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CDS Daily brief (01.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russian shelling, kamikaze UAV and missile attacks on civilian targets intensified throughout Ukraine around New Year’s Eve. Yet, due to production bottlenecks, Russians can’t sustain their attacks’ tempo and scope.
  • In 2022 Ukrainian railways evacuated more than 4 million Ukrainians from the frontlines and transported 314,000 tons of humanitarian aid.
  • In 2022, air-raid sirens sounded all over Ukraine 14,870 times. The last day of the year and the first day of 2023 were no exception.
  • Russia’s ability to cause damage to Ukraine’s energy system is diminished.
  • Ukrainian intelligence compiles a database of Russian war criminals for subsequent persecution in the international court.


  • There is no significant change in the operational situation.


  • Ukraine didn’t vote against an anti-Israeli resolution after Benjamin Netanyahu failed to ensure a change in his no-arms-for-Ukraine policy.
  • Russian Jews should leave the country, according to the former Moscow Chief Rabbi.
  • The President of Russia’s decree on increasing the Armed Forces’ size came into force, which means an increase in 20 000 military servicemen.
Humanitarian aspect:

As of the morning of January 1, 2023, more than 1,328 children were affected in Ukraine as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. According to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 452 children died, and more than 876 were injured, Prosecutor General’s Office reports.

Since the beginning of the full-scale military invasion, more than 4 million people have been evacuated from the line of fire by the national railway company “Ukrzaliznytsia” trains, and 314,000 tons of humanitarian aid have been transported, Deputy Prime Minister for Reconstruction – Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said.

Ukrainian intelligence knows all the Russian commanders participating in the war against Ukraine and collects all the necessary data for the international court, where they will be prosecuted as war criminals, Vadym Skybytskyi, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, said. Skybytskyi stressed that war crimes have no statute of limitations.

The international tribunal regarding the Russian Federation must be created now and not wait until the war ended with Ukraine’s victory. Law should not depend on the strength of

authoritarian regimes, Oleksandra Matviychuk, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties organization, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022, said.

Russian attacks

On the eve of 2023, Russia attacked 11 Ukrainian Oblasts, heads of respective Oblast Military Administrations (OMAs) reported at 9 a.m. round-up on January 1.

  • Kyiv Oblast: during the day, the Oblast suffered a massive rocket attack. On the night of December 31-January 1, Kyiv Region repelled a drone attack of almost three dozen drones. No casualties. There is damage to the infrastructure object.
  • Khmelnitsky: 8 vehicles, 13 residential buildings, and warehouses were damaged. There is a hit at the gas station. 7 civilians were hospitalized; the youngest victim was 19 years old, and a 22-year-old girl died.
  • Chernihiv Oblast: Novgorod-Siversky district was shelled with mortars once in the past day. No losses and destruction.
  • Sumy Oblast: during the past day, the enemy made 110 strikes on the border areas. At night, around midnight, 6 mines flew over the Seredyno-Budsk community.
  • Zaporizhzhia Oblast: the [Russian] occupiers shelled civilian infrastructure in 15 towns and villages. Damages are reported.
  • Kharkiv Oblast: Russian forces used mortars and artillery to attack the peaceful population of the towns and villages of Kharkiv Oblast. In Kupyansk, farm buildings were damaged, large-scale fires broke out.
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast: Russians shelled the Nikopol district twice on New Year’s Eve with “Grad” MLRS and heavy artillery. A woman was injured in Nikopol.
  • Luhansk Oblast: massive shelling. The situation in the Oblast is tough.
  • Donetsk Oblast: shelling of residential areas.
  • Mykolayiv Oblast: on the night of December 31 and the morning of January 1, the Russian forces struck the port area and the Ochakiv community. Kotsyrubivka community was shelled. December 31 afternoon, Mykolaiv came under Russian rocket fire. Civilian infrastructure damage and fires were reported. Seven people were injured as a result of the December 31 attack.
  • Kherson Oblast: the situation in the region remains difficult. There is constant shelling of residential areas.

The air alert was on in all regions of Ukraine on New Year’s eve. It started in the southern regions and then spread to the center. In Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast, the alarm started just after midnight of the new year and lasted for more than 4 hours. It was finally called off at 05:00 throughout the territory of Ukraine.

Another air raid alert was on around 9 p.m on January 1. Two groups of kamikaze UAVs entered Ukrainian airspace. Kyiv Oblast was again under the threat of the UAV attack.

Buildings of Kyiv National University (located in the Holosiyiv district of Kyiv) were significantly damaged by December 31 attack, the University administration reported. The damage exceeds the October 10 damage to the University.


Russian attacks on New Year’s night left the city of Kherson and neighboring villages without electricity, the head of Kherson OMA, Yaroslav Yanushevich, said. The Russian military hit a critical infrastructure object in the city.

Ukraine has already passed the worst with Russian missile attacks, the Chairman of NEC “Ukrenergo” Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said. “The dynamics of these attacks and their effect show that the Russians have less ability to cause any disruption in our energy system. But in theory, the possibility of a complete blackout still exists.”

Ukraine’s Chief of Military Intelligence believes that Russia possesses missiles for only a couple more massive strikes; therefore, they have reduced the number of fired missiles per wave of attack to keep the intensity. According to Kyrylo Budanov, it takes 1.5-2 months to produce enough missiles to launch a massive attack of several dozens of missiles.

Operational situation

(Please note that this section of the Brief is mainly on the previous day’s (December 31) developments)

It is the 312th 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 31 missile strikes and 12 air strikes, fired more than 70 MRLS rounds, and launched 13 “Shahed 136” attack UAVs. However, all of them were destroyed by the Ukrainian defense forces. The civilian infrastructure of Chernihiv, Sumy, Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts was affected. Territorial communities located near the state border in Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv Oblasts were shelled by the Russian military.

The situation remains stable in the Volyn, Polissya, Siversk and Slobozhanskiy directions. The Russian military maintains a presence in the border areas; however, no signs have been detected that offensive groupings are being formed.

The threat of Russian air and missile strikes persists throughout the territory of Ukraine.

Aviation of the Ukrainian Defense Forces made several strikes on the Russian concentration areas and the position of their anti-aircraft missile system. Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces missile and artillery troops hit one enemy command and control post, 4 areas of Russian manpower and military equipment concentration, and a Russian UAV control post.

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.

There is no change in the operational situation. During the last week alone, about 350 wounded Russian servicemen were taken to the city hospital of Bilovodsk, Luhansk Oblast.

In the area of Lyman Druhy village of Kharkiv Oblast, the Russian forces have intensified counter- intelligence measures and search for the pro-Ukrainian population.

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 operational situation as a whole is unchanged. After a long break, the Russian forces used tanks in this direction. Assault squads of the “Wagner” PMC broke through to the center of Opytne, slightly pushing back the units of the Ukrainian Joint Forces; despite the losses, Russian troops continued to storm Klishchiivka.

The Russian military expanded the section of the front in the Maryinka area and attacked along its entire width from Pobyeda to Krasnohorivka.

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.

There is no change in the operational situation.

The territorial split between the Russian operational zones has formally changed: the division line between the “Dnieper” operational grouping and the operational grouping of the South-Donetsk direction runs along the Vasylivka – Tokmak – Berdyansk highway.

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.

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 kept 5 ships in the sea, and none of them was a Kalibr missile carrier. But at the same time, the Russian Navy maintains ships and submarines in Sevastopol, which can have up to 32 Kalibr missiles ready to go to sea in 2-4 hours. The Russian Air Force did not use Kalibr missiles 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, one Russian 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 ten sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.

The following vessels passed through the Kerch-Yenikal Strait in the interests of the Russian Federation:

  • 23 vessels in the direction of the Sea of Azov, of which 3 vessels moved out of the Bosphorus Strait;
  • 27 ships in the direction of the Black Sea, of which 6 ships continued their movement to the Bosphorus Strait.

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

“Grain Initiative”: Ukraine has already harvested more than 60 million tons of crops during the ten months of the war. In 2023, Ukraine will continue to support the Ukrainian agricultural sector, which has shown its effective work since the beginning of the full-scale war of the Russian Federation.

The “Grain Initiative” allowed to export 15 million tons of products from Ukraine in 2022, and another 10 million tons were sent abroad through the Danube ports.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 01.01.2023

Personnel – almost 106,720 people (+760);

Tanks – 3,031 (+2)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,084 (+9);

Artillery systems – 2,021 (+5);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 423 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 213 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,720 (+13); Aircraft – 283 (0);

Helicopters – 269 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,792 (+46); Intercepted cruise missiles – 723 (+12);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

In 2022, air-raid sirens sounded all over Ukraine 14,870 times. The last day of 2022 and the first day of 2023 were no exception. Forty-four Shahed-131/136 kamikaze drones were intercepted. “Happy New Year” was written on one of the downed drones [directed at civilian infrastructure].

“Our servicemen barely had time to recharge the NASAMS. It was like artillery fire. Apparently, no one has such experience of using this air defense system: reloading the complex and destroying air targets during the battle,” Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman said.

International diplomatic aspect

Axios reports that the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister asked the Ukrainian President to vote against the UN General Assembly’s Resolution on the “Israeli practices and settlement activities affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories.” Volodymyr Zelensky asked Benjamin Netanyahu to supply Ukraine with air defense systems in return but was not satisfied with an ambivalent answer. Ukraine didn’t take part in the voting. Earlier this year, Benjamin Netanyahu justified the refusal of sending weapons to Ukraine with that they might fall into the “wrong” hands and fire back at Israel.

“When we look back on Russian history, whenever the political system was in danger, the government tried to redirect the anger and discontent of the masses to the Jewish community,” former Moscow’s Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said. He believes it’s better for the Russian Jews to leave the country “before they are made scapegoats” for the hardships caused by the war against Ukraine. Meanwhile, Putin is waging war with the Ukrainian “Nazis,” “headed” by the Jewish President and with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces visiting the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine to share the joy of Hanukkah.

Russia, relevant news

The UK Foreign Office has announced that London has stopped importing Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) from January 1. The agency emphasized that gas supplies allow Russia to finance the war in Ukraine. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, in 2022, the United States became the largest source of LNG supplies to London. In 2023, it is planned to replace Russian LNG with supplies from Qatar and Azerbaijan.

On January 1, the President of Russia’s decree on increasing the Armed Forces’ size came into force. According to the document, the size of the Russian army is increased to 2,039,758 people, of which 1,150,628 are servicemen. In the previous decree, this figure was 1,902,758, of which 1,130,628 people are military personnel (i.e. an increase of 20 000 military servicemen).

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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