongly condemns Russia’s use of North Korean missiles, describing it as “symptomatic of Russia’s isolation on the world stage and a sign of its desperation.”
In a separate move, Russia is reportedly considering purchasing short-range ballistic missiles from Iran, a move that could bolster Moscow’s capability to target Ukraine’s infrastructure, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing US officials.
On the ground, Ukraine initiated an attack on a Russian military unit near Yevpatoria in Russian-occupied Crimea. Ukrainian air force commander Mykola Oleshchuk expressed gratitude on Telegram, acknowledging the effectiveness of the operation. Russia’s defense ministry, in response, claims to have successfully intercepted Ukrainian missiles over the peninsula. The situation continues to evolve amid rising tensions between the two nations.
Amidst the intensifying conflict, Ukraine’s military intelligence agency released a video suggesting a Russian Su-34 fighter jet ablaze at an airbase within Russia. The agency refrained from claiming sabotage, stating that the causes of the plane’s ignition are under investigation.
Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, along with the international criminal court, visited sites impacted by Russia’s attacks on civilian infrastructure in the Kharkiv region. This move underscores efforts to document and address the consequences of the conflict.
Tragically, a Russian missile strike in Kyiv last week claimed 32 lives, marking the deadliest attack on the Ukrainian capital since the war began. The toll emphasizes the severity of the ongoing hostilities.
In the cyber realm, Russian hackers infiltrated Ukrainian telecom company Kyivstar’s system since May last year, serving as a stark warning, according to Ukraine’s cyber spy chief, Illia Vitiuk. Vitiuk disclosed details about the hack in an interview with Reuters, emphasizing the need for heightened cybersecurity measures.
Polish farmers resumed protests, blockading the Medyka border crossing with Ukraine. Their demonstration seeks government subsidies for corn and opposes tax increases, reflecting broader economic concerns.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg plans to convene a meeting between NATO diplomats and Ukrainian officials on January 10 in response to the recent surge in heavy Russian airstrikes. The meeting underscores the alliance’s commitment to addressing the evolving situation.
A Russian missile strike on Kropyvnytskyi in central Ukraine resulted in one civilian death and eight injuries, causing significant damage to energy company buildings and disrupting power and water supplies, as reported by the regional governor.
In a controversial move, Vladimir Putin issued a decree allowing foreign nationals fighting for Russia in Ukraine and their families to obtain Russian citizenship. This decision adds a diplomatic layer to the multifaceted conflict.
Lastly, the plight of seventeen Ukrainian journalists imprisoned in occupied territories gained international attention. They were added to the international list of persecuted journalists, with their release demanded by the European Federation of Journalists, highlighting concerns for press freedom in the region.