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CDS Daily brief (31.12.22) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Ukrainian energy system was not seriously damaged in today’s massive Russian attack
  • President Zelensky addressed the Russian people and said that the only reason for the war is Putin’s desire to stay in power.
  • 1,596 people have been freed from Russian captivity this year


  • There is no change in the operational situation. The Russian command plans to intensify its efforts in the area of Bakhmut. Russia is peppering for defense in Zaporizhzhia direction. International:
  • Russia launched a new wave of missiles at Ukraine, while Putin addressed his subjects in a company of faked militaries. Russian Foreign Ministry believes that Moscow acts within international law and gathers the support of most foreign countries.
  • Ukraine has secured vital support for the fight for its freedom. Though the war isn’t over, justice and reparation tracks are active ones. Ukraine has inflicted a strategic defeat on Russia, though it still needs to achieve its strategic goals.


  • President Putin instructed the Russian Cabinet to draft a strategy and launch domestic mass UAV production.
Humanitarian aspect:

As a result of preventive technical measures and the excellent work of the Air Defense Forces, Ukraine’s energy system was not seriously damaged after another Russian missile attack on Saturday, December 31, the Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Halushchenko said.

Russian attacks on civilians

1 person died, and 22 were injured due to the Russian attack on Kyiv on December 31. A Japanese journalist who stayed at hotel Alfavito in downtown Kyiv, damaged by the attack, was wounded and taken to the hospital, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klychko reported.

Two children, a brother and a sister aged 13 and 12, respectively, were heavily injured due to a Russian strike on a school in the village of Naddnipryanske not far from Kherson. They were both taken to the local hospital, the head of Kherson OMA Yaroslav Yanushevych said.

As a result of the Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, 4 people were injured, including a pregnant woman and a teenage girl. They are in the emergency ward in serious condition.

On Saturday, 6 people were injured in Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine and 8 people were injured in Khmelnytskyi in the west of Ukraine as a result of a Russian missile strike, heads of the respective Oblast Military Administrations reported.


Ukraine conducted another prisoner exchange, bringing 140 people back home. Among them are the wounded defenders of Mariupol, Snake Island, territorial defense volunteers from Slavutych, and Ukrainian defenders from the Bakhmut direction. This is the 35th exchange implemented by the Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. 1,596 people, including both military servicemen and civilians, have been freed from Russian captivity this year.


1,042 events that took place on the territory of Ukraine as a result of the military intervention of the Russian Federation and caused damage to the environment were recorded in the Unified Register of Damages. The total amount of damage caused to atmospheric air, land and water resources exceeds 1.5 trillion hryvnias,” said the first deputy head, of the State Environmental Inspectorate, Dmytro Zaruba.

Occupied territories:

Russia continues the integration of the recently annexed Ukrainian territories. The 1st and 2nd army corps of the so-called DPR and LPR are included in the Russian Armed Forces, Russian newspaper Kommersant reports. The occupation administrations told doctors, utility workers and others that they had to get Russian passports to continue working. In addition, they must write a statement renouncing Ukrainian citizenship, the National Resistance Center of the Ukrainian MOD reported.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 30) developments)

It is the 311th 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 24 hours, the Russian military launched 5 missile attacks and 29 air strikes, including 26 air strikes on critical infrastructure. In particular, the Russian forces used 10 Shahed-136 UAVs, but all of them were shot down. In addition, they fired 80 MRLS rounds, also hitting peaceful towns and villages.

The Russian military continues offensive actions in the areas of Bukhmut and Avdiyivka and tries to improve its tactical position in Kupyansk and Avdiivka directions.

The situation remains stable in the Volyn, Polissya, Siversk and Slobozhansk directions; no signs of the formation of the offensive groupings have been detected.

The threat of Russian air and missile strikes on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure still persists.

Aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces made 10 strikes on the Russian military concentration areas, 3 strikes on the positions of anti-aircraft missile systems. An enemy reconnaissance UAV “Orlan-10” was shot down.

Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces missile and artillery troops hit one enemy command and control post, 7 areas of Russian manpower and military equipment concentration, 5 ammunition depots and 2 Russian radars.

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 military is trying to stabilize its defenses in the Kreminna area. It unsuccessfully attacked the areas of Stelmakhivka, Nevske, Chervonopopivka and Bilohorivka.

Two BTGs of the 137th parachute airborne regiment of the 106th parachute airborne division have arrived in the Popasna area. We should expect that they will be put into operation in the directions Popasna – Soledar or Popasna – Bakhmut.

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 tries to break through the Ukrainian Joint Forces’ defence in Bakhmut. It unsuccessfully attacked near Soledar, Bilohorivka, Bakhmutske, Pidhorodne, Bakhmut, and Klishchiivka.

In the area of Soledar, the Russian military concentrates operational reserves of 4-5 BTGs from the 56th and 108th air assault regiments of the 7th air assault division. The fact that this grouping is deployed immediately behind the battle formations of the “Wagner” PMC detachments is indicative. It can be considered an indirect response to the video message of the “Wagner” mercenaries criticizing the General Staff Commander of the Russian Armed Forces.

The Russian command plans to intensify its efforts in the area of Bakhmut. For this purpose, it redeployed up to four BTGs of the 20th motorized rifle division to the 150th motorized rifle division of the 8th Combined arms army of the Southern Military District, which will be put into operation in the area of Avdiivka, Mayorsk or in the direction of Mariinka – Novomykhailivka.

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 command combined its C2 intended to maintain the land corridor to Crimea and formed the “Dnieper” operational grouping of troops. The commander of the Airborne Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Colonel General M. Teplinsky performs the duties of its commander.

Preparations for a defensive operation in this direction are ongoing:

  • measures are taken to restore the combat capability of the 205th and 34th separate motorized rifle brigades of the 49th Army by transferring units of the so-called “Territorial troops” (formed from mobilized military units of light infantry) from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
  • operational reserves are being deployed in the Crimea and Melitopol directions, for which the newly formed 44th airborne division (111th rifle regiment of the mobilization reserve and 387th motorized rifle regiment of the territorial troops (a significant share of the officers of the tactical unit of the regiment are officers of the Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Command School)) and the 104th air assault division (1044th motorized rifle regiment of the territorial troops, the formation of the second regiment of the division continues at the base of the 83rd separate airborne assault brigade in Ulyanovsk);
  • a logistics hub was deployed in Dzhankoi, and two logistics routes, Mariupol – Berdyansk – Prymorske – Melitopol – Kakhovka and Dzhankoi – Krasnoperekopsk – Armyansk – Brylivka, were deployed.

The regrouping of troops is carried out under cover of large-scale transports of the Russian territorial troop units.

In the Polohy and Velyka Bilozerka areas, Russian losses amounted to 115 wounded soldiers. 5 units of military equipment, an anti-aircraft missile complex and an ammunition depot were destroyed.

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 127thrifle 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 is no change in the operational situation. About 200 Russian invaders were destroyed in the area of Fedorivka village of Kakhovka district.

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.

The Russian fleet constantly changes the number of ships at sea. Since the morning of December 31, there have been 5 ships at sea, and none of them was a Kalibr missile carrier. But

at the same time, the Russian Navy keeps ships and submarines in Sevastopol, which can have up to 32 Kalibr missiles, ready to go to sea in 2-4 hours. According to preliminary information, Kalibr missiles were used by the Russian Air Force during the massive missile attack on Ukraine on December 31, 2022.

In the Sea of Azov, on the approach to the Mariupol and Berdiansk seaports, 1 patrol boat is located with the purpose of blocking the Azov coast.

Russian aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. During the day, about 20 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 31.12.22

Personnel – almost 109,960 people (+710);

Tanks 3,029 (+3)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,075 (+16);

Artillery systems – 2,016 (+6);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 423 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 213 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,707 (+24); Aircraft – 283 (0);

Helicopters – 269 (+1);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,740 (+23); Intercepted cruise missiles – 711 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

During his regular video address, President Zelensky said that the missile attack on New Year’s Eve came from non-humans. He called the attackers terrorists and said they would lose and there would be no forgiveness for them. He also stressed that despite their claims of being Christians, these kinds of acts have nothing to do with Christianity. Addressing the Russian people in Russian, he said that the war “is for one person to remain in power until the end of his life. And what will be left of all of you, citizens of Russia – he does not care.”

International diplomatic aspect

Russians launched twenty cruise missiles against Ukrainian cities as a final senseless act of terror on New Year’s Eve. Vladimir Putin addressed his subjects on the background of security service agents pretending to be military. He backed his war by saying that “last year was a year of turning events that laid the foundation for Russia’s future and independence. The truth is on the side of Russia, which protects its people on its historical territories.”

Russian Foreign Ministry reported about “firmly defended national interests, based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law.” Moscow believes that its actions were positively assessed by “a majority of the world community.” The Kremlin accused

NATO of provocations on its western borders and the “collective West” of refusing Russian demands [blackmail] for security guarantees.

Most of the international community supports Ukraine’s fight for freedom by providing weapons, finances, and humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s diplomacy (from President Zelensky to Ukrainian soldiers and ordinary citizens) may enjoy significant success. Moreover, Ukraine’s success is a part of Joe Biden’s foreign policy legacy and is an integral element of the European future.

Ukraine’s resistance and Western support caused Russia’s strategic defeat, though it’s not Ukraine’s victory yet. The geopolitical overstretch will put an end to Moscow’s ability to return to the world stage as a powerful actor. Russia has lost almost all its leverage over Europe it had been building for decades. The Kremlin lost the lucrative energy market and access to technologies and high-tech goods. Russia won’t be able to redirect its energy streams eastwards, and the green shift pushes the commodities-dependent economy to compete for less attractive markets on the sidelines of the global economy.

Kyiv succeeded in gathering support for bringing Russia to justice, including by a special tribunal. The countries of the Free world provide support for collecting, processing evidence, and making court cases against war criminals and extend their jurisdiction to crimes committed by Russians in Ukraine.

Western countries are working out a legal framework to redirect Russia’s frozen assets for Ukraine’s reconstruction. There is an understanding that Ukraine needs to enjoy further support for strengthening its defense capabilities to repel further aggression. Ukraine has not achieved its strategic goals yet. Still, it’s plausible, while Russian territorial gains are not strategic, there is no chance the Kremlin can get away with it without further worsening its strategic outlook.

Russia, relevant news

Russian President Putin instructed the government to adopt the strategy for developing unmanned aircraft until 2030 and for the future until 2035 by June 1, 2023, the Kremlin press service reports. Mass production of drones and their components is planned. A government commission is to be set up to prepare proposals for implementing the production, certification and operation of UAVs, as well as a training program for specialists. Before April 1 next year, a government procurement plan for domestic drones is to be drafted. The plan should be drawn up for the period up to 2030 and provide for an increase in the supply of unmanned aerial systems for civil and special purposes. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin must determine the sources and annual amount of funding for this project, including from the federal budget, by September 2023.

On New Year’s Eve, more than 1.8 thousand military personnel will be involved in Moscow’s air defense and missile defense. In total, during the New Year holidays and weekends, about 20 thousand military personnel will be involved, the press service of the Russian Ministry of

Defense reported. A move that would have been absolutely unnecessary had Russia not attacked Ukraine in February of this year.

Six armed prisoners, forcibly recruited into “Wagner” PMC escaped from a training camp in Luhansk Oblast. Now they are being searched for on the territory of Russia. The prisoners were brought to the front line a few days ago. The men allegedly agreed to sign a contract with Prigozhin’s PMC. However, after signing the “documents”, they grabbed their weapons and fled the Russian media report.

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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