January 4, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Kathleen Magramo, Jack Guy, Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes and Leinz Vales, CNN

Updated 6:58 p.m. ET, January 4, 2023
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7:28 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Ukrainian military claims another devastating hit on Russian troops

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv and Josh Pennington

Ukraine's military on Tuesday alleged another devastating attack on Russian troops had taken place.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said around 500 Russian troops were either killed or wounded in a hit near Chulakivka, a town in Ukraine's southern Kherson region, on New Year's Eve.

"The enemy continues to suffer losses. It was confirmed that on Dec. 31 Ukrainian Defense Forces hit an enemy troop and equipment stronghold near Chulakivka, Kherson region," the General Staff said. "Around 500 enemy troops were wounded and killed."

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces in the south, told Ukrainian television: "This is one of our achievements in this direction of the front." 

"There will be more because we identify the enemy's locations," she said of the alleged hit.

CNN cannot verify the Ukrainian claim. Moscow has not publicly commented on the Chulakivka claim. 

However, a widely read Russian war blogger known as "Operation Z" said in a Telegram post on Tuesday “there is no f***ing denying” that Ukraine is now targeting barracks and other Russian troop strongholds with HIMARS, a reference to High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. He included Chulakivka in his list of hits on Russian troops he said had taken place in December.

It comes after both Russian and Ukrainian authorities acknowledged a strike that took place just after midnight on New Year’s Day at a vocational school housing Russian conscripts in Makiivka, in the Donetsk region.

The Russian Defense Ministry says 89 servicemen were killed in the New Year’s Day strike, which would make it one of the deadliest single episodes of the war for Moscow’s forces.

7:25 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Russia keeps focus on Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukrainian military says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

Russian forces are continuing to focus efforts on offensive actions in the direction of Bakhmut in a bid to take full control over eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Tuesday.

“Russian occupiers do not abandon their plans to reach the administrative border of Donetsk region. The main efforts are focused on maintaining offensive potential and replenishing losses,” the General Staff said.

“Russian occupiers are making attempts to improve the tactical situation at the Lyman and Avdiivka directions, reinforce the grouping at the Novopavlivka direction at the expense of units redeployed from the Kherson direction.”

The General Staff said Russia continues to maintain a military presence in the border areas of Belarus and Russia, but there are “no signs of the formation of offensive groups.”

Tuesday’s situational update added Russia conducted eight air strikes and shelled Ukraine 18 times with multiple rocket launchers.

Some context on the city: For months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his advisers and generals have been calling the battles for Bakhmut “fierce” and “difficult.” The Russian advance on the city has left it in ruins but made it a symbol of Ukrainian resistance as it continues to hold on. Zelensky thrust the city onto the world stage as he discussed it during his speech in the US Capitol on Dec. 22, speaking about Bakhmut for six minutes.

7:21 p.m. ET, January 3, 2023

Warmer weather eases Ukraine's electricity demand

From CNN's Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

Unseasonably warm weather in Ukraine is easing demand on the country’s electricity grid, the state-owned electricity operator said Tuesday.

"Due to warm weather, consumption in Ukraine is reduced," Ukrenergo said on its official Facebook page.

“Power plants produce enough electricity to cover the load.

"In addition, due to clear weather in the morning and afternoon hours, the production of electricity by solar power plants is increased."

Nonetheless, Ukrenergo said power restrictions would need to be implemented again by Tuesday afternoon as demand increased through the day, and urged Ukrainians to “consume electricity wisely.”

"We do not forget about the enemy's goals to deprive Ukrainians of light and are ready to counteract it and restore the damage under any circumstances," the company said.

Russia has repeatedly targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure, disrupting the supply of electricity, water and heat in the country this winter.