Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia was planning to call up more troops for a major new offensive, even as Moscow was facing some of its biggest internal criticism of the war over a strike that killed scores of fresh conscripts.
* Russia’s defence ministry said 89 servicemen were killed on New Year’s Eve in a Ukrainian attack on a barracks in Makiivka in a Moscow-controlled part of the Donetsk region, up from an earlier estimate of 63. Some Russian pro-war bloggers and Ukraine have suggested the death toll is much higher.
* The Russian Defence Ministry pinned the blame for the strike on soldiers it said had been illegally using mobile phones, which it said led Ukraine to locate the Makiivka base.
* The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russia had launched seven missile strikes, 18 air strikes and more than 85 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems in the past 24 hours on civilian infrastructure in three cities, Kramatorsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
* A little known patriotic group claiming to support widows of Russian soldiers has called on President Vladimir Putin to order a large-scale mobilisation of millions of men and to close Russia’s borders to prevent them fleeing conscription.
* Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol in Crimea, said on Wednesday on the Telegram messaging app that air defence systems had shot down two drones near the Belbek military airfield.
* Combing the battlefields of eastern Ukraine, volunteers have made it their mission to search for bodies of fallen soldiers and return them to families.
* Putin plans to talk to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, the Kremlin spokesman was quoted as saying.
* Germany is looking for further ways to help Ukraine to protect its people and infrastructure, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, stressing that any dip in Europe’s resolve on the issue would serve as a boon to Moscow.
“We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can round up to try to turn the tide of the war and at least delay their defeat,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.