While Russian President Putin is being criticized for his New Year’s speech, Wagner boss and Kremlin critic Prigozhin is getting more and more praise for his performances. After days of drone approaches to Ukrainian cities, the air defenses of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula fought Ukrainian drones on Monday evening. what happened in the night

While Putin is criticized for the New Year’s speech, the Wagner boss is getting more and more praise

While the criticism of Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s speech is great, the praise for the performances by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is all the greater. Former militia commander and prominent Russian military blogger Igor Girkin drew a direct comparison between Putin and Prigozhin. Girkin wrote that he would not comment on Putin’s speech, but that Prigozhin decided to fight bureaucracy and corruption and gave a sensational New Year’s speech.

The trigger for the debate: Several Russian military bloggers on social media criticized the fact that Putin used background actors during his speech instead of standing with real soldiers. In contrast, others praised Prigozhin for a series of performances with real Russian soldiers on the fronts in Ukraine on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

During his performances, Prigozhin continued to take a clear stand against the Kremlin: among other things, he told a reporter who wondered why the relatives of the Wagner soldiers did not receive the bodies of their deceased soldiers that the Wagner forces even looked after the dead on New Year’s Day while the Russian government, which was supposed to issue death certificates, “has [rested] since the beginning of the war.” Prigozhin had previously complained that Russian authorities refuse to bury Wagner mercenaries in Russian military cemeteries, ISW has reported .

Air defense in Russian-occupied Crimea fends off drones

After days of approaches by unmanned missiles to Ukrainian cities, the air defenses of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula fought Ukrainian drones on Monday evening. According to a report by the Russian state agency TASS, two flying robots were shot down over the strategically important port of Sevastopol. “Our air defense continued to repel the attacks,” Moscow-appointed governor Mikhail Rasvozhayev was quoted as saying. The information provided by both sides could not be independently verified.

Sevastopol is the main base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The port has been the target of Ukrainian drone attacks on several occasions, most recently on December 30. In October, the Ukrainian military used drone boats loaded with explosives against the Russian fleet near Sevastopol. There are conflicting statements from both sides about their effect.

In view of the repeated drone attacks on Ukrainian cities in recent days, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns against a war of attrition against Russia. The Russian side obviously wants to wear down the people of Ukraine and their defenders in the long run, said Zelenskyj in his daily video address on Monday evening. According to the Ukrainian air defense, it is said to have fended off all 80 drones since the beginning of the year.

Expert: Russian drone strikes deliberately at night

According to an expert, the Russian attacks with “kamikaze drones” are deliberately flown at night and along the Dnipro River. “Obviously, not everything is visible in the sky at night,” Colonel Vladislav Zelesnyov told Ukraine’s RBK-Ukraina agency on Monday. The flight route from the south along the Dnipro was also chosen in order to avoid the Ukrainian air defenses if possible.

What does the day bring?

Rescue work continues after the attack on a Russian army barracks in the occupied town of Makiivka in eastern Ukraine. The Russian side has so far officially confirmed the death of 63 soldiers, while the Ukrainian military claims 400 men were killed in the attack on New Year’s Eve.