Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (22.09.22) | CDS comments on key events

Download in PDF

Humanitarian aspect:

As of the morning of September 22, 2022, more than 1,158 Ukrainian children are victims of full-scale armed aggression by the Russian Federation, Prosecutor General’s Office reports. The official number of children who have died and been wounded in the course of the Russian aggression is 391, and more than 767 children, respectively. However, the data is not conclusive since data collection continues in the areas of active hostilities, temporarily occupied areas, and liberated territories.

As reported yesterday, 215 Ukrainian heroes were returned from Russian captivity in the largest POW exchange. 200 Ukrainian defenders were released in exchange for Ukrainian politician and Putin’s ally, Viktor Medvedchuk, who is accused of treason in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities claim that during the last months, law enforcement officers received all possible information from Medvedchuk about the actions he was accused of. The head of the Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, noted that the Federal Security Service [of Russia] needed Medvedchuk [for exchange] because he is the person through whom they directly provided financing of many intelligence networks here [in Ukraine].

Five senior officers from among the defenders of Mariupol were exchanged for 55 Russian prisoners of war. The Russian authorities have not officially commented on the exchange.

Five released “Azovstal” defenders, Serhiy Volynsky, Svyatoslav Palamar, Denys Prokopenko, Oleh Khomenko, and Denys Shlega, will remain in Turkey until the end of the war. As President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said, they will stay in complete safety, in comfortable conditions, and under the personal protection of the President of Turkey. Furthermore, according to Zelensky, they will be provided with the opportunity to see their families.

Yesterday evening, the occupiers shelled the Kyivsky district of Kharkiv, 7 garages on the territory of the garage cooperative were destroyed. Due to enemy shelling in the Kupyansky district of Kharkiv Oblast, five people were injured, including a 13-year-old boy; his condition is serious. Another wounded is reported in the Kharkiv district, said the head of the Military Administration, Oleh Synehubov. In the Chuhuiv district, as a result of an enemy missile attack, the upper lock of the Pechenizka dam was damaged. Also, eight people were blown up at land mines in the Chuhuiv district of the Kharkiv region; unfortunately, four of them died, reported the Main Directorate of the National Police in the Kharkiv Oblast.

This morning, Russian troops heavily shelled Zaporizhzhya. The enemy hit infrastructure facilities in Zaporizhzhya – 1 person was reported killed and five wounded. Residential buildings, a hotel in the central park (people remain under the rubble), and a TV tower are damaged.

In Donetsk Oblast, on September 21, 5 civilians were killed by Russian shelling: 2 – in Kurakhove, 1 – in Bakhmut, 1 – in Avdiivka, and 1 – in Karlivka. Another 12 people were injured.

At night, the Russians shelled Mykolaiv again. High-rise buildings, gas and water pipelines, cinema and theater courtyards, and administrative buildings were damaged.

In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, around midnight, the Russians shelled Nikopol with “Hrads” – 1 person was reported killed. In the city, 17 high-rise and private buildings, gas pipeline and power lines, two hospitals, a school, a football field, a local history museum, administrative buildings, several shops, and a market were damaged. In addition, a two-story building caught fire in Kryvyi Rih due to an enemy kamikaze drone attack. Rescuers extinguished the fire.

Occupied territories

At the pseudo-referendum of the so-called DPR, minors from 13 to 17 years of age will be allowed to vote, enabling Russian occupation authorities to “expand the electoral base,” SBU said based on intercepted documents. Pseudo-referenda are planned in the so-called “DPR” and “LPR ” and the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhya and Kherson Oblast. Voting in the occupied territories is planned to be held from September 23 to 27.

The legitimate mayor of occupied Melitopol recorded a video address to the local residents, urging men of the conscription age to leave the occupied territories to avoid forced mobilization.

Operational situation

It is the 211th day of the strategic air-ground offensive operation of the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine (in the official terminology of the Russian Federation – “operation to protect Donbas”). The enemy continues to concentrate its efforts on establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk Oblast, organizing defense and maintaining control over the captured territories, and disrupting intensive actions of the Ukrainian troops in certain directions.

The enemy fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces along the contact line. The Russian military takes measures to regroup troops and constantly conducts aerial reconnaissance.

Over the past 24 hours, the enemy has launched 8 missile and 16 air strikes and carried out 115 MLRS shelling of military and civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine, violating the norms of international humanitarian law, the laws and customs of warfare. The infrastructure of more than 40 towns and villages, including Siversk, Maryinka, Vesele, Neskuchne, Yehorivka, Bezimenne, Biloghirka, Myrolyubivka, Visokopilya, Senkivka, and Huta-Studenetska of the Chernihiv Oblast were damaged as a result of the strikes by Russian troops. The threat of air and missile strikes remains on the entire territory of Ukraine.

Violation of the norms of International Humanitarian Law and customs of warfare remains the norm of the behavior of Russian servicemen in the temporarily occupied territories. Thus, in the Svativ district, in order to hide the engineering equipment, the Russian occupiers forcibly evicted the residents of Honcharivka and Kuzmenivka from their homes and moved them deep into the

temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk Oblast. In Mykolaiv Oblast, the Russian military seized milk trucks from territorial communities and used them to deliver fuel to the war zone covertly.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces Aviation made 41 strikes on enemy positions, damaging 21 manpower and military equipment concentration areas, 4 enemy strongholds, and 15 positions of anti-aircraft missile systems.

Over the past day, Ukrainian missile forces and artillery inflicted fire damage on 24 enemy objects, in particular, on four command and control points of various levels, four areas of concentration of personnel, weapons, and military equipment, and seven ammunition and fuel depots. In addition, four enemy air defense facilities and artillery were in the affected areas.

The morale and psychological state of the personnel of the invasion forces remain low.

Kharkiv direction
  • Zolochiv-Balakleya section: approximate length of combat line – 147 km, number of BTGs of theRF Armed Forces – 10-12, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 13.3 km;
  • Deployed enemy BTGs: 26th, 153rd, and 197th tank regiments, 245th motorized rifle regiment of the 47th tank division, 6th and 239th tank regiments, 228th motorized rifle regiment of the 90th tank division, 1st motorized rifle regiment, 1st tank regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division, 25th and 138th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 6th Combined Arms Army, 27th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st Tank Army, 275th and 280th motorized rifle regiments, 11th tank regiment of the 18th motorized rifle division of the 11 Army Corps, 7th motorized rifle regiment of the 11th Army Corps, 80th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 14th Army Corps, 2nd and 45th separate SOF brigades of the Airborne Forces, 1st Army Corps of so-called DPR, PMCs.

The enemy shelled the positions of Ukrainian troops with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Strilecha, Hlyboke, Morokhovets, Gatyshche, Vovchansk, Kamianka, Kupyansk, and Osykove.

Kramatorsk direction
  • Balakleya Siversk section: approximate length of the combat line – 184 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 17-20, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 9.6 km;
  • 252nd and 752nd motorized rifle regiments of the 3rd motorized rifle division, 1st, 13th, and 12th tank regiments, 423rd motorized rifle regiment of the 4th tank division, 201st military base, 15th, 21st, 30th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 2nd Combined Arms Army, 35th, 55th and 74th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 41st Combined Arms Army, 3rd and 14th separate SOF brigades, 2nd and 4th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 2nd Army Corps, 7th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st Army Corps, PMCs.

The enemy shelled the Ukrainian Defense Forces with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Sloviansk, Koroviy Yar, Bohorodychne, Oleksandrivka, Yarova, Pryshyb, Dibrova, Donetske, and Raihorodok.

Donetsk direction
  • Siversk – Maryinka section: approximate length of the combat line – 235 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 13-15, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 17 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 68th and 163rd tank regiments, 102nd and 103rd motorized rifle regiments of the 150 motorized rifle division, 80th tank regiment of the 90th tank division, 35th, 55th, and 74th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 41st Combined Arms Army, 31st separate airborne assault brigade, 61st separate marines brigade of the Joint Strategic Command “Northern Fleet,” 336th separate marines brigade, 24th separate SOF brigade, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 15th, and 100th separate motorized rifle brigades, 9th and 11th separate motorized rifle regiment of the 1st Army Corps of the so-called DPR, 6th motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd Army Corps of the so-called LPR, PMCs.

The enemy fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Mykolaivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Rozdolivka, Yakovlivka, Bilohorivka, Mayorsk, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Kamianka, Opytne, Maryinka, and Vodyane.

Over the past day, Ukrainian troops repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Zaitseve, Odradivka, and Novomykhailivka.

Zaporizhzhya direction
  • Maryinka – Vasylivka section: approximate length of the line of combat – 200 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 17, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 11.7 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 36th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 29th Combined Arms Army, 38th and 64th separate motorized rifle brigades, 69th separate cover brigade of the 35th Combined Arms Army, 5th separate tank brigade, 37 separate motorized rifle brigade of the 36th Combined Arms Army, 135th, 429th, 503rd and 693rd motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 70th, 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 136th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 58 Combined Arms Army, 46th and 49th machine gun artillery regiments of the 18th machine gun artillery division of the 68th Army Corps, 39th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 68th Army Corps, 83th separate airborne assault brigade, 40th and 155th separate marines brigades, 22nd separate SOF brigade, 1st Army Corps of the so-called DPR, and 2nd Army Corps of the so-called LPR, PMCs.

The enemy fired with artillery at about 16 towns and villages, including Vuhledar, Prechystivka, Hulyaipilske, Neskuchne, Vremivka, and Novopil.

The operational deployment of troops of the 41st Combined Arms Army in the Mariupol direction continues. Up to two BTGs from the 74th and 35th separate motorized rifle brigades have already concentrated in the starting area, and the BTG of the 55th separate motorized rifle brigade has started moving.

The Russian command’s decision to strengthen the Melitopol and Mariupol indicates its attention to the maintenance of the land corridor to the Republic of Crimea, even at the expense of other directions.

The 19th and 42nd motorized rifle divisions of the 58th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District are already conducting combat operations in this direction. Three BTGs of the 150th motorized rifle division of the 8th Combined Arms Army are deployed in Maryanka-Velyka Novosilka, two BTGs of the 5th separate tank brigade and 37th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 36th and 29th Combined Arms Army are in the area of Volnovakha.

A week before the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region, the enemy command also moved two BTGs of the 127th motorized rifle division of the 5th Combined Arms Army of the Eastern Military District to this direction.

In addition to the above, in the Melitopol and Mariupol directions, there are enemy tactical formations of the 22nd separate SOF brigade, 810th separate marines brigade, three tactical groups of the “operational component” of the Russian Guard, a combined group of the 1st Army Corps of the so-called “People’s Militia of DPR” (mainly from units of the artillery brigade “Kalmius” in almost full strength and at least two rifle battalions of the mobilization reserve of the 1st Army Corps), up to two PMC assault battalions (PMC “Redut” participation is confirmed).

The available information makes us assume that the Russian command is concentrating grouping with forces of up to 18-20 BTGs and continues to increase it in the Zaporizhzhya and Pokrovsky- Malomykhailovsky directions in the section from Kamianske to Volodymyrivka.

Additional enemy BTG from the 78th special forces regiment “Akhmat-North” was deployed to the defense line of the 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division of the 58th Combined Arms Army. Two battalions of the 1st Army Corps and a combined tactical group of the 150th motorized rifle division of the 8th Combined Arms Army took active action in the area of Maryinka and south of it. They are trying to outflank the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces defending Vuhledar and break through to Kurakhovo from the south and east.

In the areas of Polohy and Nesteryanka, units of the first echelon from the 29th or 36th Combined Arms Armies were deployed to the first line of defense in Kopany and Novoprokopivka (to be confirmed).

Kherson direction
  • Vasylivka–Nova Zburyivka and Stanislav section: approximate length of the battle line – 252 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 27, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 9.3 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 114th, 143rd, and 394th motorized rifle regiments, 218th tank regiment of the 127th motorized rifle division of the 5th Combined Arms Army, 57th and 60th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 5th Combined Arms Army, 135th, 503rd and 693rd motorized rifle regiments of the 19th motorized rifle division, 70th, 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division, 51st and 137th parachute airborne regiments of the 106th parachute airborne division, 7th military base of the 49th Combined Arms Army, 16th and 346th separate SOF brigades.

There is no change in the operational situation.

Kherson-Berislav bridgehead
  • Velyka Lepetikha – Oleksandrivka section: approximate length of the battle line – 250 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 22, the average width of the combat area of one BTG –11.8 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 108th Air assault regiment, 171st separate airborne assault brigade of the 7th Air assault division, 4th military base of the 58th Combined Arms Army, 429th motorized rifle regiment of the 19th motorized rifle division, 33rd and 255th motorized rifle regiments of the 20th motorized rifle division, 34th, and 205th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 49th Combined Arms Army, 224th, 237th and 239th Air assault regiments of the 76th Air assault division, 217th and 331 Air assault regiments of the 98th Air assault division, 126th separate coastal defense brigade, 127th separate ranger brigade, 11th separate airborne assault brigade, 10th separate SOF brigade, PMC.

More than 25 towns and villages along the contact line were shelled. The enemy made more than

30 sorties of UAVs to conduct reconnaissance, adjust fire and launch strikes on civilian infrastructure objects.

Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:

The forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet continue to project force on the coast and the continental part of Ukraine and control the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The ultimate goal is to deprive Ukraine of access to the sea and connect unrecognized Transnistria with the Russian Federation by land through the coast of the Black and Azov seas.

After the storm in the Black Sea ended, the number of enemy ships at sea significantly increased. Currently, there are 14 warships at sea providing reconnaissance and blocking navigation in the Azov-Black Sea waters. Among them are three cruise missile carriers: two project 1135.6 frigates and one Buyan-M missile corvette. Up to 24 Kalibr missiles can be ready for a salvo.

Due to the intensification of stormy weather on the coast of the Odesa Oblast, the danger of mines remains.

One of the two submarines of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which has remained in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the war (Turkey did not let it into the Black Sea due to the requirements of the Montreux Convention), went to the bases of the Baltic fleet for repairs. It has been confirmed that all four submarines of project 636.3, which are in the Black Sea, have moved to the port of Novorossiysk due to fears of attacks.

Enemy rocket and artillery attacks at Odesa, Mykolaiv, and Ochakiv resumed. The enemy uses cruise missiles, S-300 air defense systems, anti-aircraft missiles, and artillery. On September 21, the port of Ochakiv was fired upon by two Iranian-made kamikaze drones. A very loud flight sound characterizes drones. In fact, the drone can first be heard and then seen. The best means of countermeasures is to mask positions and defense objects.

On September 22, from 00:16 to 00:22, Mykolaiv was subjected to massive enemy missile fire from the S-300 air defense system. As a result, the seaport area was hit; the resort of the state enterprise “Zorya-Mashproekt” (oil depot area), the Mykolaiv Art Drama Theater building, and residential buildings were damaged.

Enemy aviation continues to fly from Crimean airfields Belbek and Gvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Over the past day, 13 enemy Su-27, Su-30, and Su-24 aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved. The Russian Federation is intensifying aviation use in the south of Ukraine and the Black Sea.

In the area of Sevastopol, enemy forces and means of air defense were repeatedly activated. At night, flights of unidentified lethal aircraft were recorded over the southern coast of Crimea.

On the Omega beach near the entrance to the Sevastopol naval base, an unidentified unmanned reconnaissance craft was found, which sailed unhindered to the Crimean coast.

The domestic political situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has undergone certain changes over the past day inciting informational hysteria about the introduction of the so-called “partial mobilization measures.”

The so-called “governor” of Sevastopol Razvozhaev personally headed the conscription commission, which would deal with partial mobilization in the city. He stated, “there could be no other solution when there is a real threat of the destruction of our country.” Because of the “partial mobilization” announced in Russia, panic is spreading on the peninsula. There are actually no people willing to fight. Local residents call Putin’s initiative “the beginning of the end.” Calls to mobilize people from the “LPR/DPR” and the children of officials are spreading.

At the same time, oppression and persecution of Ukrainian citizens [remaining in Crimea] continue, including through illegal court actions.

“Grain initiative”: the fourth UN-chartered vessel left with Ukrainian wheat for Afghanistan. On September 22, the bulk carrier BC VANESSA, chartered by the UN World Food Program (WFP), left Odesa port with 30,000 tons of wheat on board. The bulker will arrive at a port in Pakistan, where the grain will be unloaded and delivered to the people of Afghanistan. Currently, the population of this country is suffering from a food crisis. BC VANESSA is one of the seven ships that today took out 107.5 thousand tons of agricultural products for the countries of Asia and Europe from the ports of Great Odesa.

Since the start of the implementation of the “grain initiative,” 192 vessels have departed from Ukrainian ports. In total, 4.38 million tons of agricultural products were exported to the countries of Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 22.09

Personnel – almost 55,510 people (+400);

Tanks – 2,236 (+9);

Armored combat vehicles – 4,776 (+28);

Artillery systems – 1,341 (+1);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 318 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 169 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 3,630 (+20); Aircraft – 253 (0);

Helicopters – 218 (+1);

UAV operational and tactical level – 941 (+9); Intercepted cruise missiles – 241 (+1);

Boats / ships – 15 (0).

Ukraine, general news

The World Bank invested in Ukraine for the first time since the beginning of the war. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is part of the structure of the World Bank, has allocated $30 million for investments in Ukraine and Moldova, the Ministry of Economy reports.

The President created a working group that would create a tribunal for the crimes of the [Russian] occupiers. Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President, was appointed as head, and Andriy Smirnov, deputy head of the Presidential Office, as coordinator.

International diplomatic aspect

There was a sigh of relief in Ukraine, as 215 Ukrainian and several foreign heroic defenders of Mariupol were released under the swap agreement negotiated with the mediation of Turkey and Saudi Arabia. However, while Ukrainians celebrated the return of their worriers, there was a massive outcry among the Russian ultra-nationalists. Paradoxically, Russians disregard their people who were released, while Ukrainians discount those given to Russia, namely Viktor Medvedchuk, a long-term Russian influencer in Ukrainian politics and economy.

“Every [UN Security] council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” Antony Blinken told the foreign ministers at the UN Security Council meeting. “We, of course, are attentive to managing escalation in this conflict. We believe that we have been able to navigate those two basic lines [support of Ukraine and avoidance of a direct clash between the US and Russia] for the last several months, and nothing about what’s happened in the last 24 hours changes either the President’s conviction to stick with Ukraine as long as it takes or for us to pay close attention to all the various scenarios that could unfold including escalation scenarios, and we are planning against those… We are

sending very clear and strong messages to Russia about the consequences of escalation,” said a senior Administration official about the POTUS meetings at the UN.

“I pledge that we will sustain or increase our military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes… We will not rest until Ukraine prevails,” said the UK Prime Minister.

Any threat from the Russian President to use nuclear weapons is “unacceptable.” Still, Germany will continue to support Ukraine and try to prevent an escalation in the war between Russia and Ukraine, the German Chancellor told ARD television.

“The references to nuclear weapons do not shake our determination, resolve, and unity to stand by Ukraine and our comprehensive support to Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty as long as it takes… We will continue supporting its efforts through the provision of military equipment as long as necessary,” the EU stated in response to Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling.

Whether Vladimir Putin succeeded in deterring the West from stepping up its support for Ukraine with more capable weapons (ATACMS and MBTs alike) remains to be seen but politically, he was condemned. Yet, at the same time, Ukraine was assured of support for “as long as it takes.”

“As with Crimea, it’s imperative that every member of this council, and for that matter, every member of the UN, reject the sham referenda and unequivocally declare that all Ukrainian territory is and will remain part of Ukraine, and no Russian claim to annex territory can take away Ukraine’s right to defend its own land,” said the US Secretary of State.

The EU condemned the Kremlin’s plans to hold illegal “referenda” and consequently annex parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhya regions. Russia’s actions in Ukraine were called a threat to peace and security in Europe and worldwide. The EU and its Member States will never recognize these areas as anything but a part of Ukraine.

Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov reacted to “the partial mobilization” announced by Putin: “They are drafting additional cannon fodder. It’s the latest funeral campaign that Putin has announced.” He said, “I carefully read Putin’s whole order. They are mobilizing everyone.” And he is right. There was a covert mobilization before, and contrary to promises and in violation of law, Putin sent to the war conscripts. So, in this logic and translation from the Orwellian language, the so-called partial mobilization means a total one, at least those the military commissariats will be able to capture.

While some Russians went on the streets to protest mobilization (not the war itself), the others set to run. Meduza, a Russian liberal media, even published an article with a list of countries to escape: “Where to escape from Russia right now.” It’s reported that tickets to countries that do not require a visa were almost immediately sold out, with prices to some destinations like Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan reportedly hitting €2,000 bar. Social media is full of videos
showing long queues to cross the border with neighboring countries. While the Baltic states de facto closed their borders for almost all Russians, Finland is considering imposing more restrictions. “Political asylum is granted to those who are persecuted for their beliefs” or other similar reasons, said the Lithuanian Minister of Defence. Kazakhstan warns that it won’t issue permanent residence permits to Russian citizens without Russian authorities’ permission. In the meantime, Germany is prepared to accept Russian deserters under certain circumstances. “As a rule, deserters threatened by severe repression receive international protection in Germany,” said the country’s Interior Minister.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020 and are involved in security studies, defence policy research and advocacy. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war.

We publish this brief daily. If you would like to subscribe, please send us an email to cds.dailybrief@gmail.com

Please note, that we subscribe only verified persons and can decline or cancel the subscription at our own discretion

We are independent, non-government, non-partisan and non-profit organisation. More at www.defence.org.ua

Our Twitter (in English) – https://twitter.com/defence_centre

Our Facebook (in Ukrainian) – https://www.facebook.com/cds.UA

Our brief is for information only and we verify our information to the best po