Key developments on Jan. 8:
- Russian mass attack against Ukraine kills 4, injures 45
- Military says Russia keeps 19,000 troops on Ukraine's northern border
- Russian troops reportedly drop bomb on settlement in occupied Luhansk Oblast
- Scholz criticizes EU for providing insufficient military aid to Ukraine
Russian troops launched another mass missile and drone attack against Ukraine on Jan. 8, killing at least four people and injuring 45.
Casualties and damages to civilian infrastructure were reported in Zaporizhzhia, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv oblasts.
Russia launched a total of 59 missiles and drones at Ukraine overnight and in the morning, the Air Force reported. Ukraine's air defenses shot down 18 cruise missiles and eight Shahed-136/131 drones.
Apart from the cruise missiles, Russian forces also used air-launched, ballistic, and anti-aircraft-guided missiles, according to the Air Force. However, according to the report, not all the Russian missiles that were not downed eventually managed to reach their targets.
"Critical infrastructure objects, as well as industrial, civilian, and military facilities, were under attack," the Air Force said.
Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said that Russia's attack damaged an enterprise, an educational institution in Kharkiv, and a house in the city of Zmiiv. A 63-year-old woman was killed there.
Two people were killed and two injured in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Governor Serhii Tiurin said.
"Furthermore, the search operation for another person, who, according to preliminary information, was supposed to be at the site and has lost contact, is still ongoing. We sincerely hope that he will be found unharmed," Tiurin wrote on Facebook.
The city of Zaporizhzhia was hit with five missiles, according to the local Governor Yurii Malashko, who said that the missiles hit a residential area.
"I was at the scenes of the morning attack. No military targets. Missile craters destroyed civilian cars and damaged buildings," he wrote on Telegram.
Russian troops also struck Kryvyi Rih and Novomoskovsk in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, killing a woman and wounding 31 other people, including four children, Governor Serhii Lysak reported.
"My condolences to their families! The terrorist state will definitely feel our response," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address.
Russia has recently intensified its attacks against Ukraine's cities and critical infrastructure as the temperatures dropped, echoing its strategy from last year.
Russian forces unleashed a large-scale air attack on Ukraine early on Jan. 2, targeting Kyiv, the surrounding region, and Kharkiv, killing six people and wounding at least 130.
Russian troops reportedly drop bomb on occupied Rubizhne in Luhansk Oblast
Russian military aircraft dropped an FAB-250 aerial bomb on occupied Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast, in an "emergency discharge," the Moscow-installed leader in the occupied region, Leonid Pasechnik, claimed on Telegram in the morning of Jan. 8.
According to Pasechnik, the incident occurred just as the aircraft was "on a combat mission."
His claim came several hours after Russia launched its latest mass attack on Ukraine.
There were no casualties, Pasechnik claimed, adding that residents of nearby houses, including two children, were evacuated. According to him, "experts were working on neutralizing the ammunition" as of 9 a.m.
This is not the first time Russian troops have dropped bombs on settlements under their control or in Russia itself while launching attacks on Ukraine.
Back then, the Russian Defense Ministry also claimed there were no casualties, but six private buildings were damaged.
Military says Russia keeps 19,000 troops on Ukraine's northern border
On Jan. 8, the spokesperson of Ukraine's northern forces, Yurii Povkh, said that Russia keeps a force of 19,000 soldiers on the borders with Ukraine's northern Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts.
However, Povkh said that the number "has not changed for several months, so there is no need to discuss signs of the enemy forming any strike groups."
The two northern oblasts were invaded by Russian troops at the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022 but were pushed back behind the borders in April of that year.
Povkh also said a contingent of this size could be used to secure the border but not to break through Ukrainian lines.
While not under the threat of a major offensive, the two regions regularly experience cross-border raids by Russian sabotage groups and shelling.
"Currently, we can say that the enemy is carrying out its harassing fire to a greater extent," Povkh said on television.
Ukrainian forces are maintaining control over the northern border and preventing the crossing of Russian sabotage groups, the spokesperson added.
Scholz criticizes EU for providing insufficient military aid to Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin on Jan. 8 that his country's military support for Ukraine is not enough to make up for the deficit from other EU countries.
"As significant as the German contribution is, it will not be enough to ensure Ukraine's security in the long run," Scholz said.
"Therefore, I call on allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts regarding Ukraine. The planned weapons deliveries to Ukraine of most EU member states are not enough."
Germany was widely criticized in the immediate aftermath of Russia's full-scale invasion for the country's sluggish and overly cautious approach to providing aid to Ukraine, considering its status as the EU's biggest economy.
It has since significantly increased its military support for Ukraine, becoming the second-largest provider of military aid behind the U.S.
In November, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that the EU would fall short of its goal of providing 1 million shells to Ukraine by March 2024.
However, despite Scholz's pressure on EU allies to increase military support, he has also set limits on Germany's own provisions to Ukraine, blocking the delivery of long-range Taurus missiles over fears that the move will draw Germany into the war.