Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (13.12.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

The Office of the Prosecutor General informed that the prosecutors have already established 154 facts of sexual violence by Russian servicemen. New facts of sexual violence related to the conflict are established in the de-occupied territories. Joint mobile groups of prosecutors, international experts and psychologists work there. 6 servicemen of the Russian Federation have already been notified of the suspicion. Indictments against 2 persons were sent to the court, and one person was convicted.

According to the Oblast Military Administrations (OMAs) data, 7 civilians were killed, and 22 more were injured in the past day, December 12, as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.

Consequences of enemy shelling on the morning of December 13:

  • At night, the Russians shelled the Seredyno-Buda community in Sumy Oblast. An apartment building and a power line were damaged.
  • During the past day, Russian occupiers shelled the territory of Kherson Oblast 57 times. In Kherson, they targeted a school, a stadium, medical facilities, power lines, an infrastructure facility, and private and apartment buildings. 3 killed and 15 wounded civilians were reported.
  • Yesterday, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, shelling damaged villages in Komyshuvaha, Polohy and Vasylivka districts. In Komyshuvaha, the occupiers, in particular, destroyed the monument on the grave of the unknown soldiers who died fighting the Nazis 80 years ago, Oleksandr Starukh, head of Zaporizhzhia OMA, said.
  • Kharkiv, Chuhuyiv, Izyum and Kupyansk districts of Kharkiv Oblast were shelled during the last day. In Kupyansk, an S-300 rocket completely destroyed a two-story administrative building. After 4 a.m., the Russian occupiers fired at the ambulance; a paramedic was injured.
  • The enemy repeatedly shelled the Ochakiv hromada of Mykolayiv Oblast. One person was wounded, and residential buildings were damaged and destroyed. An infrastructure object was damaged in the Kutsuruby community.
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russians shelled all night from “Grads” Nikopol, Chervonogryhorivka and Marganets Hromadas. In Nikopol, dozens of high-rise and private buildings, utility buildings, administrative buildings, a store, and power lines were mutilated. More than 10 private houses and commercial buildings were damaged in the Chervonogryhorivska community, and power lines were damaged.
  • In Vuhledar of Donets Oblast, 4 houses were damaged by shelling. No casualties were reported. In Hirnyk – 2 civilians were killed and 12 injured; 9 high-rise buildings and a utility building were damaged. In Kurakhivka, the enterprise building was damaged. The college building was completely burned down in Bakhmut, and a residential building and a Youth Center were damaged. On December 13, The occupiers shelled Kramatorsk again. They

hit the industrial zone and the Institute of Technology and Management building, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of Donetsk OMA. There is no information about the victims.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 12) developments)

It is the 293rd 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 occupiers continue to carry out full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine. They do not stop striking civilian infrastructure, violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war.

The enemy continues to focus on conducting offensive actions in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Zaporizhzhia directions. In other directions, the enemy is trying to restrain the Defense Forces units’ actions. It is shelling the positions of Ukrainian troops and civilian objects along the entire line of contact and carrying out engineering equipment of defensive lines and positions.

Over the past day, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the enemy attacks in the areas of Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Novoyehorivka, Makiivka, Chervonopopivka, and Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast and Verkhnyokamianske, Soledar, Yakovlivka, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk, Avdiivka, and Maryinka in Donetsk Oblast.

During the day, the enemy launched 7 missile strikes, 5 of which hit the civilian infrastructure of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk Oblast, and fired 79 MLRS rounds, including at Kherson. There are civilian casualties. The enemy carried out mortar and artillery shelling of the areas of Seredyna- Buda and Ryasne Sumy Oblast, Strilecha, Starytsia, Ohirtseve, Hatyshche, Volohivka, Okhrimivka, Chuhunivka, Ambarne, Dvorichna, Kamianka of Kharkiv Oblast.

The threat of the enemy launching air and missile strikes on civilian infrastructure persists throughout Ukraine.

During the past day, the Aircraft of the Defense Forces carried out 5 strikes on areas of enemy personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration.

Over the past day, units of the missile forces and artillery of the Defense Forces hit 2 enemy command and control points, 6 personnel concentration areas, and the fuel warehouse.

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 enemy shelled by tanks and artillery areas of Kyslivka, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, and Berestove of Kharkiv Oblast; Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Novoyehorivka, Makyiivka, Bilohorivka of Luhansk Oblast and Terna, Yampolivka, Torske of Donetsk Oblast.

Units of the 448th and 254th motorized rifle regiments of the 144th motorized rifle division, which tried to break through to Torske and Zarichne, switched to the defensive. It is explained by the critical losses they suffered during the offensive.

Units of the 247th air assault regiment of the 7th Air assault division arrived in the Svatove area and began an offensive in the direction of Kolomychykha. Radio intercepts allow us to assert the high level of motivation of these units.

The enemy’s offensive potential in the north of Luhansk Oblast is practically exhausted. The losses have reached a critical level, and attempts to replenish the units with mobilized personnel do not significantly change the situation.

The Russian occupiers continued to use the infrastructure of medical and sanatorium-resort facilities in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine to provide qualified medical care to their wounded servicemen. E.g., in Luhansk, one of the buildings of the maternity hospital was converted into a military hospital.

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 fired tanks and artillery at Verkhnokamianske, Vyimka, Spirne, Bilohorivka, Vesele, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Pidgorodnie, Bakhmut, Chasiv Yar, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Druzhba, Zalizne, New York, Krasnohorivka, Berdychi, Vesele, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka and Maryinka.

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 enemy fired artillery at Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Novoukrainka, Prechystivka, Vremivka and Zolota Nyva of Donetsk Oblast, Zelene Pole, Novopil, Novodarivka, Malynivka, Hulyaipole, Dorozhnyanka, Hulyaipilske, Charivne, Biloghirya, Mala Tokmachka, Orihiv, Mali Shcherbaky, Kamianske and Plavni of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

In Melitopol, the premises of a children’s sanatorium are used as a military hospital. Medical personnel from the Russian Federation are involved in providing medical assistance.

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 enemy carried out mortar and artillery attacks on Kherson Oblast towns and villages bordering the contact line. Antonivka, Chornobayivka and Kherson were the most affected.

Russian occupation forces’ command rotates individual units. The Russian troops that arrive in the temporarily occupied territories settle in abandoned and forcibly “vacated” houses of local residents. In addition, on December 10-11, the withdrawal of enemy units from near Novomykolaivka and Mykhailivka of Kherson Oblast was detected.

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 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.

Due to stormy weather conditions, the enemy keeps only 10 surface ships at sea. They are located along the southwestern coast of Crimea.

There were no Kalibr cruise missile carriers at sea. They are mostly based in Sevastopol, and the time for their deployment to firing positions on the outer Sevastopol raid is estimated at 3-4 hours. The maximum possible number of missiles is up to 36 (three battle-ready surface ships and three submarines at the moment).

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

During the day, in the interests of the Russian Federation, passage through the Kerch-Yenikal Strait was carried out:

  • to the Sea of Azov – 7 vessels, of which 3 ships moved from the Bosphorus Strait;
  • to the Black Sea – 17 vessels, of which 7 ships continued their movement in the direction of the Bosphorus Strait.

Russia continues to violate the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) by turning off automatic identification systems (AIS) on civilian vessels in the Sea of Azov.

Enemy aviation continues to fly from Crimean airfields Belbek and Gvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Over the past day, 16 combat aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were deployed.

“Grain initiative”: 8 ships with 238.6 thousand tons of agricultural products for Asia and Europe left the ports of Great Odesa. Currently, 23 ships are being processed in the ports. 690,000 tons of Ukrainian agricultural products are loaded onto them.

Since August 1, 550 ships have left the ports of Great Odesa, which exported 13.8 million tons of Ukrainian food to Asia, Europe and Africa.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 13.12.22

Personnel – almost 95,260 people (+500);

Tanks – 2,966 (0)

Armored combat vehicles – 5,930 (+2);

Artillery systems – 1,931 (+2);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 404 (+7); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 211 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,549 (+5); Aircraft – 281 (0);

Helicopters – 264 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,617 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 592 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

From the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, the hostilities directly affected 11 regions of Ukraine, and more than 50 thousand objects need quick restoration, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during an online speech at the Forum on Economic Stability and Reconstruction of Ukraine, which is taking place in Paris.

In [the last] one and a half months, the Russian Federation carried out eight strikes on the Ukrainian energy system, launching more than a thousand missiles and drones, but could not destroy it, stated Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during the national telethon.

Importation of generators and Starlink without duty and VAT is introduced in Ukraine. The norm will be valid until May 2023, including for individuals. The Parliament supported the relevant bill, MP Zheleznyak said.

More than 60% of Ukrainians will spend part of the budget allocated for New Year and Christmas purchases to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and those who suffered from the war, according to the results of market research by Deloitte.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine published instructions for the Russian military on how to surrender to a drone, which will make the surrender procedure safer. The corresponding video instruction is posted on the Facebook page of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is assumed that the Russian military who wants to surrender will first notify the “I Want to Live” coordination headquarters and receive the coordinates and time of the drone’s arrival. When a drone appears, those who want to surrender must confirm their intentions by raising their hands to the side and up, and then follow the drone to the meeting point with the Ukrainian military.

International diplomatic aspect

According to CNN, the Biden Administration is considering sending Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine. If approved, it won’t take long to send it off and start operators’ training at the US base in Germany. Meanwhile, the UK Secretary of Defence said that the UK might consider sending

Ukraine indigenous long-range weapon systems, ATACMS alike, should Russia continue targeting civilian infrastructure and violate the Geneva conventions. Facing the new threats with Russia acquiring more Iranian drones and ballistic missiles, it’s crucially important to provide Ukraine with the capabilities necessary to protect its critical infrastructure and target platforms used to wage illegal warfare.

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expects a yearlong government funding bill to be passed soon. It will include more funding for Ukraine, which is agreed upon by both parties. This is the good news because, during the midterm elections, some republicans were arguing to stop the aid flowing to Ukraine. Tucker Carlson, a Fox News anchor, has recently been pushing bizarre allegations against Ukraine and its President that resonate with Russian propaganda. It triggered some fears that such nonsense may affect crucially needed assistance.

An international donor conference in Paris aimed at helping Ukraine in the short run fundraised

€1 billion. The money, pledged by 46 countries and 24 international organizations, will go for restoring Ukraine’s energy network, damaged by Russian missile and drone attacks, water supply, health, and transportation. The EU will provide 40 new large generators to power 30 hospitals. Member states will deliver medium power generators (France -100, Slovakia – 19, Germany -23), transformers (Lithuania – 252), and emergency power systems (Poland – 4).

The French President said that an agreement had been reached with Russians on removing heavy weapons from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and the practical steps are being negotiated. However, the Kremlin’s spokesperson said, “I want to remind you of the words of President Putin that there were no heavy weapons at the station itself, and this can be clearly confirmed by those IAEA employees who are there day and night.”

It’s one of the key problems some western leaders face with Russia – they’re ready to believe what they were told, while Russian officials are not only shy of lying but do it all the time. Russia denied that it was Russian troops who took over governmental buildings in Crimea in 2014. Russia denied that it was Russian intelligence officers who launched and headed a “separatist movement” in Donbas (the first head of “government” and the first “minister” of defense of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic were Russian citizens and FSB operatives). Russia insisted it was a mediator, not a party to the conflict under the so-called Minsk arrangements. The list of lies is way too long.

Russia rejected President Zelensky’s peace appeal to withdraw Russian troops from the Ukrainian territories during Christmas as a sign of willingness to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. “The Ukrainian side needs to take into account the realities that have developed over all this time,” Dmitri Peskov said. “And these realities indicate that the Russian Federation has new subjects [all illegally annexed territories].”

Russia, relevant news

The UK government is considering using a mechanism to use the frozen assets of sanctioned Russians to restore Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said.

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