Ukraine downs 22 of 33 Russian attack drones launched overnight
Ukrainian forces successfully intercepted and downed 22 out of the 33 Shahed-type attack drones launched by Russia overnight, as reported by the Air Force on its official Telegram page on January 18.
The drones were launched from Primorsko-Akhtarsk in southern Russia, off the coast of the Sea of Azov, and the Kursk region, according to the Air Force. Additionally, at least two S-300 missiles, originating from Russia's Belgorod Oblast, were launched with Kharkiv Oblast as their target.
The primary focus of the drone attacks was on Ukraine's northern and southern oblasts.
To counter the air attack, anti-aircraft missile units and mobile firing groups were deployed successfully. The downed drones were reported over Sumy, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, and Khmelnytskyi oblasts.
Notably, at least four of the 22 downed drones fell over northeastern Sumy Oblast, causing damage to a warehouse and several trucks.
Biden convenes Congress leaders to push case for passing Ukraine funding
U.S. President Joe Biden convened with Congressional leaders on January 17 to address Ukraine and the unblocking of U.S. aid funding, as announced by the White House press service.
Congress has been at an impasse since autumn 2023 regarding a supplemental funding bill, which included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine. In December, Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked the initiative, insisting that further military aid should be contingent on significant domestic border changes.
The White House statement noted, "President Biden underscored the importance of Congress ensuring Ukraine has the resources it needs–including air defense and artillery capabilities–to defend itself against Russia’s brutal invasion."
Biden urged Congress to allocate additional funding for Ukraine, emphasizing the high cost of inaction for Ukraine, the U.S., and the NATO alliance. The president committed to a bipartisan agreement on border policy and the need for additional resources at the border.
However, many Republican Congress members insist on addressing border policy demands before committing to additional aid for Ukraine, according to CNN, citing U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
While the meeting was described as productive by the U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson and Schumer, they emphasized that the border issue must be a top priority.
Biden had previously signed a $250 million aid package for Ukraine on December 27, encompassing ammunition for anti-aircraft warfare, multiple launch rocket systems, artillery, anti-tank mines, and more.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced on January 17 that the Senate could anticipate a new Ukraine security package, coupled with border policy considerations, as early as the next week.
Russia has modernized its x-101 missiles
Ukraine's military intelligence agency spokesperson, Vadym Skibitskyi, has stated that Russia's military has upgraded its x-101 cruise missiles, making them significantly different from those used in 2022. Skibitskyi mentioned that the modernized missile is equipped with advanced features, including an electronic warfare system, protection mechanisms, thermal traps, and more.
The x-101 is a strategic air-launched cruise missile with a range of up to 5,000 kilometers, employed by Russian forces to target Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure.
Skibitskyi emphasized the rapid learning curve of Russian forces and rejected the notion of Ukraine adopting a passive defense strategy. He stressed the importance of developing air defense capabilities, nurturing the military production industry for tangible outcomes, and implementing counteroffensive measures to prevent territorial losses, citing the lessons learned from 2023.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has outlined a key goal for Ukraine in 2024 to increase the production capacity of the defense industry by six times. This indicates the country's commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities in the face of evolving threats.
Russians attacked apartment building in Orikhiv
The information you provided indicates that Russian occupiers carried out airstrikes on Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, targeting both non-residential buildings and a multi-story residential building. Yurii Malashko, the Head of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration, reported the attack on Telegram, mentioning that the assault involved six airstrikes and destroyed an entire entrance of the multi-story building. The incident underscores the ongoing conflict and the impact on civilian infrastructure in the region.