Government allocates record $466 million to fortifications
On January 19, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that the government has allocated approximately Hr 17.5 billion ($466 million) for the construction of fortifications, referring to it as a "record amount." This funding will be utilized for the construction of defensive structures and the purchase of necessary equipment and non-explosive barriers. The allocation is aimed at reinforcing defensive lines and addressing concerns raised about the slow progress of fortification efforts before winter. A working group was established in November to coordinate and accelerate fortification initiatives.
President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted Kharkiv Oblast's strong fortifications and expressed the goal of bringing other regions to the same standards. In response to questions about the timing of the decision, Zelensky mentioned ongoing efforts since the start of the full-scale war, emphasizing that the recent measure is intended to further enhance defenses.
Russia developing cheaper version of Shahed drones
According to Russian state-controlled media TASS, Russia is reportedly developing a more affordable version of the Iranian-made Shahed drone called the "Hawk." The information, attributed to the Russian military design bureau "Stratim," suggests that this drone will be less expensive than the Iranian Shahed drone, frequently used by Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. The Hawk is said to be constructed entirely from commercial components and is designed to function as a "pseudo-cruise missile" or a "decoy target" against Ukrainian air defense systems.
The reported specifications include a range of 350 kilometers and the capability to carry high-explosive warheads with a payload of 16 kilograms. The Russian bureau claims to be conducting flight tests, with plans to complete the drones in the first half of 2024. It's worth noting that Russia has employed Shahed drones in attacks against Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion in February 2022.
Kyivstar cyberattack cost telecommunications operator nearly $100 million
EON, the Dutch telecommunications operator and parent company of Kyivstar, a major Ukrainian mobile operator, disclosed a revenue loss of 3.6 billion hryvnias ($95 million) resulting from the large-scale cyberattack in December. The cyberattack targeted Kyivstar and Monobank, one of Ukraine's major banks. The financial impact assessment by VEON attributes the substantial loss to expenses associated with restoring services, replacing lost equipment, and compensating external consultants and partners. The cyberattack, claimed by the Russian hacker group Solntsepek, resulted in widespread internet and network outages, affecting individuals across Ukraine.
The financial impact assessment also notes the uncertainty regarding additional costs for further remediation measures for Kyivstar customers. Solntsepek has been linked to Russia's military intelligence agency and has previously engaged in hostile activities against Ukraine, including revealing personal details of Ukrainian soldiers.