Russians hit 4 regions of Ukraine with missiles: 4 people killed, 33 more injured

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In a tragic turn of events, at least four people have lost their lives, and 33 others have sustained injuries following a Russian missile attack on Ukraine on the morning of January 8. The information comes from Ihor Klymenko, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Oleksii Kuleba, Deputy Head of the President's Office, sharing Telegram updates.

According to Minister Klymenko, Russian occupiers launched missile attacks on four regions of Ukraine, resulting in one confirmed fatality and several injuries. In Zaporizhzhia, rescue efforts are underway in six locations where missiles struck residential areas, causing injuries and damage. In Novomoskovsk, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a blast wave overturned a minibus, leading to injuries and property damage.

Tragically, in the Kryvyi Rih district, a private home was destroyed, resulting in one fatality. Another home in Kryvyi Rih city collapsed, with three individuals possibly trapped under the debris. Additionally, a shopping center was damaged in the attack.

Kharkiv experienced at least four missile strikes, causing damage to an industrial facility and an educational institution, with one reported injury. The town of Zmiiv witnessed a residential building destruction, with ongoing search and rescue efforts to find potentially trapped individuals.

Multiple explosions were reported in Khmelnytskyi Oblast, and rescue workers and police are actively addressing the situation. Deputy Head Kuleba later confirmed that, as of the latest update, 33 people have been injured, and two lives have been lost due to the missile attacks.

A particularly devastating update came from the recovery of a woman's body from the rubble in Zmiiv, Kharkiv Oblast. The Khmelnytskyi Oblast Military Administration also reported a second casualty in the region.

The extent of the human toll and the widespread damage underscore the severity of the situation, with Ukrainian authorities continuing to assess and respond to the aftermath of these tragic events. The international community closely watches as Ukraine faces the consequences of the missile attacks, and the toll on civilians continues to rise.

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SMERSH unit revived in Russia 

In late 2023, Russian politicians announced the re-establishment of the Soviet counterintelligence unit SMERSH, with photos of operatives wearing SMERSH uniform patches surfacing in open sources in early January, according to a UK Defence Intelligence update dated 8 January, as reported by European Pravda.

SMERSH, an acronym for the Russian phrase "Death to spies," was originally founded by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and operated from 1941 to 1946. The UK Defence Intelligence report highlights the uncertainty surrounding the implications of resurrecting SMERSH, raising questions about potential changes in capabilities or roles within Russian counterintelligence or if it is simply a rebranding effort.

The update underscores that the revival of SMERSH is another instance of Russian authorities framing the Russia-Ukraine conflict within the context of the Second World War. There is a notable focus on the perceived infiltration of external threats into the country, reflecting a strategic narrative that aligns with historical wartime ideologies.

The re-establishment of SMERSH and its symbolic connection to the Second World War adds a layer of historical context to the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The move suggests a deliberate effort by Russian authorities to draw parallels between contemporary geopolitical conflicts and historical events, shaping the narrative around external threats and reinforcing a wartime mindset.

Details of the Russian morning missile attack

Ukraine's Air Force and Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, provide details on a large-scale attack launched by Russian occupiers on the night of January 7-8. The information sheds light on the types of weaponry used and the scale of Ukrainian defenses.

According to Ukraine's Air Force, Russian forces deployed a total of 59 aerial weapons, including a combination of missiles and Shahed attack drones. In a commendable display of defense, Ukrainian forces successfully shot down 18 missiles and all eight Shahed drones.

The statement from Ukraine's Air Force emphasizes the success of the defenders of the sky in destroying eight Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs and 18 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles. It notes that not all enemy missiles that were not intercepted reached their intended targets.

The Russian attack involved a variety of weaponry and targeted critical infrastructure, industrial sites, as well as civilian and military facilities across different oblasts of Ukraine. The details of the assault include:

  • 8 Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs launched from the area of Primorsko-Akhtarsk (Russia).
  • 7 S-300/S-400 anti-aircraft guided missiles launched from Russia's Belgorod Oblast.
  • 4 Kh-47M2 Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles launched from four MiG-31K aircraft, originating from Ryazan and Tambov, Russia.
  • 24 Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55 cruise missiles launched from 11 Tu-95MS strategic bombers, launched from Engels, Russia.
  • 8 Kh-22 cruise missiles launched from Tu-22M3 bombers, originating from Russia's Belgorod Oblast.
  • 6 Iskander-M ballistic missiles launched from Dzhankoi and Chauda in Crimea.
  • 2 Kh-31P guided missiles from tactical aircraft, launched from Russia's Belgorod Oblast.

Significantly, the Russians targeted specific oblasts, including Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Khmelnytskyi, demonstrating a widespread and coordinated attack on various regions of Ukraine. The use of diverse and sophisticated weaponry underscores the severity and complexity of the conflict, with Ukrainian forces working diligently to defend against the onslaught.