Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (30.09.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

In 100 days, 13,835 investigations to search for missing persons have been launched, said Oleg Kotenko, the Commissioner for Issues of Persons Disappeared Under Special Circumstances. 539 bodies from non-controlled [by Ukraine] territories and 2,026 from combat zones were found and returned. Some of those, who their relatives report missing, eventually get in touch; this concerns 1,308 civilians and 965 military personnel. Also, 163 people were found in captivity and released. There are currently 4,390 people who are missing. Kotenko emphasized that the exact number of missing persons cannot be established until Ukraine returns control over all territories.

On the morning of September 30, Russian troops hit the outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia with 16 S-300 rockets. A civilian caravan planning to go to the occupied territory to pick up evacuees and bring humanitarian aid was hit. At 11:30 a.m., the Prosecutor general’s office reported that 25 people had died and about 50 people were injured. By the end of the day, the number grew to 30 dead, including 2 children, and 90 injured. October 1 has been declared a day of mourning in Zaporizhzhia and Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

On the night of September 30, the Russian forces attacked the residential area of Mykolaiv with two rockets; one of them hit a 9-story residential complex. At least eight people were injured as a result, Vitaliy Kim, the head of the Mykolaiv Oblast Administration, said. A woman was freed from under the rubble.

As a result of the attack by Russian “Iskanders” on the Dnipro on the night of September 30, at least one person died, and five more were injured, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Military Administration Valentyn Reznichenko said. The city-owned transport enterprise was also destroyed, 52 buses burned during the fire caused by the Russian strike, and another 98 were damaged.

According to the head of Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, Oleh Synehubov, it will be impossible to repair the central heating system in the recently liberated Izyum as there is a vast pit from an explosion at the site where the local heating plant used to be. According to his data, 15,000 residents still remain in the city.

Ukraine does not exchange those Russian prisoners of war who refuse to return to the territory of the Russian Federation, Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Coordination HQ for the Issues of Prisoners of War, said. If a [Russian] serviceman wants to return to his country, the mark is made in his records that he was captured during hostilities. Yusov said this is done to ensure the Russian POWs avoid punishment for voluntary surrender after returning home.

Occupied territories

“By attempting to annex Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, Putin tries to grab territories he doesn’t even physically control on the ground. Nothing changes for

Ukraine: we continue liberating our land and our people, restoring our territorial integrity,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

Aleksey Katerinichev, the Russia-appointed first deputy head of the pro-Russian Kherson Oblast administration for security issues, died during a missile attack by the Ukrainian armed forces on Kherson, Russian media reported. Aleksey Katerinichev had worked in the “administration” for 1.5 months. Before that, he served in the border troops, the FSB and the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

In Tokarivka, Kherson Oblast, the [Russian] occupiers are threatening local residents with eviction and deportation outside the occupied territories if they do not receive Russian passports by October 1, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported. In Kherson, the occupiers evicted the residents of several hostels to free up space for the servicemen of the Russian occupying forces, who arrived in the city as reinforcement in this direction.

In Mariupol, teachers are threatened with dismissal if they refuse to exchange their Ukrainian passport for a Russian one, and other residents are allowed to keep their Ukrainian passport upon receiving a Russian one, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said.

More than 1,000 residents of the occupied Crimea fleeing mobilization have already arrived on the territory of Kazakhstan, and their number is growing, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov said. He noted that most Crimeans in Kazakhstan are already experiencing difficulties because they have no money or shelter. They also do not know how to get to Ukraine. Therefore, Chubarov believes an interagency working group to help Crimeans who left the occupied peninsula due to illegal mobilization should be formed.

Operational situation

It is the 219th 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, maintaining control over the captured territories, and disrupting the intensive actions of the Ukrainian troops in certain directions. It fires at the positions of the Ukrainian troops along the contact line, tries to recapture lost positions, and continuously conducts aerial reconnaissance. It inflicts strikes on civilian infrastructure and residential buildings, violating the norms of international humanitarian law and the laws and customs of war.

Over the past day, the Russian military launched 5 missile strikes and 11 air strikes and carried out more than 100 MLRS attacks on military and civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine. Almost 50 Ukrainian towns and villages were affected by the Russian strikes. Among them are Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv, Nikopol, Voznesensk, Pavlivka, Vysokopillya, Bilohirka and Myrne. The border settlements of Senkivka and Sosnivka of Chernihiv Oblast and Novovasylivka and Pavlivka of Sumy Oblast were shelled.

On September 21, the Republic of Belarus began checking its airfield network’s means of radio technical support. This may indirectly indicate that the Russian Armed Forces could use Belarusian airfields. The rotation of the aviation units at the joint training center of the Russian and Belarus Air Force and Air Defense Forces took place. Three of the four available Su-30m multi- purpose fighters were replaced. The threat of missile and air strikes from the territory and airspace of the Republic of Belarus persists.

The Ukrainian Air Force carried out 29 strikes during the day to support the ground groupings, destroying six enemy strongholds, twenty weapon and military equipment concentration areas, and three Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. In addition, air defense units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down seven UAVs, particularly five Iranian-made ones, one Mi-8 helicopter, and a Su-25 attack aircraft.

Over the past day, Ukrainian missile forces and artillery hit five enemy command and control posts, fifteen areas of manpower, weapons and military equipment concentration, six ammunition depots and fuel warehouses, one anti-aircraft missile complex and eight other important enemy targets.

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

Kharkiv direction
  • Zolochiv-Balakleya section: approximate length of combat line – 147 km, number of BTGs of the RF 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 Russian military continued to fire tanks, mortars and barrel artillery in the areas of Petropavlivka and Kurylivka.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have entered Pidlyman on Oskol; intense fighting is going on between the center of this village and Shaykivka.

The Ukrainian defense forces liberated Shandryholove, Ridkodub, Katerynivka, Nove, Zelena Dolyna, and Kolodyazi. However, on the morning of September 30, the Russian troops counterattacked Kolodyazi from the area of Nevske and Terny.

The Russian command threw all available reserves into the Svatove area and from there on to Kopanky, Proletarske, and Olhivka. All these forces are reservists without any training. They are also poorly equipped but numerous.

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 Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian Defense Forces with tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Bogorodychne, Blakytni Ozera, Shchurove, Dibrova and Ozerne.

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 Russian military fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Verkhnokamyanske, Vyimka, Spirne, Vesele, Bilohorivka, Yakovlika, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Odradivka, Zaitseve, Pivnichne, Mayorsk, Tonenke, Avdiivka, Netaylove, Pervomaiske, Opytne, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka.

Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas around Zaitseve, Mayorsk, Vesela Dolyna, Bakhmutske, Odradivka, Kurdyumivka, New York, Pervomaiske and Bezimenne.

In the village of Bakhmutivka, Luhansk Oblast, an attack on the Russian concentration area killed more than fifty servicemen and destroyed seventeen units of Russian equipment.

Zaporizhzhia 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 Russian military did not conduct active offensive actions. However, shelling from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery was recorded in the areas of Novopil, Prechystivka, Vuhledar, Pavlivka, Mykilske, Zaliznychne, Zeleny Hai, Dorozhnyanka and Novoukrayinka.

In Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, up to fifty Russian servicemen were injured, and ten pieces of weapons and military equipment were destroyed. In the Hulyaipilske district, up to forty Russian servicemen were injured. In Melitopol, a command and control post and an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system were destroyed, and more than fifty Russian occupiers were wounded.

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. In Kherson, the occupiers evicted the residents of several hostels to free up space for the servicemen of the Russian occupying forces, who arrived to reinforce units in this direction.

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 50 villages along the contact line were shelled, in particular, Arkhanhelske, Bilousove, Sukhy Stavok, Shyroke, Bezimenne, Kvitneve, Ivanivka, Zorya, Olhyne, Lymany, Blahodatne, Pravdyne, Myrne, and Oleksandrivka.

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.

Due to the weather conditions, there are currently 6 enemy warships on a mission in the Black Sea, conducting reconnaissance and controlling navigation in the Azov-Black Sea waters. Up to 24 Kalibr missiles are ready for a salvo on three carriers: one 1135.6 frigate and two Buyan-M missile corvettes. In general, the current activity of the maritime groups of the Russian Federation is characterized by low intensity. This is probably because some ships, aircraft and C2 bodies (including part of the Black Sea Fleet HQ) were transferred to Novorossiysk; and the “partial mobilization” activities.

In the Sea of Azov, the Russian military continues to control sea communications, keeping up to 6 ships and boats on combat duty.

During the day, the following vessels passed through the Kerch-Yenikal Strait the in the interests of the Russian Federation:

  • to the Sea of Azov – 37 vessels, of which 11 vessels moved from the Bosphorus Strait;
  • to the Black Sea – 31 vessels, of which 9 vessels continued their movement in the direction of the Bosphorus Strait.

All 4 submarines of project 636.3 that are currently in the Black Sea are at the port of Novorossiysk.

Russian aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Over the past day, 14 Su-27, Su-30, and Su-24 aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved.

No signs of the formation of amphibious groups for marine landings were detected. Amphibious ships are at their bases in Novorossiysk and Sevastopol.

The Russian forces continue to carry out intensive missile and artillery and air strikes on the objects of the civil and military infrastructure of the seaports of Ukraine. On the night of September 30, the Russian military used the S-300 air defense system on Mykolaiv. Also, the Russian forces renewed attacks by Iranian “Shahid-136” kamikaze drones: two on Odesa (both drones were shot down by air defense) and five on Mykolaiv (3 drones were shot down by air defense).

“Grain initiative”: in two months, 238 ships with 5.5 million tons of agricultural products left the unblocked Black Sea ports, of which 3.7 million tons in September. Such results turned out to be better than expected. Currently, the sea routes ensure the export of more than half of Ukrainian agricultural products abroad. According to the September results, farmers will reach the pre-war figure of 6 million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products exported per month. Almost half of the

5.7 million tons of agricultural products shipped in two months by sea is corn, and another third is wheat. Sunflower oil takes the third position.

Meanwhile, monthly steel exports from Ukraine have fallen by 77% since the start of the full- scale war due to the blockade of seaports. Ukraine used to export 1.27 million tons of ferrous metals per month. During the war, this indicator decreased to 0.29 million tons (only by rail transport). The extension of the grain corridor to ferrous metallurgy products is not being discussed yet. At the same time, insufficient export of ore and metal products will significantly weaken the Ukrainian economy. Before the Russian invasion, 97% of pig iron exports and 76% of niche steel exports from Ukraine were transported by sea, and the rest by rail.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 30.09

Personnel – almost 59,080 people (+500);

Tanks 2,338 (+13);

Armored combat vehicles – 4,932 (+23);

Artillery systems – 1,391 (+6);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 333 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 176 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 3,768 (+17); Aircraft – 264 (+2);

Helicopters – 225 (+1);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,003 (+8); Intercepted cruise missiles – 241 (0);

Boats / ships – 15 (0).

International diplomatic aspect

Announcements of Vladimir Putin’s annexation speech were overrated. There are few new thoughts a political scientist can make from his speech. Putin reached his limits in creating his parallel universe where he holds the moral height, owns the monopoly on historical truth and leads non-western nations. He has repeated all his bizarre accusations that Ukraine and the West are harming Russia.

The primary target audience is a domestic one. Putin has played all his cards based on conspiracy theories, historical myths, and various phobias. He painted Russia as both a victim of the devious West throughout millennia and a resolved and self-assured nation that has never been subjugated and now, under his leadership, is restoring its great power status by its right. He justified the annexation of Ukrainian territories because of “the neo-Nazi coup d’etat” and aggressive Western policies. He did it because the US “wanted to remain a hegemon” and “exploit other nations,” and the westerners were “attempting to kill Russian philosophers.” He claimed that the United States “until now, actually occupy Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other countries, and at the same time cynically call them equal allies.”

Despite of how eclectic and out of touch is Putin’s worldview, there are three points from his lengthy monolog that should be underlined.

  • “The West defends the rules-based order. Where did they come from? Who even saw these rules? Who agreed? Listen, this is just some kind of nonsense, complete deception, double or even triple standards! It is designed simply for fools,” he said. The all-out Russian invasion and the illegal annexation are blatant violations of norms and principles of international law per se. Up to the moment, he has been misusing and manipulating international law and multilateral institutions. From now on, Russia overtly rejects the idea that the rules-based order binds it.
  • Secondly, he called on Zelenskiy to stop fighting and “return” to negotiations by accepting the loss of the annexed territories.
  • Thirdly, he reiterated his nuclear blackmail by warning that Russia “will protect our land with all the forces and means available to us and will do everything to ensure the safe life of our people.” He doubled down the threat, blaming the US, which has set a precedent by being the “only country in the world that used nuclear weapons twice, destroying the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” It sounds like both demonizing the United States, Russia’s archenemy, and opening a possibility for the “second,” not the first, use of the ultimate weapon.

The pompous farce received an adequate response from Ukraine and the Free world. “Obviously, it’s impossible to deal with this Russian President. He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another President of Russia,” replied to the unacceptable ultimatum Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that the decision on Ukraine’s refusal to negotiate with the Russian Federation while Russian dictator Vladimir Putin remains in power was unanimously adopted at today’s National Security Council meeting.

The Polish President rightfully summarized that “today’s desperate and pathetic action by the Kremlin is a defeat for those who naively believed in a compromise with Russia.”

“Only the path of strengthening Ukraine and expelling the occupiers from our entire territory will bring peace back,” said Zelensky. The President announced that Ukraine is submitting a formal

application for accelerated accession to NATO. The Baltic nations and Poland support the move, while the US believes that at this moment, it’s better to focus on the situation on the ground.

The illegal annexation was condemned and rejected by the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, the EU as an institution, and by European nations on their own. The US, EU, United Kingdom, and Canada announced a new wave of sanctions. The US imposed visa restrictions on 910 individuals, including members of the Russian Federation military, Belarusian military officials, and Russia’s proxies. One hundred nine additional State Duma members, 169 members of the Federation Council, and more members of Russia’s government, including the Governor of the Central Bank, were blacklisted. In addition to that, 57 entities located in Russia and the Crimea region of Ukraine were sanctioned.

The US Congress approved a short-term spending package that would keep the government open through mid-December and secure about $12.3 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine.

The Pentagon will set up a new command in Germany aimed at pulling together the threads of its training and assistance program for the Ukrainian army. The new command would oversee the Ukrainian troops training programs and coordinate technical support centers, like those involved in repairing weapons provided by the US and other countries.

The UN Security Council voted on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s illegal annexation of yet another set of Ukrainian territories. Russia vetoed it. “We are tired of repeating it again and again. Allowing Russia to avail itself of the right of the Soviet Union to veto decisions of the Security Council effectively prevents this body from exercising its primary responsibility under the UN Charter – maintenance of international peace and security,” Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN highlighted the destructive role of Russia.

China, Brazil, Gabon, and India abstained. The US tried hard to convince China and India to vote “aye,” highlighting that whatever relations with Russia they have, the principle of territorial integrity is sacred. Now, the draft will go to the UN General Assembly. Without a doubt, it will be adopted by the majority of nations.

In the meantime, the intrigue remains in a number of “ayes” and “noes.” For example, only ten “friends” of Russia (Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, DPRK, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela) voted against the UN General Assembly’s resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine after the illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014. One hundred nations supported the resolutions, while fifty-eight abstained.

Russia, relevant news

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which foreigners who have signed contracts for military service in the Russian Armed Forces will be granted Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure.

The Japanese government has banned the export of 73 types of chemicals to Russia in connection with the decision approved on September 26 to impose a ban on the supply of goods related to the production of chemical weapons to the Russian Federation.

Commenting on the possibility of negotiations with Ukrainian President Zelensky, press secretary of the Russian President Dmitriy Peskov said that Kyiv has left the negotiation track. Moscow’s demands, however, do not change, so the “special military operation” will be continued, Russian media reported. Peskov also said that Moscow would regard possible Ukrainian strikes on the territories that will “become part of the Russian Federation” as an act of aggression against Russia.

As of September 23–25, the level of anxiety among the respondents in Russia was almost 70% which is two times higher than a week before, researchers of the Public Opinion Foundation said. Only 26% of those surveyed in the latest survey said they feel calm. However, 57% of respondents chose this option just a week before.

In Krasnodar, the rapper known as Walkie committed suicide due to mobilization on September

30. 27-year-old Ivan Petunin from Krasnodar recorded a suicide note in which he stated that after the announcement of mobilization, Russians had only three options left: prison, the army, and suicide.

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