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CDS Daily brief (07.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russian invaders took 300 children from the occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts to Moscow for “treatment”.
  • Over the past day, on January 6, the Russian army shelled seven regions of Ukraine. Three civilians were killed, and 14 more were injured.
  • Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said that the United Nations Olenivka mission [before disbanding] did not even condemn Russia, which prevented it from entering Russia-captured Olenivka to investigate the death of 50 Ukrainian POWs.
  • Ukraine received about $32 billion in financial support in 2022, reported the National Bank of Ukraine.


  • There is no significant change in the battle line. The enemy is trying to break through Klishchiivka and between it and the “Siversky Donets – Donbas” canal at any cost.
  • Enemy disposition: the enemy concentrated up to 32 battalions in the Bakhmut direction, 17 in the first echelon. Over half of these groups are manned at 50% and have limited combat capability. In Kreminna, the relocation of the 4th SMRBr from the Bakhmut direction is near completion. The BTG of the 54th MRR is to be replaced with the BTG of the 423rd MRR.
  • Possible operation situation developments: two BTGs are expected to enter into the battle in the Nevsky-Yampolivka area; at least four more BTGs may strengthen the enemy grouping in the Bakhmut direction.
  • Russia returned all of its ships to Black Sea bases.


  • Putin prized the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) for backing the war. Zelensky has revoked the Ukrainian citizenship of dozen of ROC clerics and wished “victory to the Ukrainian land” in his Christmas message.
  • The dramatic election of the House Speaker might affect further support of Ukraine. The GOP hardliners, who doubted the scale of the assistance or the necessity of it at all, got more leverage.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian invaders took 300 children from the occupied regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts to Moscow for “treatment”, Luhansk Oblast military administration (OMA) reported on its Telegram account. It is noted that visiting teams of Russian doctors conducted medical examinations of young men and women in almost every city of the occupied Luhansk Oblast in the fall. “In some places, even teachers in schools collected money from children for the opportunity to be examined,” the report says. The OMA emphasizes that before the arrival of the occupiers, children and parents had no idea of their “difficult condition”. “It is hard to imagine how many

children from the region were deported to other settlements of the Russian Federation under the pretext of hospitalization,” added the military administration.

As reported, the [Russian] invaders took about 2,000 children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to the Russian Federation for the “New Year holidays”.

Russian attacks:

Over the past day, on January 6, the Russian military shelled seven regions of Ukraine. Three civilians were killed, and 14 more were injured, reported Deputy Head of the Office of the President, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, with reference to the data of the regional military administrations.

  • On January 6, the enemy shelled Kupyansk, Vovchansk and Dvorichna in Kharkiv Oblast. Residential and commercial buildings were damaged.
  • The Russian occupiers shelled the territory of Kherson Oblast 39 times. One person killed, and seven wounded were reported. In Kherson, enemy shells hit private and apartment buildings, the territory and the building of the fire and rescue unit.
  • On January 6, two civilians were killed by enemy shelling in Bakhmut and Krasna Hora of Donetsk Oblast. Another 7 people were injured in the Oblast.
  • The Russian occupiers shelled the Polohy and Vasylivka districts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. 13 reports were received about the destruction of residential houses (apartments) and infrastructure facilities.
Energy system:

To ensure the balance in the energy system, in the face of the temperature decrease, limits have been set for all regions of Ukraine, the national energy company “Ukrenergo” announced.

Energy professionals urge Ukrainian citizens to consume electricity responsibly to avoid overloading power grids and accidents. “Warm weather and a decrease in electricity consumption by industry made it possible to provide Ukrainians with light without blackouts during the New Year holidays. But now the frosts have returned to Ukraine. Everyone starts turning on heaters and other powerful electrical appliances simultaneously, and an overload occurs,” the report says.


Commenting on the UN disbanding its Olenivka mission [reported in CDS Brief 06.01.2023], Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said that the United Nations did not even condemn Russia, which prevented the UN mission [from entering] [Russia-] captured Olenivka to investigate the incident that occurred on the night of July 29, when more than 50 Ukrainian POWs were killed. “Once again, unfortunately, we saw the mediating and neutral position of the UN. Not a single word of condemnation of the Russian side, which did everything to prevent this international mission from going there,” Lubinets said. He clarified that he was skeptical about this [UN] mission from the [very] beginning. “First of all, I analyzed the composition of this mission and showed step by step that all three people [elected to this mission] have a very positive attitude towards the Russian Federation.” The commissioner noted

that after this mission was created, the Ukrainian authorities sent official requests to the UN for months about what was happening. Lubinets was ready to go to the meetings and to present the evidence.

Operational situation General conclusion:

There were no significant changes in the operational situation. The enemy continued to focus its main efforts on attempts to establish control over Donetsk Oblast, conducted offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction, and had partial success in the Soledar area.


There were no significant changes in the battle line.

  • Over the past 24 hours, units of the Defense Forces have repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Stelmakhivka, Makiivka, Dibrova, Bilohorivka of Luhansk Oblast, Ozaryanivka, Soledar, Krasna Hora, Pidhorodnie, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Sil’, Pervomaiske, Maryinka, and Pobieda of Donetsk Oblast.
  • A combined unit of PMC Wagner and two motorized rifle companies of the so-called LPR/DPR attacked the positions of the Ukrainian Joint Forces northeast of Soledar from the direction of Yakovlivka and captured two platoon strongholds, which created certain difficulties for the [Ukrainian] defenders of Soledar.
  • In Bakhmut and to the north of the city, the enemy unsuccessfully tried to gain a foothold west of Pidgorodnie and the city quarters of Bakhmut on its eastern and southeastern outskirts.
  • The enemy is trying at any cost to break through Klishchiivka and between it and the “Siversky Donets – Donbas” canal; entered the road between Klishchiivka and Bakhmut to develop an offensive and reach the Ivanivka and Chasiv Yar areas, bypassing Klishchiivka from the south.
  • To the north of Bakhmut, part of the personnel of the 2nd motorized rifle battalion (of the 7th separate motorized rifle brigade, 2nd Army Corps) and the 206th rifle regiment of the mobilization reserve arbitrarily left their positions. During January 4-5, the enemy command took measures to return them to combat order.
Enemy disposition:
  • The relocation of the 4th separate motorized rifle brigade (SMRBr) of the 2nd Army Corps (AC) from the Bakhmut direction to Kreminna is near completion. At the same time, the BTG of the 54th motorized rifle regiment (MRR) (of the 6th motorized rifle division (MRD), the 3rd AC, Western Military District) was withdrawn to the area north of Kreminna for additional manning and replenishment after significant losses in previous battles. To replace it, the BTG of the 423rd MRR (of the 4th tank division, the 1st tank army) is being deployed to the area of combat assignment. After the battles for Yampolivka, the BTG of the 488th MRR (of the 144th MRD) was withdrawn to Kreminna.
  • In the Kreminna area, the active operation of the Russian electronic warfare station “Repellent-1” to counter UAVs of the Defense Forces is recorded.

In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy has deployed and is conducting an offensive by a grouping consisting of

  • the 2nd AC (in the Slovianoserbsk area): 2nd and 7th SMRBrs; 6th SMR; 202nd, 206th and 208th rifle regiments of the mobilization reserve; 2224th, 2632nd and 2736th rifle battalions of the mobilization reserve; 12th, 15th, 16th SMRBs of territorial forces, C2 post of the 2nd AC,
  • two BTGs of the 57th SMRBrs (of the 5th Combined Arms Army of the Eastern Military District),
  • two BTGs from the composition of the 51st and 137th parachute airborne regiments of the 106th airborne division,
  • supported by the artillery group of the 1182nd Artillery regiment, five detachments of the BARS, four detachments of the “Wagner” PMC, and the combined detachment of the “Akhmat” separate SOF regiment.
  • General fire support is provided by up to four divisions of the 10th artillery brigade of the 2nd AC.
  • Units of the 3rd SMRBr of the 1st AC operate in the Zaitseve – Shyroka Balka area.

In total, the enemy concentrated in the Bakhmut direction, in the section from Bilohorivka to the Kurdyumivka – Ozeryanivka, up to 32 battalions, of which up to 17 were deployed directly in the first echelon. Up to half of this grouping is manned by 50% and has limited combat capability. The grouping is supported by 10-12 divisions, which are deployed in a decentralized manner (individual platoons, batteries).

Escalation indicators: None

Possible operation situation developments:

  • After the replenishment of losses in the area between Nevsky and Yampolivka, two BTGs of the 54th MRR of the 6th MRD and the 488th MRR of the 144th MRD should be expected to enter into the battle;
  • In the near future, the grouping in the Bakhmut direction may be strengthened by at least four more BTGs from the 2nd Army of the Eastern Military District, two BTGs from the 20th MRD (likely to replace the units of the 4th SMRBr, which will be transferred to the Lyman direction).
Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 07.01.23

Personnel (KIA) – almost 110,740 people (+490); Tanks – 3,066 (+2)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,125 (+1);

Artillery systems – 2,062 (+3);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 431 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 217 (+2); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,798 (+1); Aircraft – 285 (0);

Helicopters – 272 (0);

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.

Russia returned all of its ships to Black Sea bases. There are no ships on duty at sea. 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 and launch a missile strike.

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.

Ukraine, general news

Ukraine received about $32 billion in financial support in 2022, reported the National Bank of Ukraine. The largest financial aid came from the USA – $12 billion, the European Union – $8 billion, the IMF – $2.7 billion, Canada – $1.9 billion, and Germany – $1.6 billion. In addition, in 2022, Ukraine received about $3.1 billion due to the placement of currency government bonds.

International diplomatic aspect

Today, Christians of the Eastern rite celebrate Christmas – one of the most solemn and joyous holidays of the year.

“Church organizations give priority to maintaining inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace and harmony in our country, take care of those who need help, support our soldiers participating in a special military operation,” Vladimir Putin wrote in his Christmas greeting. Indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has been a vehicle for turning Russians to be subjugated to Putin’s rule at home and his aggressive wars abroad. In September, Patriarch Gundyaev promised Russian soldiers who would die fighting in Ukraine forgiveness of all their sins. Calls for such “sacrifice” fundamentally contradict the spirit and the letter of the Orthodox faith that considers repentance and communion as the only way to wash away a person’s sins. No less important is the ” Russian Church” message that Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are one people. The Kremlin doubles

down on the imperial dogma in its policy of denying Ukrainian identity, culture, language, and statehood being separate from Russia.

“Volodymyr Zelensky has deprived thirteen priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of their Ukrainian citizenship. And this is on Orthodox Christmas! Satanism as it is,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson said. Serving the Russian war and bearing Russian citizenship [Ukrainian legislation envisages single citizenship only] were the reason for revoking the Ukrainian citizenship of the clerics of the Russian Church in Ukraine.

In contrast to the Russian “Christmas message”, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, “first among equals” in the Orthodox world, conveyed to the Ukrainians in his Christmas greeting: “We pray for the end of this unjust war and aggression day and night, for the Ukrainian people, strong and brave, who dared to defend the integrity and freedom of Ukraine. We are with you through love and prayers. We are glad to see that the international community is also with you. Justice and truth always win.”

“We have already achieved a moral victory because all people of goodwill condemn the acts of genocide, terror, and numerous war crimes committed by the evil Russian empire on our land,” Epiphany, the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), said at a historical Devine Liturgy for the first time in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. It was also the first time a liturgy was held there in the Ukrainian language. It became possible after Ukraine returned ownership of two Lavra churches from ROC to the Ukrainian state. Law enforcement officers did not record any violations during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, despite announced provocations. Many Ukrainians of different ages came to the service, including families with children and Ukrainian defenders. About 200 policemen were involved in the territory of the Upper Lavra to prevent provocations and to monitor public order.

“We managed to bring Ukraine’s strength and defense cooperation with partners to a new level. Now our soldiers will have even more weapons, equipment, shells, defense systems, which will make us much more prepared for any escalation plans of Russia,” Vladimir Zelensky said, commenting on the new security assistance package from the US, Germany, France, and other nations. “I thank President Biden, the congressmen, and all Americans who value freedom, know that freedom is worth protecting, and heard Ukraine during my visit to Washington. We see absolutely concrete results of this visit and our negotiations,” the Ukrainian President said.

“It is imperative that we defend our national security, not defund it,” POTUS wrote on the election of the House Speaker. The concession Kevin McCarthy has made to a bloc of hardline conservatives might result, among other things, in obstacles to further support of Ukraine. There are opponents of the scale of assistance to Ukraine, or even doubting providing any at all, among those who finally gave their votes for the Speaker’s promises. By his agreement to relax the procedure of voting him out, Speaker won’t be able to bundle various laws into a single “omnibus” bill [a package of expenditure laws] and will be cutting out spending to get agreement on raising the national debt’s ceiling. The level of assistance may suffer with a cap on discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, which would trigger a decrease in defense programs.

Though it is premature to worry about possible significant changes, securing support for Ukraine in the House will become more challenging.

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