Russian forces conducted a cruise missile strike against an object in Khmelnytskyi Oblast — reportedly a base of the Ukrainian 8th Separate Special Forces Regiment — on Dec. 31. A Russian military blogger said that the strike, "while well-executed and a good information operation, is too little too late," the Institute for the Study of War reported.
The blogger argued that Russia needed to "systematically conduct such strikes earlier on in the war," and that the strike "should have had follow-up strikes to ensure maximum damage." He reportedly noted that the timing of this strike was inopportune since Ukrainian elements were unlikely to be at the base on New Year’s Eve.
The think tank also notes that Russian sources responded lukewarmly to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s staged New Year’s address, while military bloggers lauded Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s appearances on the front lines over the New Year’s holidays. "These criticisms and a chain of Putin’s cancelled public appearances and meetings with ordinary citizens may show Putin as out of touch," the ISW found.