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CDS Daily brief (17.10.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

According to the Head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, another large-scale exchange of prisoners took place today. One hundred eight women, including 37 evacuees from Azovstal, 11 officers, 85 privates, and sergeants, were freed from captivity. Victoria Obidina, a doctor who was evacuated from Azovstal, was separated from her 4 y.o. daughter by the Russian military at the time of the evacuation. The mother was left at the “filtration” camp, and the daughter was taken to Zaporizhzhia, from where relatives later picked her up.

Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was attacked by four kamikaze drones this morning immediately after the end of the curfew. One of the drones hit a residential building in the city center not far from the central train station. At least four people were killed, including a young couple – husband and wife, both 34. The young woman was 6 months pregnant, Kyiv city mayor Vitaliy Klychko said. 19 people were rescued from under the rubble. The ruined building had architectural value. The drones most likely targeted the heat production plant located near the train station.

In Donetsk Oblast, the Russian forces shelled Slovyansk at night, hitting a ceramics plant. No one was hurt. The invaders also fired artillery along the entire front line. Over the past day, 4 people were killed and 10 injured in the Oblast.

Joint Command South stated that 3 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones hit industrial infrastructure facilities and a pharmaceutical warehouse in Mykolaiv. Later, Dmytro Pletenchuk, the press officer of Mykolayiv Oblast Military Administration (OMA), said that the drones hir a sunflower oil container owned by one of the leading exporters of sunflower oil in Ukraine. The oil spilled into the streets of the city. 17% of the global oil export passed through this terminal in the city of Mykolaiv.

According to the Ukrainian government-owned electric energy provider “Ukrenergo”, energy infrastructure facilities in Ukraine’s central and northern regions were damaged due to the Russian terrorist attacks. «Ukrenergo repair crews are working on eliminating the consequences. The situation in the power system is under control». The company emphasized that the Ukrenergo dispatcher center is considering introducing an emergency shutdown schedule.

Shortly after 5 a.m., the Russian forces launched a missile attack on critical infrastructure facilities in the Romny district of Sumy Oblast, Dmytro Zhivytskyi, the head of the Sumy OMA said. At least three people died, and nine were wounded. According to Zhyvytskyi, 1,625 customers are disconnected from the electricity supply in Sumy Oblast.

Although the Ukrainian military destroyed three Russian cruise missiles over Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, one still hit an energy infrastructure facility this night. There was an intense fire, the head of Dnipropetrovsk OMA, Valentyn Reznichenko, said. As a result, scheduled blackouts started in the city of Dnipropetrovsk and the Oblast to balance the grid, CEO of Yasno energy provider

Serhiy Kovalenko said. The shelling also cut off the Zaporizhzhia NPP’s electricity supply, again turning on its autonomous power generation.

In Kharkiv, on the morning of October 17, the metro and ground electric transport were temporarily stopped, and power outages occurred in different districts of the city of Kharkiv and Kharkiv Oblast, Suspilne public TV reported.

An enemy missile hit a critical infrastructure facility in Vinnytsya Oblast in the west of Ukraine, Serhiy Borzov, head of Vinnytsia OMA, said. No victims were reported.

In Ukraine, 6,570 compact living spaces for IDPs have been arranged, the press service of the Ministry of Reintegration said. The Ministry explained that local and regional authorities are in charge of helping displaced persons but in close cooperation with the central government. Modular cities for the people who were forced to move were deployed in five regions; 25 of them were built by the Polish government.

Law enforcement officers have exhumed 187 bodies at the mass burial site in the liberated city of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast. Among them are 35 military personnel and 152 civilians. The police press officer emphasized that about 40 graves remain unexplored because access to them is difficult.

The Russian forces are using a new tactic of nuclear blackmail, targeting energy infrastructure that connects nuclear power plants to the power grid, National energy company Enerhoatom said in a statement.

Occupied territories:

A total of about 3 thousand residents of occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, have been mobilized into “some pseudo-volunteer battalions” by force, the legally elected Ukrainian mayor of the city Ivan Fedorov said. The occupying authorities can simply pick up people in the middle of the street and take them to the military commissariat or the commandant’s office. Although they are released afterwards, they are immediately put on the record. There were also cases when they were immediately taken into the army.

One of the reasons there are long lines to cross the Kerch Strait is that the Russian authorities use the ferries to transport military equipment, Deputy Permanent Presidential Representative [of Ukraine] in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Denys Chystikov, said. Once a military equipment shipment arrives, all civilian cars are made to wait in line, which makes the drivers very angry. Residents of Crimea were offered to use the land route through the recently occupied Ukrainian territories; however, they are afraid because the line of contact is close, and nobody could guarantee their security. To popularize this route, the occupation authorities publicly announced that “70 trucks in an organized group set off from the Kerch port towards the newly occupied territories.” It’s not clear, though, how safe the passage will be if no security is provided to travelers.

A team of 11 staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross is ready to visit the POWs in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast. However, it does not have the minimum security guarantees on the ground and the “permission of the local authorities” [so-called DPR] to visit, ICRS said in a statement. In response to accusations from Ukrainian government officials of ICRS not fulfilling its obligations, ICRS replied that accusing the Committee because “it was denied full and immediate access” will not help either the prisoners of war or their families, and the only ones who can change the situation are the relevant states and the “authorities” in charge of the detention.

Operational situation

(please note that this part of the report is mainly on the previous day’s (October 16) developments)

It is the 236th 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 defend Donbas”). The enemy tries to maintain control over the temporarily captured territories. It concentrates its efforts on disrupting the counteroffensive actions of the Ukrainian troops, and continues the offensive in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.

The Russian military shells the positions of the Ukrainian troops along the entire contact line, fortifies defensive positions and frontiers in certain directions, and conducts aerial reconnaissance. In violation of the norms of international humanitarian law, the laws and customs of war, it strikes Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and residential quarters.

Over the past day, the Russian forces have launched 2 missile and 26 air strikes and fired over 70 MLRS rounds.

Areas of more than twenty towns and villages, including Bilopillia in Sumy Oblast, Sloviansk, Pavlivka and Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast, Marhanets in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Pravdyne and Bilohirka in Kherson Oblast were hit by the Russian forces. In the Kharkiv Oblast, the Russian military shelled the villages of Veterynarne, Vysoka Yaruga, Vovchansk, Vovchanski Khutory, Hatyshche, Dvorichne, Zelene, Kozacha Lopan, Krasne and Ohirtseve with mortars, barrel and jet artillery. The Russian forces attacked Mykolaiv with fifteen kamikaze drones; eleven of them were shot down by Ukrainian defenders. The threat of missile and airstrikes and the use of “Shahed-136” attack UAVs from the territory of the Republic of Belarus persists.

The Russian forces try to replenish their manpower losses and mobilize a large number of men in the temporarily occupied territories. Thus, according to the available information, in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk Oblast, employees of municipal services enterprises were forcibly registered for military service under Russian legislation and underwent a so-called medical examination. According to its results, all were found capable of military service.

The aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces made over 30 strikes over the past day. Hits on 25 enemy weapons and military equipment concentration areas and on 6 anti-aircraft missile systems are confirmed. Ukrainian air defense units shot down 15 Russian UAVs.

Over the past day, Ukraine’s missile forces and artillery hit 2 enemy command and control posts, 1 anti-aircraft battery position, and 1 ammunition depot.

Russia has acquired an undisclosed number of Iranian Arash-2 drones, which are said to be faster and more destructive than the Shahed-136.

The morale and psychological state of the personnel of the invasion forces remain low. On October 15, citizens of one of the CIS countries (presumably from Tajikistan), who sought to obtain Russian citizenship through participation in the war against Ukraine, shot a group of mobilized citizens of the Russian Federation at a training ground in the Russian Belgorod Oblast, killing at least 11 people and wounding another 15.

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.

There is no change in the operational situation.

Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks in the area of Novosadove and Terny. Russian troops regained control over the village of Torske.

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 military fired tanks and artillery of various calibers along the entire line of contact, particularly in the areas of Berestove, Petropavlivka, Pershotravneve villages of Kharkiv Oblast;

Grekivka and Novoyehorivka in Luhansk Oblast and Zarichne, Terny, Torske and Yampolivka in Donetsk Oblast.

Units of Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the Russian attacks in the area of Torske.

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 from tanks and rocket artillery in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Bilohorivka, Vesele, Opytne, Soledar, Yakovlivka, Berdychi, Vodyane, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, and Pervomaiske.

Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the Russian attacks in the areas of Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmut, Mayorsk, Vodyane, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast.

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 forces did not conduct offensive actions. They fired artillery of various types in the areas of Bohoyavlenka, Velyka Novosilka, Volodymyrivka, Vuhledar and Paraskoviivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The Ukrainian defense forces struck the concentration of Russian troops in the areas of Orikhiv (T0803, T0812, T0815 and T0408 crossroads), Kinsky Rozdory (T0803 and T0815 crossroads) and Tokmak (T0401 and P37 crossroads).

Ukrainian Defense Forces’ strikes inflicted the following losses on the Russian troops around the following towns and villages of Zaporizhzhia Oblast:

  • Molochansk – up to 40 wounded,
  • Kamianka-Dniprovska – 5 pieces of weapons and military equipment and about 25 wounded,
  • Enerhodar – up to 20 wounded,
  • Orikhiv and Hulyaipole – up to 5 pieces of weapons and military equipment and up to 50 wounded,
  • Polohy – about 7 pieces of military equipment and up to 30 wounded.
Tavriysk direction
  • Vasylivka – Stanislav section: approximate length of the battle line – 296 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 42, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 7 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 114th, 143rd, and 394th motorized rifle regiments, 218th tank regiment of the 127th motorized rifle division, 57th and 60th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 5th Combined Arms Army, 37th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 36th 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, 70th, 71st and 291st motorized rifle regiments of the 42nd motorized rifle division, 10th, 16th, 346th separate SOF brigades, 239th air assault regiment of the 76th Air assault division, 217th and 331st parachute airborne regiments of the 98th airborne division, 108 air assault regiment, 171st separate airborne assault battalion of the 7th Air assault division, 11th and 83rd separate airborne assault brigade, 4th military base of the 58 Combined Arms Army, 7 military base 49 Combined Arms Army, 224th, 237th and 126th separate coastal defence brigades, 127th separate ranger brigade, 1st and 3rd Army Corps, PMCs.

Areas of more than twenty-five towns and villages along the contact line suffered fire damage. In particular, Nikopol and Novokamyanka in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ternovi Pody, Partyzanske, Shyroke in Mykolaiv Oblast, and Myrne in Kherson Oblast.

Enemy units of the 126th separate coastal defence brigade, 810th separate marines brigade of the Black Sea Fleet, 205th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 49th Army, 140th anti-aircraft missile brigade of the 29th Army, 10th separate SOF brigade are fighting to hold their defense on the right bank of the Dnieper. The 126th separate coastal defence brigade suffered the greatest losses and was critically exhausted.

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 Black Sea and to maintain control over the captured territories.

In the open sea, the Russian naval group has decreased even more. Four ships and boats are located along the southwestern coast of Crimea. Among them is one cruise missile carrier, a corvette of project 21631, carrying up to 8 missiles.

In the Sea of Azov waters, enemy patrol ships and boats are located on the approaches to the Mariupol and Berdyansk seaports to block the Azov coast.

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, 16 Su-27, Su-30, and Su-24 aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved.

The Russian military continues shelling Ukrainian ports and coastal areas. On the night of October 17, the Russian forces again attacked Odesa, Mykolayiv and other cities in the south of Ukraine with Shahed 136 kamikaze drones. On the evening of October 16 and the morning of the 17th, the Russian military launched 43 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones over the territory of Ukraine. Air defense forces shot down 37 drones. All enemy of them came from the south.

Also, on the morning of October 17, the Russian forces attacked Odesa with a Kh-59 missile launched from a Su-35 aircraft from the sea. The rocket hit an infrastructure object.

Due to the repair of the Kerch Strait Bridge, there is a massive accumulation of cargo waiting to cross the Kerch Strait. The waiting time is 4-6 days, depending on the direction and weather conditions. Therefore, the enemy is studying alternative logistics ways for supplying its grouping of troops in Kherson Oblast through the occupied Azov region with the main hub in Melitopol.

“The Grain Initiative”: 5 ships with 122.3 thousand tons of agricultural products left the ports of Greater Odesa for the countries of Africa, Asia and Europe. Among them is the NEW LIBERTY bulker, which will deliver 25,000 tons of wheat to Kenya. Bulk carrier CHOLA TREASURE will deliver 61.8 thousand tons of rapeseed to Pakistan. Since the “Grain Initiative” launch, 350 ships with 7.8 million tons of agricultural products have left the ports of Greater Odesa for the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa.

The dry cargo ship NEW HORIZON (Panama flag), which was on its way to Odesa Oblast to load food as part of the “grain initiative”, collided with the dry cargo ship LADY NURGUL (also under the Panama flag) on the raid in Istanbul (Sea of Marmara) at around 13:45 on October 16.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 17.10

Personnel – almost 65,320 people (+320);

Tanks 2,537 (+8);

Armored combat vehicles – 5,205 (+12);

Artillery systems – 1,599 (+10);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 366 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 187 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 3,969 (+10);

Aircraft – 268 (0);

Helicopters – 242 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,241 (+17); Intercepted cruise missiles – 316 (0);

Boats / ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President’s Office, calls for Russia to be expelled from the international Group of Twenty: “He who gives orders to attack critical infrastructure in order to freeze civilians, and organizes a total mobilization to cover the front with corpses, categorically cannot sit at the same table with the leaders of the G20.” Podolyak believes that world leaders should put an end to ru-hypocrisy.

In the eighth month of the full-scale war, 40% of Ukrainians are in a tense or very tense state. At the same time, citizens demonstrate a good level of resilience; on a scale of 1 to 5, they rate it at 3.9, according to the survey Rating group pollster conducted on October 8-9. A study of Ukrainians’ emotional states from March to October 2022 showed little change. The peak of tension was observed at the beginning of April 2022 (3.5). In June, there was a gradual decrease in the level of stress (3.3). In October, the indicators remained at the same level (3.3). Currently, 24% of Ukrainians rate their state as calm or very calm. The sociological group emphasizes that the tension rate of 40% is relatively low for wartime.

International diplomatic aspect

NATO speaks the only language Russia understands. Steadfast Noon, the annual nuclear deterrence exercise, kicked off on Monday. The drill involves 14 nations with more than 60 aircraft, including the fifth-generation planes the Russian Airspace Forces don’t possess. The event sends a much more convincing message to Russia not to escalate than numerous statements of heads of state that they don’t want world war III to happen.

The European Council has agreed to set up a Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine). The mission will contribute to enhancing the UAF’s military capabilities in defending the country. The EUMAM will provide individual, collective and specialized training to the UAF, including their Territorial Defence Forces. The two-year-long mission will be chaired by Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, the Director of the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) within the EEAS.

The European Council has also adopted the additional €500 million tranche under the European Peace Facility to further enhance the UAF’s defense capabilities. It brings the total EU contribution under the EPF for Ukraine to €3.1 billion.

“Providing weapons to wage a war of aggression in Ukraine and kill Ukrainian citizens makes Iran complicit in the crime of aggression, war crimes, and terrorist acts of Russia against Ukraine,” stated the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. “For anybody in the world who is either selling material to Iran that could be used for [unmanned aerial vehicles] or ballistic missiles, or who is involved in

flights between Iran and Russia: Do your due diligence because we are absolutely going to sanction anybody who’s helping Iranians help Russians kill Ukrainians,” the US official announced plans to impose economic sanctions and possibly some export controls over the Iranian support for the Russian war effort. The EU imposed sanctions against Tehran over the human rights crackdown and voiced readiness to punish it for its involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine. “What we can see now: Iranian drones are used apparently to attack in the middle of Kyiv, this is an atrocity,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister said.

Russia, relevant news

As of August 2022, 41% of the 5,700 cinemas in Russia were closed, Aleksey Voronkov, head of the Association of Cinema Owners (AVK), told the Russian government-owned news agency TASS. Due to the departure of the largest international film companies from the Russian market, more than 150 cinemas were closed in the country – 7% of the total number of more than 2,100 venues. And in some large 12-screen cinemas in Russia, only half of the halls are working due to the lack of content, according to Voronkov. The Su-34 military plane crashed into a residential building in the Russian city of Yeisk, Krasnodar Krai. The fall of the aircraft caused a large-scale fire in a high-rise building. Russian mass media report that the disaster was caused by igniting one of the plane’s engines during takeoff.

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