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CDS Daily brief (04.12.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

According to the National Police, more than 9,400 civilians died, and about 6,800 were injured since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are also children among them; 461 children have died, Yevhenii Yenin, the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, said.

In Ukraine, as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation over the past day, on December 3, two civilians were killed, and seven more people were injured, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko said.

The army of the Russian Federation shelled eight Ukrainian Oblasts during the day on December 3, according to the information of the Oblast military administrations as of 9:00 a.m. today. Those are Sumy, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. As a result, damages to residential buildings, business and communal property, and critical infrastructure were reported.

Starting Monday, December 5, the energy company DTEK is planning to return to the schedules of stabilization shutdowns in Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Odesa Oblasts, the company said on Telegram. It noted, however, that the situation in the energy system remains difficult and urged people to bear with possible breaches in the schedule.

Today in Kherson, the power supply was connected to the water pumping station No. 2. Therefore, 70% of city residents will have water in their homes, the head of Kherson OMA Yaroslav Yanushevich reported. He also said that work to restore the electricity supply is underway, and 85% of city residents have electric power.

National Police sappers examined 523 hectares of territory in the liberated Kherson Oblast, where they seized 4,200 explosive objects and destroyed 1,250. Another 7,300 explosive objects were discovered and neutralized by pyrotechnicians of the State Emergency Service, who examined a total area of 753 hectares, the head of Kherson OMA Yaroslav Yanushevich informed.

On December 4, a 65-year-old woman crossing the Dnipro River with her husband on a boat, leaving a country house in the Hola Prystan district, was killed by Russian automatic fire, the department of civil protection of Kherson City Council reports. The man was not injured. The regional authorities had said the day before that Kherson residents are allowed to return to the city from the other river bank in the daytime using their own boats.

Russian shelling damaged a pre-trial detention center in Kherson, and some personnel were wounded, the Department for the Execution of Criminal Punishments reported. The center’s inmates had to be evacuated.

In Donetsk Oblast, the Russian army shelled 12 towns and villages on December 3, reports the communication department of the Donetsk Oblast police. As a result, 29 civilian objects were destroyed and damaged – 15 residential buildings, factory premises, buildings of a machine- building plant, a wagon, a boiler house, a service station, tankers, a market, a shop, outbuildings, and garages. There were no reports of casualties.

A 23-year-old man was killed in his yard as a result of Russian shelling of the Pokrovsk community in the Nikopol district, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional council, Mykola Lukashuk, said. The community got shelled 5 times during the day.

Russian forces attacked the Kupyansk and Vovchansk districts of Kharkiv Oblast. As a result, a 72-year-old resident of the village of Gatishche died, the Kharkiv Oblast Police said.

61 person was evacuated to Lviv from the epicenter of hostilities by train, and another 72 people arrived by bus today, Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of Lviv OMA, said.

Occupied territories:

There is no centralized water supply in the temporarily occupied Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast. The occupying forces distribute it in bottles. One must present a passport with registration or a birth certificate to receive water. Documents of male residents are also checked to ensure they are registered at the military commissariat. Cases were recorded when men received draft notices in the queue for water, the National Resistance Center of the Ukrainian MOD reports.

In the temporarily occupied Skadovsk district of Kherson Oblast, home delivery of pensions has been stopped. When people come to post offices to collect their pensions, the invaders force them to get Russian passports, the Ukrainian General Staff reports.

The head of the city military administration of Sievierodonetsk (Luhansk Oblast), Alexander Stryuk, reports that Russian occupation forces plant mines in the city infrastructure and medical facilities, as well as the outskirts of the city. At the same time, they continue to loot empty apartments and take valuables out of the city. Sievierodonetsk started the winter without heating and almost without electricity, which the Russians provided the city only sporadically. It has been under Russian occupation since June 25, when Ukrainian troops retreated.

According to the legally elected Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, a list of collaborators in the Melitopol district is being compiled. There are 700 people in it, ranging from civil servants, workers of local government bodies, teachers, and doctors. Fedorov said these lists are verified and then sent to Ukraine security services.

Information made public by civic activist Serhiy Sternenko about the public execution of civilians in Luhansk Oblast is being verified, Serhii Gaidai, head of the Luhansk OMA, said. A Telegram post published this morning by Sternenko featured a picture of three people reportedly killed by hanging in the occupied part of Luhansk Oblast.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 3) developments)

It is the 284th 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”). Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces have repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Ploschanka and Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast and Berestovka, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Andriivka, Kurdyumivka, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Vesele, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The Russian forces launched 10 missile strikes and 16 air strikes and fired over 30 MLRS rounds on civilian targets and positions of the Ukrainian defense forces along the contact line. Objects of civilian infrastructure in Shevchenkive of Kharkiv Oblast and Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast were hit by rockets. Sopych and Tymofiivka of Sumy Oblast, Odnorobivka, Strilecha, Neskuchne, Ternova, Starytsya, Ohirtseve, Chernyakiv, Chuhuyiv and Dvorichna of Kharkiv Oblast were shelled with mortars.

The threat of Russian missile strikes on energy and critical infrastructure facilities persists throughout the territory of Ukraine.

According to updated information, between November 28 and 30, up to 70 WIA and more than 230 KIA Russian soldiers were sent to hospitals in the temporarily occupied cities of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. In addition, on December 2, another group of wounded and dead Russian soldiers was brought to the Melitopol local hospital.

Looting and robbery of the local population continue in the territories temporarily occupied by Russian troops. Russian troops take away all goods and equipment, including freezers and cash registers, from local shops of Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Oblast. In Novomykolaivka, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, occupying forces numbering up to 100 people organized a document check for local residents on December 2, seizing personal valuables and household appliances. In the occupied part of Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupying authorities forced the local population to send their children to educational institutions to study according to the Russian curriculum by threatening to deprive parents of parental rights.

During the day, the aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces dealt 22 strikes on areas of the Russian personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration and 3 strikes against Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft and an Orlan- 10 UAV.

Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces missile and artillery troops hit 2 enemy command and control points, an ammunition depot, 3 areas of Russian personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration and the area of an artillery unit concentration.

The first of the six MIM-23 HAWK air defense systems announced by Spain has been delivered to Ukraine, and five more will be delivered in the future.

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, 76th Air assault division, 106th airborne division, 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 24th and 45th separate SOF brigades of the Airborne Forces, military units of the 1st AC of so-called DPR, 2nd and 4th SMRBrs of the 2nd AC, PMCs.

The Russian forces are on the defensive. They fired tanks and artillery near Senkivka and Tabaivka, Berestove and Vyshneve in Kharkiv Oblast and Makiivka, Ploshanka and Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast.

The Russian operation command in Ukraine transferred one airborne battalion, four battalions, two tank companies of the 18th motorized rifle division, and about 5-9 artillery divisions to the Svatove area.

The artillery of the Ukrainian Defense Forces heavily shells numerous military targets in the Svatove area.

In the Russian Bryansk Oblast, an oil and lubricant warehouse was blown up, and about 50,000 tons of fuel and lubricants were destroyed, which will undoubtedly delay any possible Russian offensive or make their defensive operations problematic for a while.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces took control of Yahidne, defeating a large Russian garrison there, and advanced to Orlyanske.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces confirm that Russian artillery fire is preventing the movement of their units in the Kupyansk area.

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 31st separate airborne assaul brigades, 61st separate marines brigade of the Joint Strategic Command “Northern Fleet,” 336th separate marines brigade of Baltic Fleet, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 15th, and 100th separate motorized rifle brigades, 9th and 11th separate motorized rifle regiments 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 continues to concentrate its primary efforts on offensive actions, trying to improve its tactical position. In particular, the districts of Serebryanka, Verkhnokamyanske, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Kurdyumivka, Yuzhne, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodiane, Pervomaiske, Nevelsky, Krasnohorivka, Vesele, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka of Donetsk Oblast were shelled by tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery.

Units of the Russian Armed Forces are trying to break through along the entire front line from Bilohorivka on Siversky Donets in the north through Soledar, bypassing Bakhmut from the east to Opytne, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Pivnichne. The attacks of the “Wagner” PMC detachments on Bilohorivka, Verkhnokamyanske and Spirne were relatively easily repulsed by the Ukrainian Joint Forces.

In the last two days, the Russian military has concentrated its main efforts in the area of Kurdyumivka to Novoselivka. There is an intense battle for Kurdyumivka. After capturing Kuzemivka, units of the “Wagner” PMC reached the northern and then the eastern outskirts of Novoselivka and advanced in a western direction for 1 km. The settlement was completely destroyed by Russian artillery, Ukrainian units of the 30th separate mechanized brigade retreated to another line.

The main combat clashes occur at night, indicating a change in the tactics of the PMС and units of the Russian Armed Forces in this direction.

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, 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 in the direction of Novopavlivka, shelling the areas of Velyka Novosilka, Vuhledar, Prechystivka and Zolota Nyva of Donetsk Oblast. The Russian forces are also on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia direction. Artillery shelling was recorded, in particular, near Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

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); 35th and 36th CA Armies; 3rd AC; 90th tank division; the 22nd AC of the Coastal Forces; the 810th separate marines brigade of the Black Sea Fleet; the 7th and the 98th airborne division, and the 11th and 83rd separate airborne assault brigades of the Airborne Forces, 10th separate SOF brigade.

The Russian forces are on the defensive, shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops and populated areas of the Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson Oblasts with mortars, barrel and rocket artillery.

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.

The situation at sea did not change. Russian fleet has significantly increased its forces at sea and is keeping 18 surface ships there since the middle of the week. Among them are 4 Kalibr cruise missile carriers, namely two surface ships and two submarines; the total possible number of missiles in a salvo is 24.

In the Sea of Azov, the Russian military continues to control sea communications, keeping 2 boats on combat duty.

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

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 04.12.22

Personnel – almost 91,150 people (+550);

Tanks – 2,922 (+5)

Armored combat vehicles – 5,892 (+6);

Artillery systems – 1,908 (+2);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 395 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 210 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4, 479 (+7);

Aircraft – 281 (+1);

Helicopters – 263 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,573 (+1); Intercepted cruise missiles – 531 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

State Concern “Ukroboronprom” conducted a number of successful tests of the Ukrainian strike drone with a range of one thousand kilometers, spokeswoman of Ukrobornprom, Nataliya Sad, said. “After we successfully test the drone under EW, we hope to be able to test it in combat. We promised by the end of this year, and we are trying to keep the promise,” Sad said.

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Ukraine has attracted 25 billion dollars of external financing to the state budget, Deputy Minister of Finance Olga Zykova reported. According to her, the deficit of the state budget in 2022 is 5 billion dollars every month.

International diplomatic aspect

“The data indicated 55 percent of Russians favor peace talks with Ukraine, with only 25 percent claiming to support continuing the conflict,” the latest UK Defence Intelligence Update quotes an independent Russian media outlet that had accessed the internal poll conducted by Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FPS). “In April 2022, around 80 percent of Russians claimed to support the operation.”

November’s poll of the Levada Centre shows almost the same level of support for talks (53%), while the war supporters are 1.5 times larger than that of the FPS poll (41%). At the same time, the overwhelming majority of Russians support Russian actions (war) in Ukraine (74%), while only one-fifth do not. The driving feelings about the war are pride for Russia (42%) and anxiety and fear (34%), while only 6% are ashamed of it, 7% are depressed, and 11% are outraged.

However, the leaked FPS poll should be viewed with a grain of salt. It might be aimed at persuading a target audience that the circumstances push the Kremlin for peace talks. A looming chance of talks would amplify public pressure on Ukraine from some “old European” governments. Therefore, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland is right in saying that “Diplomacy is obviously everyone’s objective, but you have to have a willing partner… And it’s very clear, whether it’s the energy attacks or the rhetoric out of the Kremlin and the general attitude, that Putin is not sincere or ready for that.”

The first bulker within the “Grain from Ukraine” initiative delivered 25,000 tons of wheat to Ethiopia. The second bulker is about to sail off with 30,000 tons of wheat for the same destination, while the third one will bring 25,000 tons of grain to Somalia. For the time of the “Black Sea Grain Initiative,” 441 bulkers delivered 10 million tones of Ukrainian, stolen from Ukraine and Russian grain, while 77 ships are on the way to their destinations. The top five (not

always final) destinations are Spain (18.5%), Italy (15.3%), China (13.2%), Turkey (11.8%), and Holland (9.1%), according to @exit266.

So far, Ukraine has exported 18 million tons of grains and pulses, including 199 thousand tonnes in November, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy. On the same date last year, the export amounted to 25.7 million tons, including 512 thousand tonnes, in November 2021. However, Russia’s war made some 7.7 million tons of grains and pulses unavailable for the global market, which is devastating for developing countries that feel a shortage of food and surging prices for it.

Old prejudices die hard. The French President believes the West needs to provide Russia with security guarantees. Europe needs to prepare its future security architecture, which “means that one of the essential points we must address – as President Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia,” Macron said. “That topic will be part of the topics for peace, so we need to prepare what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table.”

“Fundamentally disagree with Emmanuel Macron on this one. The only security guarantees we should focus on are essentially non-Russian. Russia needs first to guarantee that it does not attack others. Only then can we begin discussions on European Security,” twitted former Finish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb. Kyiv is ready to provide Russia with security guarantees after it withdraws its troops from Ukraine, pays reparations, brings all war criminals to justice, and voluntarily surrenders nuclear weapons, said David Arakhamia, head of the governing party in the Ukrainian Parliament.

Reacting to President Macron’s proposition to provide security guarantees to Russia as a part of peace negotiations, Ukrainian NSDC Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that it’s not Russia that needs guarantees from the world; it’s the world that needs security guarantees from Russia. “When you’re unarmed, you’re not a threat. Unfortunately, we know. A denuclearized and demilitarized so-called Russia is the best guarantee of peace for Europe and the world,” he said. Danilov agrees to a single guarantee for the Russian Federation – “after the verdict in The Hague, the death penalty will not be imposed.”

“Russia wasn’t provoked. Russia wasn’t threatened. Russia wasn’t attacked. Instead, one man chose war. And Putin’s war is not the result of NATO expansion. It is the cause of NATO expansion,” the US Defense Secretary said. NATO has never attacked Russia, while Russia fought wars in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. NATO is a threat to Russia insofar as Moscow plans to either annex or control nations westwards.

The fact that Russia didn’t either threaten with attack Finland and Sweden or strengthen the border with its northern neighbors proves that the issue is not a NATO threat. Besides more than 1,000 km of border with the Alliance, Finland and Sweden’s membership means turning the Baltic Sea into a NATO lake, thus making the Baltic nations less vulnerable to Moscow’s pressure while

creating an even more disadvantageous situation for Kaliningrad’s exclave. In addition to being a highly warfighting capable nations, by joining a collective security arrangement, they make Russia face new challenges in securing its nuclear forces based on the Kola Peninsula.

Russia, relevant news

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia would not apply the oil price cap adopted by the European Union, even if it has to cut production.

“Soda”, whose label imitates the original Coca-Cola label, appeared in Moscow stores, a Russian RBC news agency reported. The bottling date on the bottles is November or October, although, in March 2022, the Coca-Cola Company suspended business in Russia due to the start of a special military operation in Ukraine.

The Kremlin sent New Year’s celebrations instructions to regional authorities, state-owned companies and Russian cultural institutions. They are advised “to show restraint in spending” and to emphasize “honoring the heroism of the defenders of the homeland” who are fighting in Ukraine. No restrictions for children’s celebrations are recommended, the Russian RBC news agency reported.

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