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CDS Daily brief (15.12.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Humanitarian aspect:

According to the state child search portal, “Children of War”, as of December 15, 2022, 328 children are considered missing, 13,613 have been deported, and 8,228 have been found. According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, since the beginning of the full-scale war with the Russian Federation, 447 children have died in Ukraine, and 856 have been injured.

As of December 15, there is a significant electricity deficit in Ukraine’s energy system, NEC “Ukrenergo” informed.

During the past day, on December 14, as a result of Russian armed aggression, seven civilians were killed and 19 more were injured, according to the data of Oblast military administrations (OMAs).

Russian military continued shelling Ukrainian residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Two amalgamated communities of Sumy Oblast and Nikopol district of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast were hit. Intensive shelling was reported in the Kupyansk direction of Kharkiv Oblast; an elderly woman was injured. Energy infrastructure objects were hit in the Ochakiv and Chornomorsk communities of Mykolayiv Oblast. Two civilians are reported dead in Donetsk Oblast. Two city employees were wounded in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhya Oblast.

Intensive shelling is reported in Kherson Oblast. The head of the Kherson OMA, Yaroslav Yanushevich, said that over the past day, Russian invaders shelled Kherson and Kherson Oblast 86 times, killing 3 people, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounding another 13. Another strike on downtown Kherson which killed two more people was reported at about 11 a.m. on December

15. One of the people was a volunteer at an international humanitarian organization. At 1 p.m. Yanushevich said there was a complete blackout in Kherson since the Russian shelling hit an infrastructure object in Korabelny district. Centralized water supply was restored in 10 villages in Kherson Oblast, Yaroslav Yanushevich said.

According to Andriy Nebytov, head of the police of Kyiv Oblast, still, more than 300 people are missing in the Oblast. Although international conventions forbid the capture of civilians during the war, the Russian troops kidnapped Ukrainian citizens for exchange, he said.

According to the representative survey “Refugees from Ukraine in Germany – escape, arrival and life”, presented in Berlin on Thursday, 26 percent of respondents said they want to stay in Germany forever, and 11 percent want to stay at least for a few years. Just over a third of refugees (34 percent) plan to leave Germany after the war ends. Another 27 percent of respondents were undecided. Only 2 percent of Ukrainian refugees plan to return home within a year.

Occupied territories:

Russian President Putin said that the “Mother’s capital” program intended to increase birth rates is going to be extended to the newly annexed Ukrainian oblasts. He also instructed the government to prepare a socioeconomic development program for the Oblasts before the end of the 1st quarter of 2023.

Vladimir Zelensky’s apartment in Livadia, Crimea, will be nationalized. “On principle, we will take it from him and give it to someone,” said the head of Crimea’s occupation administration, Sergei Aksyonov, in an interview with the Russian state-owned TASS agency. The move is likely another propaganda stunt intended to “impact” President Zelensky personally and make news out of it for internal consumption in Russia.

Fifteen members of the L/DPR terrorist groups, captured by the Ukrainian military during the counter-offensive, were sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason and collaborationism. They took part in combat operations against the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Kharkiv and Donetsk directions In the ranks of the 2nd Army Corps of the Russian Southern Military District.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 14) developments)

It is the 292nd 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 to focus its efforts on offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions and tries to improve the tactical position in the Kupiansk, Lyman, and Zaporizhzhya directions. In other directions, the Russian forces try to restrain the units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces have repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Verkhnokamyanske, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Vesele and Maryinka in Donetsk Oblast.

Russian forces launched 31 air and 8 missile strikes on the civilian infrastructure in Donetsk Oblast, fired 61 MLRS rounds and caused a fire impact on the Lypivka and Khrynivka areas of Chernihiv Oblast.

Russian troops attacked Ukrainian critical infrastructure with 13 “Shahed-136” and “Shahed-131 “UAVs. The area of the attack included districts of Kyiv Oblast, but the Air Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine intercepted and shot down all the UAVs.

The threat of Russian air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure facilities persists throughout Ukraine.

During the past day, the aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces made 13 strikes on the areas of enemy personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration and 5 strikes on the positions of the Russian anti-aircraft missile complexes.

Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces missile and artillery troops hit 2 enemy command and control points, and 8 areas of Russian personnel, weapons and military equipment concentration, and one fuel storage.

The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Ukrainian partisans in Donetsk Oblast provided information to the Joint Forces that enabled the Ukrainians to launch a high-precision attack on the personnel and equipment of the Russian Armed Forces in Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast killing 100 Russian servicemen.

At least 20 Ukrainian partisans in the city of Kherson provided constant intelligence to Ukrainian forces during the Russian occupation of the city of Kherson. Intelligence provided by Ukrainian guerrillas played a key role in directing Ukrainian precision strikes that eventually forced Russian forces to abandon the city in November.

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 shelled Ukrainian troops’ positions in Chervona Zorya, Krasne, Starytsya, Dvorichna and Novomlynsk in Kharkiv Oblast, Makiivka, Ploshanka and Chervopopivka in Luhansk Oblast and Yampolivka, Torske and Vedmezhe in Donetsk Oblast.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continued the counter-offensive in the direction of Svatove, Kreminna. They tried to break through to the P-66 Svatove – Kreminna route near Svatove and conducted defense in Novoselivske. They repulsed Russian attacks northwest of Svatove, in Chervonopopivka, Serebryanka, and Bilohorivka areas of Luhansk Oblast, and in the areas of Hranikivka and Novoselyvskyi, Kharkiv Oblast. On the night of December 12 to 13, Ukrainian troops struck the Russian troops’ concentration area near Novoaidar, Luhansk Oblast, causing more than 15 Russian casualties.

Russian troops repelled the Ukrainian assault near Kreminna and Ploshanka, conducted counter- reconnaissance operations near Torske and Dibrova, tried to counterattack in Svatove and Kreminna areas, tried to advance to Stelmakhivka and Makiivka to restrain the actions of Ukrainian forces.

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 Russian military shelled seventeen towns and villages, including Verkhnokamyanske, Spirne, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Hryhorivka, Bakhmut, Ozaryanivka, Severnye, Opytne, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Heorgiivka, and Maryinka of Donetsk Oblast. The Russian forces carried out airstrikes near Bakhmut and Maryinka.

Units of the “Georgian Legion” liberated three villages near the M03 highway, which greatly complicated the logistics of the Russian grouping.

The aggressor continued the offensive in the vicinity of Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and stormed Ukrainian positions in the area of Yakovlivka, Pidhorodnie, Klishchiivka, Opytne, Vodyane, Pervomaiske.

The Ukrainian Joint Forces repelled Russian assaults near Bakhmut, in the area of Kurdyumivka and in the area of Bilohorivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Nevelske, Maryinka, Pobyeda and Novomykhailivka. Battles continue near Pisky and Vodiane.

Fierce fighting continues in Mariinka.

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 forces fired at Vuhledar, Prechystivka, Vremivka, Novopol and Neskuchne in Donetsk Oblast, Hulyaipilske, Orikhiv, Mala Tokmachka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and carried out an airstrike in the area of the city of Vuhledar.

After an unsuccessful attempt to capture the Ukrainian Defence Forces’ positions in Velyka Novosilka, the occupiers went on the defensive.

From December 12 to 14, the Defense Forces carried out a number of strikes on areas where the aggressor’s troops were concentrated throughout 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 military shelled the villages of Novovorontsovka, Osokorivka, Novotyaginka, Tokarivka, Yantarne of Kherson Oblast and the city of Kherson. The occupying forces mined summer cottages and the banks of the Konka and Chaika rivers within the boundaries of the Oleshky urban territorial community. The enemy forcibly evacuated the citizens of Ukraine, who lived on the island of Velyky Potemkinsky, to the territory still under the control of the Russian invaders.

The Ukrainian Defense Forces struck recreation bases where Russian soldiers lived in Skadovsk and Lazurne on the night of December 13 and the morning of December 14.

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 conditions, the Russian fleet has only 8 surface ships at sea. They are located along the southwestern coast of Crimea. There is one Kalibr cruise missile carrier.

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. The largest concentration of aircraft is observed at the Belbek airfield (Sevastopol), where up to 70 combat aircraft and helicopters (MiG-29, MiG-31, Su-30, Su- 35S, Su-34, Ka-27, Mi-8) and seven air defense systems (“S-400” and “Pantsir”) were detected. Over the past day, 16 combat aircraft from Belbek and Saki airfields were involved.

According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops in occupied Crimea try to build additional fortifications at the coastline, fearing the landing of Ukrainian landing forces. In particular, a network of mine barriers, dugouts and trenches has recently been built along the coast near Molochne village (Saki district). In addition, the so-called “dragon’s teeth” are installed – rows of concrete pyramids, which are supposed to stop the advance of heavy equipment.

As of December 13, 2022, the burials of at least 229 Russian army soldiers have already taken place in the occupied Crimea. 130 of them were probably citizens of Ukraine.

“The Grains initiative”: UN Deputy Secretary-General Martin Griffiths said it was unlikely that the “grains deal” would be expanded in the near term by adding new shipping ports or reducing the inspection of cargo ships. Earlier, Ukraine called for the expansion of the agreement. “I don’t see that happening in the near future,” Griffiths said in an interview with Reuters in Kyiv.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 15.12.22

Personnel – almost 96,590 people (+590);

Tanks – 2,975 (+5)

Armored combat vehicles – 5,946 (+9);

Artillery systems – 1,943 (+12);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 406 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 211 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,563 (+1); Aircraft – 281 (0);

Helicopters – 264 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,644 (+27); Intercepted cruise missiles – 592 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

According to the Permanent Presidential Representative to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, the first thing Ukraine will do after liberating Crimea is “the verification, restoration and issuance of Ukrainian state documents, as well as review of court decisions.” Tasheva stressed that “In 2014, the occupying administrations automatically made residents of occupied Crimea citizens of the Russian Federation, including even those who at the time were not on the peninsula.” She said that, according to the law, Ukraine doesn’t recognize forced citizenship and that all residents of Crimea remain Ukrainian citizens. As for the court cases, the review will concern cases where human rights were violated and those in which the occupation administrations were one of the parties. “It is obvious that all our political prisoners, who are imprisoned due to falsified accusations with verdicts from the occupation courts, will be released even without a review of the cases,” Tasheva said.

97% of Ukrainians are confident that Ukraine will be able to repulse Russia’s attack, according to a poll by the Rating sociological group conducted on November 20-21. 75% are entirely confident of this, and 21% are rather sure. In the western regions [of Ukraine], 80% of respondents are confident in the country’s ability to repel an attack, in the center – 75%, in the east – 74%, in the south – 71%. Compared to January 2022, the number of people sure that the offensive will be repelled has increased from 56 to 97%.

When asked during a briefing at the Military Media Center whether a temporary ceasefire was possible for the New Year, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksiy Gromov, said, “I believe that there will be a complete ceasefire on our part only when not a single occupier remains on our land.”

The negative balance of Ukraine’s foreign trade in goods in January-October 2022 increased 2.6 times compared to the same period in 2021 – up to $7.05 billion from $2.69 billion, according to the data of the State Statistics Service.

International diplomatic aspect

The European Parliament has recognized the “Holodomor, the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine caused by a deliberate policy of the Soviet regime, as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.” The EU legislature called on Russia, which is the legal successor of the Soviet Union, to “officially recognize the Holodomor and apologize for these crimes.” It was adopted by 507 votes in favor, 12 against with 17 abstentions. So far, 20 countries, including Ukraine, have recognized Holodomor as a genocide. Impunity for the terrific crime that took up to 9 million Ukrainians’ lives is one reason Russia commits atrocities 90 years later.

Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has reported on the Human rights situation in Ukraine. Some 7.83 million have fled the country, and 6.5 million are internally displaced. More than 18 million people require humanitarian aid. In addition, about 1.5 million children are at risk of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental conditions. So far, the Office has documented the killings of 441 civilians (341 men, 72 women, 20 boys, and 8 girls) by Russian troops in 102 villages and towns in Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy

regions between February and April. The actual figures are likely to be considerably higher as the Office is working to corroborate additional 198 alleged killings in these regions.

At the same time, the Russian Parliament has adopted in the first reading a bill that would enable the clearing of criminal responsibility for crimes committed in the occupied territories of Ukraine if they were committed for the purpose of “protecting the interests of Russia.”

Anton Korynevych, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry special envoy, met with the US officials arguing for creating a special tribunal to prosecute top-level Russian officials for the crime of aggression. “We have a loophole, a gap in accountability, when we talk about accountability for the crime of aggression against Ukraine,” he said. “Legally, currently, there is no international mechanism, which can investigate and prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine,” that’s why Ukraine seeks support for the special tribunal.

Russia’s presence on the United Nations Security Council “violates the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” reads a resolution introduced into US Congress by members of the Helsinki Commission. The resolution calls on the Department of State “to pursue all appropriate steps with Allies, partners, and other countries to limit, suspend, or terminate the participation or membership of the Russian Federation in other organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations.” Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN has been questioning the very legitimacy of the membership and permanent seat of the Russian Federation in the UN Security Council. According to the UN Charter, it is the Soviet Union that is still represented in the organization. Russia has never applied for membership, and there has never been a vote of any kind to gift Moscow a permanent seat in the Council.

Russia, relevant news

A joint investigation between RUSI, Reuters and iStories, published on December 15, shows that the well-known Russian Orlan-10 UAV relies on complex supply chains that reach far beyond Russia’s borders and that the Russian military-affiliated manufacturer of the Orlan-10 UAV1 has, in fact, drastically increased imports of critical Western-manufactured components since the February 2022    invasion           of                      Ukraine   began.          https://rusi.org/explore-our- research/publications/special-resources/orlan-complex-tracking-supply-chains-russias-most- successful-uav

According to Russian President Putin, the formation of technological sovereignty and the growth of the manufacturing industry are among the main tasks of the Russian Federation for 2023.

Since the beginning of 2022, Gazprom’s production has decreased by 19.6% to 394.1 billion cubic meters of gas, the company said.

Trade turnover between Russia and Japan decreased by 35.5% in annual terms, according to the statistics released by the Japanese Ministry of Finance.

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