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CDS Daily brief (06.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Despite the Christmas ceasefire announced by Russia, the shelling of Ukraine continued. The civilian infrastructure of Kramatorsk, Kurakhove and Kherson was attacked. In Kurakhove, the local hospital was hit.
  • Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on Ukrainians to be prepared for emergency power outages due to worsening weather conditions.
  • Ukrainian businesses paid more in taxes in 2022 than in 2021.


  • There were no significant changes in the battle line; the enemy regained control over Kreminna; the enemy lost positions in Bilohorivka.
  • The enemy started transferring part of their forces from the Bakhmut direction to the Kreminna area. In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy maintains a grouping of 40- 45,000 personnel with estimated high combat capability.
  • During the week, the Russian army did not send a single missile carrier on duty in the waters of the Black Sea. The missile carrier with eight Kalibr missiles was last noted in the Black Sea on December 30.
  • Escalation indicators: A local offensive by the enemy motorized rifle brigade in the Hulyaipole area, occupying several abandoned villages in the gray zone, should be considered as large-scale training of personnel called up from the reserve in conditions close to the conditions of a combat operation.
  • Prospects for the operation situation developments: despite the enemy’s retreat from the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut, the battle for the city should not be considered over. The likely operational development may include an attempt of two enemy counterattacks in the direction of Pokrovsk.


  • The US and Germany have announced sending IFVs to Ukraine. Germany will also match the US Patriot air defense system delivery to Ukraine, which is particularly welcomed by Poland, which has called for it since November.
  • Wagner PMC announced the release of about twenty criminal convicts who had fought and survived in Ukraine for half of a year. They were even awarded medals.
  • The US has sanctioned several physical persons involved in producing UAVs and missiles. There is still the ability of Iran and Russia to circumvent sanctions and export control restrictions to make weapons with Western-made components.
Humanitarian aspect:

As of the morning of January 6, 2023, more than 1,330 Ukrainian children are victims of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. 453 of them died, and more than 877 were injured of various degrees of severity, according to the official information of juvenile prosecutors. However, the data is inconclusive since data collection continues in active hostilities, temporarily occupied areas, and liberated territories.

Moreover, according to the data of the state child search portal “Children of War” as of January 6, 353 children are considered missing, and 8,744 have been found.

Russian attacks:

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that it will adhere to the ceasefire proposed by Vladimir Putin from noon on January 6 until midnight on January 7. However, despite the announced “ceasefire”, the shelling of Ukraine by the Russian army continued today. The civilian infrastructure of Kramatorsk, Kurakhove and Kherson was attacked. In Kurakhove, Russian military targeted the local hospital. In addition, despite the declared “Christmas truce” Russian military opened artillery fire 14 times and tried to storm one of the de-occupied villages of Luhansk Oblast three times, the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, Serhii Gaidai, reported.

During the nine years of the war [since 2014], the Russian Federation never adhered to the ceasefire agreements and violated them 11 times, said Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Hanna Malyar.

Consequences of enemy shelling as of the morning of January 6:
  • The Russians hit Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, twice at night with heavy artillery. Several private houses, a gas pipeline and a power line were damaged. The farm building was destroyed.
  • Over the past 24 hours, the National Police received 21 reports of destruction due to the shelling of the civilian infrastructure of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Yesterday, the enemy hit the water area of the Ochakiv community in Mykolayiv Oblast. No victims were reported.
  • Occupiers shelled the territory of Kherson Oblast 58 times during January 5. Six people were killed, and 4 more wounded. One rescuer died due to the January 6 shelling of the fire department in Kherson. Four more were injured. The Russians also attacked a residential building located next to the fire department. In two days, the occupiers attacked the second fire department in Kherson.
  • On January 5, 1 person died in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, from enemy shelling. 3 more were wounded. In the morning, the Russian military shelled the center of Kurakhove. In the city, 2 high-rise buildings, 1 private house, and the local hospital were damaged. According to the deputy head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, there were 21 people at the hospital at the time of the impact. One of the hospital employees was injured.
  • The Russian occupiers continue shelling the border towns and villages of the Kupyansk, Kharkiv and Chuhuyiv districts of Kharkiv Oblast. A civil industry building was damaged in Kupyansk, and the lyceum was partially destroyed in Dvorichna. One person is wounded.
Energy system:

Since the beginning of the year, despite Russia’s intensive attacks on energy facilities, the situation with electricity supply has improved in most regions, but blackout schedules will be applied during the cold season, reported the press service of the Ministry of Energy.

NEC “Ukrenergo” predicts that a significant cooling [of the temperature], expected in the near future, would lead to a rapid increase in consumption, which the energy system is currently unable to fully cover due to the damage and occupation by the enemy of a number of power plants that produce electricity, in particular, and the most powerful – the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on Ukrainians to be prepared for emergency power outages. “From today, a significant cold is expected. Accordingly, consumption will increase, and the deficit in the energy system will increase. In addition, the enemy is ready to launch another missile attack on civilian and energy infrastructure. Therefore, we should all be ready for the renewal of emergency shutdowns.”

As reported earlier, massive Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure have been ongoing since October 10. The energy system was subjected to 11 missile and 14 drone attacks. Damage to generation facilities and networks is complex and large-scale.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres dismissed the mission to investigate the circumstances of the death of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the colony in Yelenivka. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric specified that the reason for the disbandment of the mission was the lack of necessary security guarantees.

Investigation of war crimes

The Security Service of Ukraine identified three Russians who tortured civilians in occupied Zaporizhzhia. It was established that they “personally participated in the illegal detention and torture of Ukrainian citizens, used poisonous chemicals and electric current on the victims, and constantly threatened to kill close relatives,” the SBU said.

Operational situation

General conclusion:

There were no significant changes in the operational situation. The enemy continued to focus its primary efforts on attempts to establish control over the Donetsk region, conducted offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Lyman directions, and tried to improve the tactical position in the Kupyansk and Avdiivka directions but did not succeed in any of the directions.

Change in the battle line:

There were no significant changes in the battle line.

  • Over the past 24 hours, units of the Defense Forces repelled the enemy attacks in the areas of Stelmakhivka, Makiivka, Ploschanka of Luhansk Oblast and Spirne, Soledar, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Pervomaiske, Maryinka, Pobyeda of Donetsk Oblast.
  • The enemy, having entered the battle reserves accumulated in the north of Luhansk Oblast, stopped the advance of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the Svatove – Kreminna area. The Russians regained control over Kreminna.
  • The enemy resumed attempts to break into the residential sector of Bakhmut; units of the Ukrainian Joint Forces lost positions near the gas station and in the Siniat area. Combatants of the “Wagner” PMC hold positions in the landfill area, although in general, units of the Russian Armed Forces have retreated behind the highway.
  • Battles in the Klishchiivka and Opytne areas continue; the enemy does not stop assault attempts in the Krasnohorivka and Kamianka areas.
  • The enemy lost positions in Bilohorivka.
  • The state of the terrain does not allow the widespread use of armored vehicles by both sides.
Changes in enemy units:
  • The enemy began transferring part of their forces and means from the Bakhmut direction to the Kreminna area.
  • In general, in the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy maintains a grouping of 40-45,000 troopers. Their combat capability is estimated by the Russian command to be quite high, which is at odds with the assessments of lower-ranking Russian staff officers.
Escalation indicators:
  • Since the beginning of the year, the Russian command has conducted a local offensive by the forces of one motorized rifle brigade in the Hulyaipole area, occupying several abandoned villages in the gray zone. These actions should be considered as large-scale training of personnel called up from the reserve in conditions close to the conditions of a combat operation.
Conclusions regarding the prospects for the operation situation developments:
  • Despite the enemy’s retreat from the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut, the battle for the city should not be considered over. Since November, the Russian command has been stockpiling ammunition for an offensive operation in this direction and has formed a grouping of up to 60,000 fighters in the Alchevsk region. The “Christmas truce” should be seen as an attempt by the Russian command to prepare for a large-scale offensive on Bakhmut;

The likely development of the operational situation is the enemy attack. They might try to attack in two counterattacks in the direction of Pokrovsk:

  • the first: Bakhmut – Kostyantynivka – Pokrovsk,
  • the second: Polohy – Hulyaipole – Mezhova, to surround part of the Ukrainian grouping in the area of Vuhledar – Maryinka – Avdiivka.

Another variant of action may be the offensive of the enemy 58th Combined Arms Army in the direction of Staromlyniv – Velyka Novosilka.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 06.01.23

Personnel (KIA) – almost 110,250 people (+530); Tanks – 3,064 (+23)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,124 (+16);

Artillery systems – 2,059 (+8);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 431 (+5); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 215 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,797 (+38); Aircraft – 285 (+1);

Helicopters – 272 (+1);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,844 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 723 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

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 storm continues at sea. The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation keeps one ship at sea, which is not a carrier of Kalibr missiles. 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.

During the week, the Russian army did not send a single missile carrier on duty in the waters of the Black Sea. The missile carrier with eight Kalibr missiles was last noted in the Black Sea on December 30.

2 patrol boats are stationed in the waters of the Sea of Azov on the approaches to the Mariupol and Berdyansk seaports in order to block the Azov coast.

Enemy aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saki, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. During the day, 14 sorties of enemy aircraft were recorded over the Black Sea, including the area along the “grain corridor”.

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

  • to the Black Sea – 150 ships, of which 37 continued their movement in the direction of the Bosphorus Strait,
  • and to the Sea of Azov – 166 ships, of which 33 moved from the Bosphorus Strait.

“Grain Initiative”: 6 ships exported 355,000 tons of agricultural products from the ports of Great Odesa. Currently, 13 ships are loading another 282,000 tons of Ukrainian agricultural products. The ports are preparing to receive 6 more ships moving along the “grain corridor”. In the Bosphorus, 108 vessels await inspection by the Joint Coordination Center. The Russian side continues to delay inspections under any pretext, limiting the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets.

Since August 1, 626 ships have left the ports of Great Odesa, exporting 16.8 million tons of Ukrainian food to the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa.

Ukraine, general news

The armed Forces of Ukraine entered the top 15 armies of the world according to the Global Firepower 2023 World Military Strength Rankings. A year ago, they were in 22nd place.

Ukrainian businesses paid UAH 80 billion more in taxes in 2022 than in 2021. In total, citizens and businesses paid more than UAH 900 billion.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov published an updated infographic on missiles that Russia still has. According to his data, Russia currently has 19% of its strategic high-precision missiles, about 78% of tactical missiles and 12% of Iranian drones. In particular, 9% of Kalibr and 11% of Iskander ballistic missiles remained. At the same time, Russia still has a sufficient number of winged Iskanders and S-300s.

International diplomatic aspect

“The United States intends to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Germany intends to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles… Germany will join the United States in supplying an additional Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine,” the Joint Statement of President Joe Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz reads. It’s reported that the number of IFVs might be up to fifty and forty, respectively.

“I was pleased to receive the German government’s decision to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine. This decision is in accordance with the Polish suggestion formulated in November last year,” the Polish Foreign Minister twitted. After a massive missile attack on 15 November, an allegedly Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile fell on Polish territory and killed two people; Berlin offered a Patriot system to Warsaw. But the Poles proposed sending the system to Ukraine to secure skies over Ukraine and Poland. At that time, Chancellor Olaf Scholz decided not to cross a red line that might, in his mind, provoke Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister believes that “the time of the weapons taboo has passed. We are entering a decisive phase.” “There can be only one goal: the victory of Ukraine. This is the only way to ensure lasting and just peace and security in Europe,” Dmytro Kuleba twitted. However, there are remaining self-imposed restrictions related to tanks, extended-range missiles (ATACMS alike), and jest.

In January, one of the Russian racketeers from Penza sentenced to twenty-five years was killed on the battlefield in Ukraine. He was one of the hundreds of convicted criminals employed within the so-called Wagner PMC. This week, Putin’s chief and owner of the Wagner murderers announced the release of the first almost twenty criminals who fought for half of a year in Ukraine and survived. Evgeny Prigozhin claims they were cleared of all criminal charges and even more – awarded with medals “For Courage.”

“We would see it as just a barbaric tactic… it’s a tactic that is extralegal,” Ned Price, US Department of State spokesperson, characterized the use of criminals in the war. BBC reports that there are at least 240 killed criminals, and their number is rapidly growing. They are used as cannon fodder in Bakhmut and are sent to die just to detect Ukrainian forces’ positions. Though there is little military sense and efficiency in such tactics, Evgeny Prigozhin scores political points at home and generates a capable fighting force of outcasts that he might think to employ for a power struggle when something happens in the Kremlin.

The US has sanctioned “seven individuals in leadership positions with Qods Aviation Industries, an Iranian defense manufacturer responsible for the design and production of UAVs, and of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization, the main organization responsible for overseeing Iran’s ballistic missile programs.” Earlier, CNN reported about Western-made components in Iranian drones downed in Ukraine. Forty out of the fifty-two components of the Shahed-136 are manufactured by a dozen of American tech companies. The remaining 12 components were produced by Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, Swiss, and Taiwanese companies. This week Taiwan, a world-leading manufacturer of chips, has expanded its export control restrictions against Russia and Belarus in addition to previously imposed measures in April and May last year.

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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