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CDS Daily brief (22.11.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

As of the morning of November 22, 2022, as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation, 437 children died, and 839 were injured, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported with reference to the data of juvenile prosecutors.

On November 21, eight civilians were killed, and 16 more were injured in Ukraine as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, the Office of the President reported. According to the relevant Oblast Military Administration information, the Russian Federation’s army shelled eight Ukrainian Oblasts during the day.

After the 6th Russian attack on the Ukrainian energy system on November 15, practically no thermal and hydroelectric power plants remained intact in Ukraine, reported the chairman of the board of Ukrenergo Volodymyr Kudrytskyi. There are also almost no undamaged nodal substations; each important object “has already been hit, and some substations have been hit several times, namely between three and eight.”

In Donetsk Oblast, the towns of Chasiv Yar and Toretsk came under Russian shelling again today, reported the head of Donetsk OMA Pavlo Kyrylenko. In Chasiv Yar, two people were wounded, and four houses were damaged. There were no victims in Toretsk. The Oblast authorities are once again asking people to evacuate.

Russian forces indiscriminately shell the city of Kherson, recently liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. As of 3:30 p.m. on November 22, the Russian artillery hit 12 locations in the city. Three people were killed, the head of the civil defense department of the Kherson City Council, Oleksandr Leshchenko, said.

The difficult situation with the electricity supply in Kherson Oblast is not due to shelling but to the fact that the Russian forces purposefully either blew up or mined almost the entire energy infrastructure. Demining takes time; there are areas where it takes an hour to demine one square meter, the chairman of the board of Ukrenergo Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said. Currently, Ukrenergo plans to restore at least one power line to provide electricity to Kherson Oblast.

The water supply network of Mykolaiv is currently “200 percent” worn out and needs urgent replacement, Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkievych said. On April 12, the city was left without a centralized water supply due to the Dnipro-Mykolaiv water main pipeline being cut off by the Russian army. A month later, it was restored, but technical water flows through it, corroding the pipeline due to its salinity. More than 50 percent of the water flows into the ground, and accidents have increased 20 times.

More than 23,000 people, including almost 2,500 children and 452 persons with limited mobility, were evacuated from the liberated parts of Kharkiv Oblast, Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine reported.

The prosecutor’s office launched a criminal investigation into a possible fact of perfidy due to the simulation of surrender by the Russian military and the opening of fire on servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Borys Ivanov, the press secretary of the Prosecutor General, said in a comment to Ukrinform. The incident that took place near the village of Makiivka in Luhansk Oblast was depicted in the video circulated by the Russian Federation earlier this week.

On Tuesday, November 22, Ukraine returned home the bodies of 33 fallen servicemen, the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine reported. “The process of negotiations about the transfer of the bodies is ongoing. With joint efforts, we strive to return the defenders’ bodies to the families as soon as possible so that they can properly honor their memory,” the Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleg Kotenko said.

Occupied territories:

The Russian Federation uses the civilian population and enterprises in occupied Crimea to produce goods for the needs of the Russian Military. Work is underway to repurpose the industrial capacities of the local enterprises, the representation of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea reported.

The number of Ukrainian citizens being taken hostage by the occupying forces is increasing, the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration reports. People become victims under various circumstances, and the motivation of the Russian forces is unclear, as even children are kidnapped. Currently, 13 minors are known to have been taken hostage, of which seven have been returned. In order to put pressure on the captured communities’ local population and force them to cooperate or take possession of their property, 53 representatives of local self- government were captured by the Russian occupying forces, and 50 of them were released. Forty-one entrepreneurs fell into the Russian hands, and only 27 of them have been returned so far. Out of the captured 43 heads of enterprises, institutions, and organizations, 31 were released. Two journalists were captured and rescued, and out of 5 captured lawyers, only two have been released so far.

Russian media reported, with reference to the occupying authorities of the city of Sevastopol, that air defense shot down two drones over the city.

About half a thousand collaborators and members of their families from the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts fled to Crimea, said the legally elected mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov. He reported that, according to the Center of National Resistance, supporters of the invaders were housed in two boarding houses in Sevastopol.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (November 21) developments)

It is the 271st 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 Russian military continues its armed aggression against Ukraine. It does not stop striking industrial facilities and tries to maintain control over the temporarily captured territories, concentrates its efforts on restraining the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, carries out engineering fortification of the defense line, and continues to conduct offensive actions in certain directions, conduct air reconnaissance.

Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces have repelled Russian attacks in the areas around Stelmakhivka in Luhansk Oblast and Spirne, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Kamianka, Opytne, Vesele, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The Russian forces do not stop shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops and villages located along the contact line and the state border. They continue to inflict fire damage on critical infrastructure. Over the past day, the Russian forces have launched 9 air and 7 missile strikes and fired over 50 MLRS rounds. Civilian infrastructure objects in the villages of Komyshuvakha and Novotroitske in Zaporizhzhia Oblast sustained damage. In the border areas of Belgorod and Kursk Oblasts, the Russian military continues to cover the Russian-Ukrainian border and conduct forward presence and provocative actions. It fired at the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the area of Rozhkovychi of Sumy Oblast.

The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, providing it with infrastructure, territory, and airspace. The threat of missile launches and air strikes from the territory and airspace of the Republic of Belarus persists.

Russian special services plan to carry out several undercover terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure facilities in Belarus, particularly at the Belarusian nuclear power plant “Ostrovets”. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian MOD reports that Russian special services will blame Ukraine and NATO countries for the attacks to accelerate the involvement of the Belarusian military in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

During the past day, the aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces dealt a strike on an area of enemy personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration.

Over the past day, missile and artillery forces units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces hit an enemy command and control point, a fuel warehouse, an area of personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration, and a Russian EW station.

Kharkiv direction
  • Topoli – Siversk section: approximate length of combat line – 154 km, number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 23-28, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 5.5 km;
  • Deployed enemy BTGs: 26th, 153rd, and 197th tank regiments (TR), 245th motorized rifle regiment (MRR) of the 47th tank division (TD), 6th and 239th TRs, 228th MRR of the 90th TD, 25th and 138th separate motorized rifle brigades (SMRBr) of the 6th Combined Arms (CA) Army, 27th SMRBr of the 1st Tank Army, 252nd and 752nd MRRs of the 3rd MRD, 1st, 13th, and 12th TRs, 423rd MRR of the 4th TD, 201st military base, 15th, 21st, 30th SMRBrs of the 2nd CA Army, 35th, 55th and 74th SMRBrs of the 41st CA Army, 275th and 280th MRRs, 11th TR of the 18th MRD of the 11 Army Corps (AC), 7th MRR of the 11th AC, 80th SMRBr of the 14th AC, 2nd and 45th separate SOF brigades of the Airborne Forces, 3rd and 14th separate SOF brigades, military units of the 1st AC of so-called DPR, 2nd and 4th SMRBrs of the 2nd AC, PMC

The Russian occupation forces are on the defensive, firing tanks, mortars and barrel artillery, in particular, in the areas of Orlyanske and Lozova in Kharkiv Oblast; Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Ploshanka, Makiivka in Luhansk Oblast and Terny in Donetsk Oblast.

The weather slowed fighting along the front lines in eastern Ukraine as Ukrainian forces continued their counteroffensive operation. The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks on the Lyman and Kreminna-Lysychansk directions, destroyed Russian equipment near Syrotyne, and struck Russian troops’ concentration areas near Kreminna and Alchevsk.

Russian troops repelled Ukrainian attacks near Kuzemivka, Kreminna and Kupyansk. The Russian command transferred demoralized troops from Kherson to Luhansk Oblast, strengthening the rear areas in Luhansk Oblast. The engineering units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation intensity the engineering fortification of the defense line, establishing the “dragon’s teeth” defensive line along the frontier in the direction of Svatove and near Popasna.

Donetsk direction
  • Siversk – Maryinka section: approximate length of the combat line – 144 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 13-15, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 9.6 km;
  • Deployed BTGs: 68th and 163rd tank regiments (TR), 102nd and 103rd motorized rifle regiments of the 150 motorized rifle division, 80th TR of the 90th tank division, 35th, 55th, and 74th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 41st Combined Arms Army, 51st and 137th parachute airborne regiment of the 106 airborne division, 31st separate airborne assault brigade, 61st separate marines brigade of the Joint Strategic Command “Northern Fleet,” 336th separate marines brigade of Baltic Fleet, 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 is concentrating its primary efforts on offensive actions. With tanks and artillery, it shelled targets in the areas of seventeen towns and villages, including Andriivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Mayorsk, Opytne, Yakovlivka, Vesele and Vodyane.

The Russian forces continued offensive actions around Bakhmut. The joined forces repulsed Russian attacks on Bakhmut and near Spirne, Bilohorivka, Bakhmutske, Yakovlivka, Pidgorodne, near Opytne, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Maryinka, Pervomaiske, and Novomykhailivka.

Russian troops attacked Novomykhailivka and carried out offensive actions in the direction of Pervomaiske, Vodyane and Avdiivka.

Units of the “Wagner” PMC attacked Klishchiivka, intending to cut the road to the southwest of Bakhmut, and stormed Ivanhrad. Fierce battles take place on the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut itself. Near Berestove, Donetsk Oblast, the enemy used incendiary munitions, which Protocol III of the Geneva Convention prohibits.

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 (SMRBr) of the 29th Combined Arms (CA) Army, 38th and 64th SMRBrs, 69th separate cover brigade of the 35th CA Army, 5th separate tank brigade, 37th of the 36th CA Army, 135th, 429th, 503rd and 693rd motorized rifle regiments (MRR) of the 19th motorized rifle division (MRD) of the 58th CA Army, 70th, 71st and 291st MRRs of the 42nd MRD of the 58th CA Army, 136th SMRB of the 58 CA Army, 46th and 49th machine gun artillery regiments of the 18th machine gun artillery division of the 68th Army Corps (AC), 39th SMRB of the 68th AC, 83th separate airborne assault brigade, 40th and 155th separate marines brigades, 22nd separate SOF brigade, 1st AC of the so-called DPR, and 2nd AC of the so- called LPR, PMCs.

The Russian military is on the defensive on the captured frontiers, shelling the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery. Russian artillery fire affected twenty-one towns and villages, including Bohoyavlenka, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva of Donetsk Oblast; and Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Malynivka, and Myrne of Zaporizhzhya Oblast.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continued to shell the concentration of Russian forces and assets, striking the concentration of Russian manpower near Polohy, Kamianka, Mykhailivka and Enerhodar, injuring more than 100 Russian soldiers and destroying 20 pieces of military equipment and two ammunition depots. Three explosions occurred at the Russian base on the northwestern outskirts of Melitopol in Vesele.

Russian troops continued regular shelling west of Hulyaipole, shelled Nikopol and Marhanets, and struck the city of Zaporizhzhia with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops struck the Motor Sich plant.

Tavriysk direction
  • Vasylivka – Stanislav section: approximate length of the battle line – 296 km, the number of BTGs of the RF Armed Forces – 39, the average width of the combat area of one BTG – 7,5 km;
  • Deployed BTGs of: the 8th and 49th Combined Arms (CA) Armies; 11th, 103rd, 109th, and 127th rifle regiments of the mobilization reserve of the 1st Army Corps (AC) of the Southern Military District; 35th and 36th CA Armies of the Eastern Military District; 3rd AC of the Western Military District; 90th tank division of the Central Military District; the 22nd AC of the Coastal Forces; the 810th separate marines brigade of the Black Sea Fleet; the 7th and 76th Air assault divisions, the 98th airborne division, and the 11th separate airborne assault brigade of the Airborne Forces.

The Russian military improves the fortifications and logistical support of advanced units that are on the defensive. It does not stop shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops and residential areas on the right bank of the Dnipro River with artillery. The Russian occupying forces fired barrel and rocket artillery near Antonivka, Zelenivka, Komyshany and Muzikyvka.

Russian troops conducted defense and built fortifications in Kherson Oblast south of the Dnipro. They maintain a significant concentration of manpower and equipment in the east of the Kherson Oblast, build the second and third lines of defense and keep military equipment in densely populated areas. The Russian military transferred the mobilized personnel closer to the eastern bank of the Dnipro and pulled its combat-capable units, probably units of the Russian Airborne Forces, further east.

Russian troops struck the humanitarian aid distribution point in Bilozerka.

Ukrainian troops conduct military operation on the Kinburn spit. They have struck Russian targets in Skadovsk, Novotroitske, Chaplynka, Askania-Nova, Rubynivka, Mala Lepetykha, Kakhovka, and Hornostaivka.

In violation of international humanitarian law, laws and customs of war, the Russian occupying forces set up a torture chamber in the village of Strilkove, Henichesk district, on the territory of a recreation center, where Ukrainian citizens are detained and tortured.

Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:

The forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet continue to stay ready to carry out two operational tasks against Ukraine:

  • to project force on the coast and the continental part of Ukraine by launching missile strikes from surface ships, submarines, coastal missile systems, and aircraft at targets in the coastal zone and deep into the territory of Ukraine and readiness for the naval amphibious landing to assist ground forces in the coastal direction;
  • to control the northwestern part of the Black Sea by blocking Ukrainian ports and preventing the restoration of sea communications (except for the areas of the BSGI “grain initiative”) by carrying out attacks on ports and ships and concealed mine laying.

The ultimate goal is to deprive Ukraine of access to the Black Sea and extend and maintain control over the captured territory and Ukraine’s coastal regions.

There is no change related to the forces at sea. The Russian fleet keeps six surface ships. Due to stormy conditions, ships patrol along the southwestern coast of Crimea. Among them are no Kalibr missile carriers.

In the Sea of Azov, the Russian military continues to control sea communications, keeping two boats on combat duty.

Ships in the Russian port of Novorossiysk are relatively vulnerable. Ukraine can demonstrate a threat to the port, which will become a strategic challenge for the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. This is reported by the Ministry of Defense of Great Britain with reference to its own intelligence. They indicate that on November 18, Russian and Ukrainian mass media reported an attack on an oil terminal in the port of Novorossiysk on Russia’s Black Sea coast. A large base of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation is located near the oil terminal. Intelligence sources say the navy moved many of its submarine operations to Novorossiysk after Ukraine struck their base at Sevastopol in occupied Crimea over the summer. The Russian command will likely be concerned about threats to the amphibious assault grouping based in Novorossiysk. “These vessels are relatively vulnerable when unescorted and play a more important role in supplying Russian forces to Ukraine after the damage to the Kerch bridge in October,” the agency wrote. Intelligence emphasizes that the full details of this incident are not yet known. However, they say, any demonstration of Ukraine’s ability to threaten Novorossiysk will most likely become a further strategic challenge for the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

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, 9 combat aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved.

The Grain Initiative: On Monday, three vessels left Ukrainian ports. They transport 90,428 tons of grain and other food as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. In addition, three dry cargo ships, which passed through the humanitarian corridor on Monday, are heading to Ukrainian ports. 76 ships are waiting for permission to enter the ports of Ukraine, and 33 loaded dry cargo ships are being prepared for inspection in Turkish territorial waters to proceed to their destinations.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 22.11

Personnel – almost 85,000 people (+400);

Tanks 2,895 (+3)

Armored combat vehicles – 5,827 (+5);

Artillery systems – 1,882 (+12);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 395 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 209 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,393 (+15); Aircraft – 278 (0);

Helicopters – 261 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,537 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 480 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Dragon Capital worsened the forecast for the contraction of the Ukrainian economy at the end of 2022 to 32% y/y and expects the economy to contract next year at the rate of 5% y/y.

According to the results of the six months since the resumption of its work, the Belgorod-Dniester sea trade port has increased its load by 100 times, the press service of the port reports. The port received more than 10,000 trucks and shipped more than 4,000 railway cars. As a result, the enterprise processed more cargo in just half a year than in the last three years.

International diplomatic aspect

Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), along with the National Police and the National Guard, carried out counterintelligence measures on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (monastery) in Kyiv. It was done “within the framework of the SBU’s systematic work to counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine.” The goals of the actions are to “prevent the use of the Lavra as a center of the “Russian world”; search for hiding sabotage and intelligence groups, foreign citizens, stored weapons, etc.; and protect the population from provocations and terrorist acts.”

“In fact, the Ukrainian side has been at war with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) for a long time, and I would say that this should be considered as another link in the chain of these military actions against Russian Orthodoxy,” said Putin’s spokesperson. The statement of Dmitriy Peskov is interesting in two aspects.

Firstly, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, as it is officially named in Ukraine, has been pretending to be autonomous from Moscow. In reality, it’s just a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Dmitriy Peskov unwillingly demasked it in his statement. After the Orange Revolution, the ROC dismantled the remains of autonomous functions of its Ukraine branch and turned it into a propaganda arm of the “Russian world” ideology. Just a week ago, one of Lavra’s priests was filmed talking about the “awakening” of Russia to the congregation.

Secondly, Peskov accuses Ukraine of “military actions against Russian Orthodoxy,” while in reality, it’s ROC that has been engaged in the ideological war against Ukraine even before 2014. Leaving aside the Moscow Patriarch’s calls for “jihad” against Ukraine and encouraging Russians to go to war. In 2014 Sviatohirsk Lavra near Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast was used as a hideout for Russian intelligence and military that took part in the seizure of administrative buildings in nearby towns and the regional capital. These were the first days of the war in Donbas after the illegal annexation of Crimea. Local priests blessed Russian invaders, and some of them took part in fighting against their own country.

On May 9, 2015 (Victory Day), the head of the ROC’s branch remained seated in the Ukrainian Parliament, thus refusing to honor fallen Ukrainian heroes in all wars, including the war with Russia. “His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphrius did not react to this speech [of the President of

Ukraine calling to honor Ukrainian heroes] in the same way as all the other guests and participants of the solemn meeting, in order to emphasize the need to stop the war immediately,” the ROC’s branch made an excuse of such a despicable action. There had been many cases when the church’s priests refused to hold service or to allow the burial of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the Russo-Ukrainian war before 24 February 2022.

Ukrainian society has been calling on the government to terminate the tenant’s agreement on the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the land and premises are property of the Ukrainian government) and transfer it to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has received canonic autocephaly from its Mother Church – the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the first among equals in the Orthodox world. The ROC’s Ukrainian branch spreads Russian propaganda and is used for various anti-Ukrainian actions, thus posing a threat to Ukraine’s national security.

The Hungarian Prime Minister appeared at a football match wearing a scarf with a map of Greater Hungary. The outline of the map includes contemporary territories of four EU states (Austria, Slovak Republic, Romania, and Croatia) and two candidate countries (Ukraine and Serbia). Under the Treaty of Trianon, the Kingdom of Hungary lost two-thirds of its territories as a result of its defeat in the First World War.

“It’s a revisionist gesture that puts Orban alongside Putin, who also dreams of border changes. He should be sanctioned and isolated by EU leaders in the European Council,” twitted MEP Alin Mituța. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Hungarian ambassador and demanded an apology and a rebuttal of any Hungarian claims on Ukrainian territory. “Soccer is not politics. Do not read things into it that are not there,” Viktor Orban wrote. “The Hungarian national team belongs to all Hungarians, wherever they live!” he stated in his defense.

However, Viktor Orban has been playing a revisionist card since he chaired the government, resulting in tense relations with Hungary’s neighbors. Hungarian intelligence was actively operating in the regions with pockets of ethnic Hungarians, and the consulates were distributing Hungarian passports in violation of host nations’ legislations. Budapest has been playing an antagonistic role in NATO and the EU, blocking projects and initiatives related to Kyiv. It was Hungary that had been opposing more effective energy sanctions on Russia and twice saved Moscow’s Patriarch from being blacklisted.

“We are not expecting a visit by Minister Lavrov to Lodz,” Polish Foreign Ministry’s spokesman replied on whether the chief Putin’s diplomat was expected to attend the December meeting of the OSCE in the Polish city of Lodz. “Following Russia’s illegal aggression against Ukraine on 24 February, a number of Russian nationals were added to the list of sanctioned individuals, including Minister Lavrov,” Lukasz Jasina explained the reason for the refusal to allow Sergey Lavrov to come. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE will be presented at the event instead of his boss.

“Throughout the year, instead of strengthening the OSCE, Warsaw enthusiastically destroyed its foundations, did everything it could to erode the culture of consensus fundamental to the Organization, and stimulated dangerous centrifugal tendencies,” Moscow replied in a statement. Beside accusing Poland of turning the OSCE into “political shows and anti-Russian exercises,” Moscow blamed Warsaw for “pushing the OSCE into the abyss, depriving it of its last chances to show its relevance in strengthening security.” So, in the Russian view, it’s not the war of aggression against Ukraine, but the refusal to let the EU sanctioned Lavrov to travel to Poland undermine the European security and harm “an opportunity for an equal, respectful dialogue on serious issues of European security.”

It’s not only Poland that doesn’t want to see Putin’s emissaries. “Russian officials are not invited to MSC2023. We will not give them a platform for their propaganda. We want to discuss Russia’s future with Russian opposition leaders and exiled people – THEIR voices need to be heard and amplified,” the Chair of the Munich Security Conference tweeted.

Ukraine’s defense officials believe Russia is running out of precision-guided missiles, and it is capable of up to three massive missile attacks like those conducted on 15 November. With the current pace of production, Russia will be able to replenish its missile stockpile within 14 to 16 months. Meanwhile, Ukrainian air defense forces shoot down up to 70% of Russian missiles and Iran-made drones. Western aid is crucial for increasing air defense capabilities, but it still relies on Soviet and Russia-made missiles, which there’s no possibility of replenishing.

The Israeli National Security Council chairman reportedly warned Russian representatives that Ukraine might receive high-precision ballistic missiles should Iran start delivering its ballistic missiles to Russia. Though Eyal Hulata didn’t say explicitly that Israel is revisiting its ban on arms supplies to Ukraine, he might have implied it.

Just last week, a Shahed-136, the same kind of Iran-made kamikaze drone provided to Russia for its war in Ukraine, hit the oil tanker Pacific Zircon off the coast of Oman. The Liberian-flagged tanker with a gross tonnage of more than 28 thousand tons was delivering oil in the interest of an Israeli businessman. Israel was reluctant to help Ukraine with weapons, fearing retaliation from Russia and more difficulties in operating in Syria. However, Russia has redeployed the bulk of its troops and weaponry from Syria to Ukraine. Moscow’s inability to produce missiles and drones in necessary quantity pushed it closer to Iran and North Korea. It might be too late for Israel to warn Russia because Moscow could possibly have gone far enough in providing Tehran with equipment, technology, and expertise in the fields of the highest interest, particularly a nuclear one.

The IAEA’s Board of Governors passed a resolution ordering Iran to cooperate urgently with the agency’s investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites. It was reported that Iran has begun enriching uranium to 60% purity at its Fordow nuclear site, which exceeds the level allowed under the JCPOA (an agreement abandoned by the Trump Administration and now is being renegotiated by the Biden Administration), and that more advanced centrifuges are being used.

It might be that Israeli deterrence of Russia failed, and it will face threats from its archenemy. Russia’s defeat as soon as possible is in Israel’s interest, so there would be no reason for Moscow to provide Teheran with more destabilizing capabilities in return for dangerous but not-so- advanced drones and missiles.

Russia, relevant news

The Czech Republic has introduced an obligatory airport visa for Russian citizens to transit through the airports of the republic, the country’s Foreign Ministry said.

Russian tour operators record a tenfold drop in sales of tours to Europe for the New Year. Currently, the share of such trips in total sales does not exceed 10%, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia said.

Russian Prime Minister Mishustin said that target tasks to meet the army’s needs in the framework of a special military operation had been approved by the Russian Cabinet. He stressed that more enterprises should be more actively involved in meeting the needs of the Armed Forces, including private companies.

Assignments related to a “special military operation” [in Ukraine] will appear in the Single state exam (note: equivalent to SAT) on this topic appears in the Russian school curriculum, the head of Rosobrnadzor agency in charge of monitoring education in Russia, Anzor Muzaev, said.

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