UPDATE ON THE SITUATION – Le Figaro summarizes the latest information from journalists, Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources and international organizations.
A Ukrainian attack with an unprecedented number of casualties on the Russian side, with 63 dead, announced by Moscow on Monday and a European Union-Ukraine summit announced in Kyiv in early February: Le Figaro moves this Tuesday, January 2, balance of the latest information related to the war in Ukraine.
EU-Ukraine summit planned in Kyiv
Ukraine and the European Union will hold a summit in Kyiv on February 3 to discuss financial and military assistance to Europe, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said in a statement Monday. The head of state discussed the details of this high-level meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during his first phone call of the year, the statement said.
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Leaders jointly discussed the delivery of “appropriate” weapons and the launch of the new €18 billion financial assistance program for Ukraine, approved by the European Parliament in December. The President of Ukraine insisted that an initial contribution would be paid to his country later in the month.
Last month, the European Parliament passed a package of laws to provide financial support to Ukraine, including introducing a minimum tax of 15% on multinational companies’ profits to combat tax evasion.
Moscow reports 63 dead in Ukrainian attack in Donbass
Russia on Monday acknowledged the deaths of 63 soldiers in Ukraine, killed during a strike in the separatist area in the east of the country near Donetsk. These are the heaviest casualties in a single Moscow-sanctioned attack since the invasion began.
The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed it carried out the strike on New Year’s Eve in Makiivka, a Russian-occupied town east of the separatist city of Donetsk. Earlier in the day, the Strategic Communications Department of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said nearly 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the attack.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missiles were fired from HIMARS systems, a weapon supplied by the United States to Ukrainian forces, which hit “a temporary Russian army operations center” in Makiivka.
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Intensification of Russian strikes throughout the New Year
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Monday that his army had shot down more than 80 drones since early 2023. “In the near future, that number could increase,” he said. The announcement of this strike comes after a New Year marked by Russian bombings of Kyiv and other cities that killed five and wounded dozens.
On Monday, Iran-made drones again shelled Kyiv. Ukrainian forces claimed most of them were shot. Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported an explosion in the north-east of the city.
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On Monday evening, Kharkiv region governor Oleg Synegoubov claimed that Ukraine’s second largest city and its region are again the target of Russian missiles. “Critical infrastructure was targeted,” he wrote.
Four loud explosions were heard by AFP journalists Monday night in the Kramatorsk region, the de facto administrative capital of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region. The Russian Defense Ministry said it used high-precision weapons in attacks near Kramatorsk and in the Kharkiv region and claimed to have killed “more than 70 foreign mercenaries”.
After a series of military setbacks on the ground and Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory and annexed Crimea, Moscow decided from October to bomb Ukraine’s infrastructure, causing regular power, heating and water cuts.