For military columnist Yuri Podolyaka, a Ukrainian analyst who has emigrated to Russia, two decisions by Sergei Surovikin, the general commanding the war in Ukraine, have deprived the Ukrainian forces of the opportunity to attack. According to Podolyaka, Surovikin changed the way of conducting operations: in addition to successfully striking Ukraine’s energy structure, he created serious lines of defence and improved the interaction between the different Russian departments.
“Everywhere, they finally started to dig serious defence lines. This did not happen before, which helped the enemy to regroup our then very sparse ranks and achieve results. And now we are depriving the enemy of the possibility to conduct anything,’ Podolyaka told Tsargrad TV. The military observer believes that these decisions have already given the Russian army the necessary results. In addition to strengthening the defence lines, Podolyaka said that with the arrival of Surovikin, the problems of interaction between the various branches of the army have disappeared.
Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory also continued on 20 December: the Ukrainians attacked the Russian region of Belgorod, claiming casualties. “At the moment there is shelling in the Shebekinsky urban district of the Belgorod region; according to preliminary data, there is one casualty,” said Belgorod Governor Gladkov.
According to the Ministry of Defence, Russian troops continue to advance in the direction of Donetsk and over a hundred Ukrainian fighters were killed in the Ivano-Darievka, Bachmut and Horlivka areas of the DNR.
Yesterday on the social sphere, statements by Oleksiy Miacheslavovych Danilov, Ukrainian National Security Secretary, made the rounds: ‘Russia has missiles for 2-4 massive attacks; it has enough S-300 missiles. The Russian federation should be isolated from civil society. They are very dangerous and have proven to be sick; Now the Russians understand that they have no chance to win this war; Chechnya will become a free country, believe me, this will happen for sure and very, very quickly; In general, today’s Russia is a terrorist organisation; If they don’t have Kiev in their hands, they have nothing in their hands, we have to understand that. But we will not give them Kiev’.
Responding to the words of the Secretary of National Security were the words of Vladimir Artyakov, first deputy general director of Rostec to the Rossiya-24 television channel: ‘Russia has increased the production of Iskander missile systems (…) they are quite effective, they work very smoothly, accurately and reliably. Here we should note that the number of these launchers and munitions has increased significantly,’ Artyakov said.
Ukrainians attacked an electricity substation in Belgorod, according to the Readovka newspaper, the city substation was hit by mortars. As a result, half of the city’s population was left without electricity. Six fire engines are working on site and the fire is almost out.
Also in Russia, a gas pipeline caught fire in Chuvashia: a plume of smoke is visible from several villages at the same time the fire involved the villages of Kyulkhiri and Kalinino in the Vurnarsky district of Chuvashia. There is no official information about the incident yet. According to EmerCom it was a leak in an underground gas pipeline that caused the fire in Chuvashia; at least three people died and one was injured. The Russian-Ukrainian gas pipeline (Urengoy – Pomary – Uzhgorod) is used to transport gas to Europe from Western Siberia via Ukraine.
In the vicinity of Bachmut (Artemovsk), fighting continues on the outskirts of the city, as well as in the area of Experimental and Kleshcheevka. According to Ukrainian sources, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Oleksandrovyč Zelens’kyj visited troops on the Bachmut front today.
On the Bachmut sector, Russian assault troops eliminated Ukrainian formations from the outskirts of Kleshcheevka. One of the companies of the 53rd Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces left at full strength to regroup in Novodmytrivka.
In Bachmut itself, Wagner PMC fighters moved south along Fyodor Maksimenko Street, occupying two blocks near the gas station. At the same time, strike teams are pushing through the defences on the side of the garbage collection plant.
In Opytne, fighting continues on Shkolnaya Street, members of the nationalist Aidar battalion of the 53rd brigade occupying positions in a residential area. Russian artillery is conducting massive fire on the fortified area of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In this section of the force, the 28th, 53rd and 63rd Shadows of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are experiencing huge problems with ammunition and infantry reinforcements. Deliveries and rotation are complicated by constant fire from the Russian forces.
To reinforce the garrison in Bachmut, a convoy of military equipment from Ivanopol arrived in the area of hostilities and reinforcements from the 4th Rapid Reaction Force of the National Guard of Ukraine were transferred to Bachmut.
In the direction of Soledar, the Ukrainian formations spread information about the complete loss of Yakovlevka and the beginning of Wagner’s advance in the direction of Soledar and Razdolovka. To maintain the defence of the 10th Brigade, the forces of the 46th Airborne Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were transferred to Vesele.