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CDS Daily brief (09.12.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

During the war, the Russians already destroyed 144 medical facilities and damaged more than 1,000. Ukraine needs at least 1 billion dollars to rebuild hospitals and ambulatories to the condition they were in before the war, reported the Ministry of Health.

Currently, as noted by the Ministry of Health, the medical system developed a mechanism for hospitals functioning in conditions of total absence of energy, heat and water supply. Healthcare facilities are provided with generators, Starlinks, and form reserves of the necessary fuel and water. However, Ukrainian healthcare facilities still need several thousand generators and fuel for them, Starlinks stations and a number of critical medical equipment, Ukrinform reports. Today, more than 3,000 generators and more than 1,000 Starlink stations are operating in Ukrainian hospitals.

During the past day, as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, 5 Ukrainian civilians were killed, and 14 more were injured. The Russian army shelled eight regions of Ukraine, causing destruction and damage to housing and civil infrastructure, according to consolidated information of Oblast Military Administrations (OMAs) as of 9:00 a.m., December 9:

  • At night, the Russians shelled the central and northern parts of Donetsk Oblast. 1 killed and 3 injured civilians were reported in the Toretsk community.
  • The Russian occupiers shelled the territory of the Kherson Oblast 68 times on December

8. Eight people were injured in Kherson. The Russians hit residential buildings and other infrastructure.

  • During the day, the Russians shelled the Kupyansk, Kharkiv, Chuhuyiv and Izyum districts of Kharkiv Oblast. The warehouses of a food enterprise burned down in Kupyansk due to shelling. Three wounded civilians were reported in the Kharkiv district; houses were damaged, commercial buildings and cars were on fire.
  • At    night,    the    Russian    occupiers     targeted    one     of    the     communities     of the Zaporizhzhia district with an S-300 missile. A road between two villages was damaged.
  • In Mykolaiv Oblast, infrastructure objects were damaged in Kutsurubska and Ochakivska communities.
  • At night, the Russian troops again shelled the Nikopol district of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with “Grads” and heavy artillery. Private houses and garages were damaged in the Chervonohryhorivska community, and the power line was cut off.

Ukrenergo energy company reported that the capacity deficit in the power system is still significant. The energy infrastructure in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kherson Oblasts is under constant fire, so the situation with electricity supply remains difficult in these regions. It was possible to connect the consumers of Odesa, but there are still significant restrictions in the southern regions [of Ukraine]. There is also a substantial deficit in the Kyiv Oblast, especially on the left bank.

About a thousand foreign specialists help in demining the territory of Ukraine, according to Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mary Hakobyan. “We have a huge team of “The HALO Trust”, Poles, Swiss, Danes – that’s about 800 sappers, pyrotechnicians working in different regions of Ukraine,” she said. According to experts, about 30% of the territory of Ukraine is mined. It takes 7 to 10 years to defuse explosives.

Occupied territories:

On December 8, the Russian invaders severely beat two employees of Zaporizhzhia NPP and took them to an unknown destination, Energoatom reports. In addition, the Russians “threw into the basement” the ZNPP shift supervisor, Konstantin Beiner, who is directly responsible for nuclear and radiation safety. Ukraine appealed to the IAEA Director General Grossi.

The Russian occupation authorities of Crimea sent letters to the Crimeans, including them in the so-called “courts” list of jurors, stated the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people on their website and posted a photo of the corresponding letter. The Mejlis noted that this way, the Russian occupation authorities kept trying to make Crimean Tatar residents, who in the absolute majority did not accept the Russian occupation, accomplices in their crimes.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 8) developments)

It is the 289th 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 Defense Forces have repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast and Klishchiivka and Maryinka in Donetsk Oblast.

Over the past day, the Russian forces launched 5 missile strikes, 3 air strikes, and 54 MLRS rounds. They fired mortars at Khodyne, Sosnivka, Kindrativka, and Zapsillia in Sumy Oblast, Strilecha, Ternove, Starytsia, Ohirtseve, and Kupyansk in Kharkiv Oblast. The threat of missile strikes on Ukraine’s energy system and critical infrastructure facilities persists.

Missile forces and artillery of the Ukrainian Defense Forces hit 8 enemy command and control points, 11 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment and 2 ammunition depots.

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.

Russian troops are on the defensive. They shelled from tanks and artillery the areas of Sinkivka, Pishchane and Pershotravneve in Kharkiv Oblast, Grekivka, Makiivka, Ploshanka, Nevske, Chervopopivka, Novoselivske and Stelmakhivka in Luhansk Oblast, Torske and Hryhorivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The enemy command systematically reinforces its advanced units along the Kolomiychikha – Dzherelne – Rayohorodka – Kovalivka line. The units of the 254th and 488th motorized rifle regiments of the 144th motorized rifle division of the 20th Army were significantly replenished with personnel and basic types of weapons and military equipment. In total, the enemy sent up to 850 personnel and up to 30 tanks and BBM to supplement this tactical group.

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 assault 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 enemy does not stop attempts of offensive operations. They shelled with tanks, mortars and rocket artillery the areas of twenty-five towns and villages, including Berdychi, Andriyivka, Verkhnyokamyanske, Berestove, Bilohorivka, Vesele, Soledar, Bakhmut, Opytne, Avdiyivka, Pervomaiske, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka of Donetsk Oblast.

Russian troops sharply intensified their offensive north of Bakhmut; they managed to cross the T1302 road northeast of Soledar and enter the village of Yakovlivka. This worsened the situation of the Ukrainian units defending the town of Soledar.

At the same time, Russian troops continued their attempts to occupy Opytne completely and advance in Klishchiivka. They advanced to the nearest approach to this village and tried to bypass Bakhmut from the south and surround it from the north on a fairly wide front.

The Russian command continues to implement the intention of surrounding Avdiivka from the north and southwest directions. The objective is to advance to the Krasnohorivka area and further to Berdychy (from the northern direction), to the Tonenke area and further to Orlivka from the southwestern 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.

In the direction of Novopavlivka, the enemy is on the defensive, shelling Vuhledar, Prechystivka, Zolota Nyva and Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast. In Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy fired tanks and artillery at the areas of fourteen towns and villages, in particular, Vremivka, Velyka Novosilka, and Novopole in Donetsk Oblast, and Dorozhnyanka, Huliay Pole, Novodanylivka, and Stepove in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Russian troops lost about 240 WIA on December 7 due to [the Ukrainian] fire strikes on areas of enemy concentration near Berdyansk, Tokmak, Melitopol, Energodar, Dniprorudne, Polohy and Vasylivka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. 3 ammunition warehouses and about 20 units of military equipment were destroyed. The hospital, deployed on the basis of the Tokmak anti-tuberculosis dispensary, is filled with wounded servicemen of the Russian occupation forces.

The grouping of enemy troops in the Melitopol direction increased to 10-12 BTGs. In addition, it is supported by operational-tactical reserves of up to 6 battalions from the 35th, 36th and 29th Armies, withdrawn from the Kherson direction. The enemy continues to strengthen its positions. The Russian troops are concentrated in certain areas along the front line to counter a possible counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and create conditions for the continuation of the offensive. The enemy continues fortification of positions from the districts of Vasylivka and Huliaypole. At the same time, the enemy combat activity increased in the Huliaypole area.

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 military conducts defensive actions. Their tank and artillery shelling was recorded near Beryslav, Kozatske, Antonivka, Komyshany, Dniprovske and Veletenske of Kherson Oblast and the outskirts of the city of Kherson.

The enemy, operating from the area east of the Bilohrudove village, landed a tactical group consisting of units from the 80th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet, the 25th separate SOF regiment GRU and the first company of the 4th BARS detachment on the southern bank of Velykiy Potemkin island. The 8th artillery regiment supported the landing forces’ actions. The enemy landing party captured the southern and southeastern parts of the island. It conducts reconnaissance and search operations in the direction of the mouth of the channel, Zakytne lake, along the coastline of the eastern outskirts of Velykiy Potemkin island. The tactical group is expected to reach the frontier of spit – the northern shore of the lake. We should expect the transfer of additional units of the 80th separate motorized rifle brigade and the remnants of the 4th BARS detachment across the channel of the Stary Dnipro.

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 at sea: the enemy has 13 surface ships and a submarine. Among them is one missile carrier, a project 636.3 submarine with 4 Kalibr missiles.

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

Enemy aviation continues to fly from Crimean airfields Belbek and Gvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Over the past day, 14 combat aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were deployed.

“Grain Initiative”: The Russian Federation is deliberately delaying the inspection of ships involved in the “grain initiative”. Entering the Bosporus strait from the Marmara Sea side, ships

wait 3-5 weeks. Because of this, about 3 million tons of grain were not delivered in the last two months.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said on December 9 that he plans to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, December 11. According to him, the topic of the negotiations will be strengthening the Black Sea grain agreement, which the UN supports.

As part of the “grain initiative”, 25,000 tons of food wheat on board the NEVA bulker left the port of “Odesa” on December 9 and is moving along the “grain corridor” to Somalia as part of a caravan. These 25,000 tons are direct aid from the Ukrainian state. Delivery of humanitarian cargo is implemented with the support of the Governments of Japan, France and Finland, uniting the world around the humanitarian program “Grain from Ukraine”. NEVA is already the third ship within the framework of the #GrainFromUkraine Program. On board of the first two ships were 55 thousand tons of Ukrainian wheat, which could feed almost 200,000 people a year. The ships were sent to Ethiopia, which was on the brink of famine. Since August 1, 533 vessels have left the ports of Great Odesa, exporting 13.3 million tons of Ukrainian food to the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 09.12.22

Personnel – almost 93,390 people (+310);

Tanks – 2,937 (0)

Armored combat vehicles – 5,912 (+1);

Artillery systems – 1,926 (+1);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 395 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 211 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,531 (+3); Aircraft – 281 (0);

Helicopters – 264 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,603 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 592 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Participating countries of the International Advisory Council under the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine handed over equipment to restore energy infrastructure worth millions of euros, reported Minister of Energy, German Galushchenko, during a meeting of the coordinators of the advisory council. “Our task today is not just to use the equipment to carry out quick restoration work but also to form a stockpile of equipment that may be urgently needed after the next shelling,” Galushchenko said. He emphasized that the situation in Ukraine’s energy system remains difficult after massive Russian attacks on energy infrastructure facilities. There is also information about a possible repetition of shelling in the near future, and the expected winter frosts may further complicate the situation in the power system.

11 buses with generators and equipment for the energy needs of Ukraine left Estonia. They are heading to Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Bucha and Poltava.

The Ukrainian government is considering transferring industrial enterprises’ work to night shifts, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at the government meeting. According to Shmygal, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine will develop a scheme with clear priorities for connecting consumers to the electricity supply in accordance with the government’s mandate. The objects of critical infrastructure and the military-industrial complex will be the first to be connected to power grids.

In 11 months of this year, consumer prices in Ukraine increased by 25.7%; according to the forecast of the Ministry of Economy, at the end of the year, inflation will not exceed 30%.

In ten months of 2022, the Ukrainian IT industry exported $6 billion worth of services compared to 5.5 billion dollars for the same period last year, according to the data of the national study Do IT like Ukraine of the IT Ukraine Association, reports Ukrinform.

International diplomatic aspect

The US will send a $275 million defense aid to Ukraine that includes an undisclosed number of HIMARS rockets, 80,000 155mm howitzers’ rounds, HUMVEES, anti-drone systems, and more. The UK announces the arrival of more anti-air guns and further short-range air defense missiles in the coming weeks.

The US sanctioned the Russian Aerospace Forces, the 924th State Center for Unmanned Aviation, and the Command of the Military Transport Aviation for dealing with Iran on UAV transfer and training of operators. Besides the escalation of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia’s acquisition and Iran’s provision of these specific UAVs violate the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“A full-fledged defense partnership” is established between Russia and Iran with weapons and military expertise flowing in both directions, senior Biden administration officials said. Moscow provides Teheran with an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support, including helicopters, air defense systems, and, possibly, Su-35 fighter jets. In return, Moscow receives weapons for its war in Ukraine. “This partnership poses a threat not just to Ukraine but to Iran’s neighbors in the region,” a senior administration official said. So far, Israel was refraining from defense assistance to Ukraine, at least doesn’t admit it publicly. However, the partnership between two authoritarian regimes poses grave danger for Kyiv and Jerusalem and should open venues of cooperation that might help to better cope with UAV and missile threats.

The European Council adopted conclusions on the fight against impunity regarding crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It calls on member states to adopt into national legal frameworks the definition of core international crimes and modes of liability enshrined in the Rome Statute; enable the exercise of universal jurisdiction or other forms of domestic jurisdiction over core international crimes; establish specialized units to

investigate and prosecute core international crimes at the national level. So, the EU members will enable their institutions and legal systems for future trials of Russian war and other crimes, while it’s impossible to bring Russia to justice in the ICC because Russia rejects its jurisdiction.

The EU bans Russian travel documents issued in, or to persons resident in, Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine or Georgia. Bearers of such documents won’t be able to receive visas or travel into the Schengen area. With the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia imposed its citizenship on Ukrainian citizens who live on the Peninsula as if they were property attached to a territory. Russia has been issuing its passport on the occupied territories and forced to adopt its citizenship in other illegally occupied regions. But “Ex injuria jus non oritur” (illegal acts do not create law) means that the civilized world must not recognize Russian documents issued in the illegally occupied territories because otherwise, it might be viewed as a recognition of the illegal annexation.

Russian forces have installed multiple rocket launchers at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Several “Grad” systems were placed near power unit No. 6, right next to the territory of the station’s dry storage of spent nuclear fuel, where they had previously built some “protective structures” in secrecy. Russian troops have been using the site of the ZNPP for artillery attacks on a UAF-controlled town across the river. Moscow refuses to leave the illegally seized nuclear power plant under the IAEA plan and works on integrating the Ukrainian station into the power grid of the occupied territories without power supply to the rest of Ukraine. While Russia’s reckless and criminal actions pose a significant danger to the radiological security of the continent, Rosatom, a Russian state corporation, hasn’t been sanctioned yet.

“If we are talking about this disarming strike, then perhaps we should think about adopting the achievements of our American partners and their ideas of ensuring our security. We’re just thinking about it,” Vladimir Putin said. Recently the Kremlin cooled down its threatening nuclear rhetoric that was a result of strong messaging from the Biden Administration and their European allies. The signal from Beijing and New Delhi was also like a cold shower. Bloomberg reported that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off his traditional annual summit with Vladimir Putin after the ambiguous threats to use tactical nuclear arms against Ukraine. Narendra Modi tries to walk a fine line between disapproving of the invasion in general terms (Modi said that it is “not an era of war”) and making a profit out of troubles Putin got himself in (oil and arms trade with significant discounts). Putin’s words about possibly revisiting Russia’s nuclear posture and doctrinal approaches should be considered “soft” nuclear blackmail. Russia is likely not threatened by the US and its European allies either rhetorically or by deploying new capabilities. Therefore, Putin’s rhetoric, in this particular case, is a general showing-off exercise.

Russia, relevant news

The International Olympic Committee upheld the sanctions against Russia and Belarus. As a result, they will miss the 2024 Olympics. The restrictions provide that international competitions cannot be held in Russia and Belarus; flags, anthems, colors or any other designations of these countries may not be displayed at any sporting events and meetings.

The Russian government has imposed import duties on a number of personal hygiene items, including shampoos and toothpaste, as well as weapons from “unfriendly” countries, reported TASS. RIA Novosti clarifies that fees were set at 35%.

According to the Levada Centre survey published by Novaya Gazeta, almost half of Russians believe that “every real man should serve in the army”. However, over the past three years, the percentage of those supporting this position has decreased from 60% to 49%. At the same time, the share of those who consider military service a “debt to the country” has grown from 24% to 34%. Another 13% of respondents believe that military service is a senseless and dangerous occupation that should be avoided.

Only 14 car brands remain on the Russian market (previously there were 60). 11 of them are Chinese, writes RIA Novosti with reference to a letter from the Russian Automobile Dealers Association addressed to dealers of Chinese brands. The other three are domestic. Lada, GAZ, and UAZ.

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

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