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CDS Daily brief (09.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russia continued attacking Ukrainian residential areas, killing and injuring civilians.
  • Kyiv is experiencing emergency blackouts due to cold weather and generally difficult situations in the energy system.
  • By the end of 2022, compared to 2017, the number of Russian-speaking Ukrainians decreased by 11%, and the number of Ukrainian speakers increased by 8%.
  • Russian occupation authorities try to banish Ukrainian Hryvnia from Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian Federation put up for sale 100% of the shares of the Ukrainian state-owned Yevpatoriya Aviation Repair Plant located in the occupied Crimea.


  • There were no significant changes in the operational situation.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces counterattacked and recaptured the main complex of salt mines in Soledar, inflicting significant losses on the enemy units and continued the movement to Bakhmutske.
  • Possible operation situation developments: Russian forces will concentrate their efforts on breaking through the Ukrainian defense in the Soledar area and cover Bakhmut from the northern direction; the onset of cold weather in Donbas will, in a couple of days, revive maneuverable combat operations and the use of armored vehicles.
  • Sea: Russia continues to stall inspections of the ships passing through the grain corridor. There were no Kalibr missile carriers at sea.


  • The struggle for tank supply to Ukraine ranges in Europe. While the UK might set a precedent, Poland is working on a coalition of willing that might change the tide in Germany.
  • Russia is waging war not against Ukraine but the West, according to the alternative reality of the Kremlin’s top security official, well-known for bizarre beliefs in conspiracy theories.
  • The OSCE Secretary General believes Russia should be kept in the organization for future “dialogue.”

Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

As a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation over the past day, January 8, 2 people were killed, and 10 were injured in Ukraine, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko said with reference to the Oblast Military Administration (OMA) data.

According to the information made public by Oblast Military Administrations in the morning round-up on January 9, Russian troops attacked 9 Ukrainian Oblasts on January 8. Namely, they shelled Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Kherson Oblasts, and attacked

border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy Oblasts. The situation remained tense in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.

On the morning of January 9, Russian forces launched a rocket attack on the market in the village of Shevchenkove, Kharkiv Oblast, killing two people and injuring several others, the head of Kharkiv OMA, Oleh Synehubov, said. According to the Regional Center for Emergency Medical Assistance, 7 civilians were injured as a result of the attack, including a 13-year-old girl. According to preliminary data, the attackers fired an S-300 air defense system from the territory of the Belgorod Oblast of the Russian Federation.

Russian artillery struck a residential quarter of the city of Kherson during the day on January 9, killing one person and severely injuring another. They also fired at Ochakiv, Mykolayiv Oblast, wounding 15 people, including a 2-year-old girl.

Energy system

As of 11:00 a.m. on January 9, electricity consumption in Ukraine increased due to a decrease in outside temperature and an increase in industry and business consumption with the start of the working week. The situation with electricity supply in the front-line regions in the east and south remains challenging due to significant damage to power networks during hostilities. In addition, the Russians fired at one of the generation facilities in the south of the country at night, Ukrenergo reported.

The temperature in Kyiv is -7 compared to +11 last week, which leads to increased consumption and emergency blackouts, Serhiy Kovalenko, CEO of Yasno [energy company], said. He explained that there was electricity on New Year’s Day due to warm weather and the shutdown of several production facilities throughout the country. The situation is complicated because one unit at the Rivne NPP is currently undergoing major repairs.

Justice for collaboration

Two women, aged 62 and 64, were detained in Luhansk Oblast. They are charged with collaboration with the occupying power. As heads of local educational institutions, the women carried out propaganda, supported the occupying power and changed the educational program to Russian academic standards. For illegal actions, women face imprisonment for up to 3 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 15 years.

Occupied territories

The Ministry of Education of Russia, together with the Russia-appointed heads of the newly occupied parts of Ukrainian Oblasts, is drafting an education program in the occupied areas to bring their systems into compliance with Russian educational standards, said Russian Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov.

According to Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, the Russian occupation forces conduct raids in the oblast to confiscate Ukrainian currency. They demand that all prices in open-air

markets are indicated in Russian Rubles. According to the Administration, this leads to people using non-cash payments. In their turn, the occupiers seize the terminals and threaten fines.

The occupation administration of the Russian Federation put up for sale 100% of the shares of the Ukrainian state-owned Yevpatoriya Aviation Repair Plant, which is part of Ukrainian defense production concern Ukroboronprom, the press service of the state concern “Ukroboronprom” said. The plant has been in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea since 2014. This is the third attempt of the Russian occupation authorities to sell what does not belong to them, the state concern emphasized.

Operational situation General conclusion:

No changes in the operational situation were identified.

Battle line:

There were no significant changes in the battle line.

  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Stelmakhivka and Chervonopopivka in Luhansk Oblast and Soledar, Krasna Hora, Pidhorodnie, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Pobyeda and Novomykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast.
  • The 46th separate airborne brigade of the Ukrainian Defense Forces counterattacked and recaptured the main complex of salt mines in Soledar, inflicting significant losses on the units of the 20th motorized rifle division, airborne forces, and special forces of the Russian Armed Forces, and continued the movement to Bakhmutske. In the battles, the Russian military widely used tanks and attack helicopters.
  • The assault squad of the “Wagner” PMC, using AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers en masse, captured the village of Pidhorodnie yesterday evening but was knocked out of it by a night counterattack of Ukrainian Joint Forces.
  • Russian troops continued counterattacks to regain lost positions on the Svatove- Kreminna line.
Enemy disposition:
  • 300 fighters of the Chechen riot police “Akhmat-1” were deployed to Ukraine.
  • On January 7-8, the Russian Armed Forces transferred 700-800 Russian troops, and an echelon of armored vehicles arrived in Vitebsk, Belarus.

Escalation indicators: Russian troops used incendiary munitions to attack civilian infrastructure in the city of Kherson on the night of January 7-8.

Possible operation situation developments:
  • Russian forces will concentrate their efforts on attempting to break through the defense of the Joint Forces in the Soledar area and cover Bakhmut from the northern direction;
  • The onset of cold weather in Donbas will, in a couple of days, revive maneuverable combat operations and the use of armored vehicles.
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 brought two battleships to the sea for patrolling. There are no Kalibr missile carriers among them. But at the same time, the Russian Navy keeps ships and submarines in Sevastopol ready to go to sea in 2-4 hours, including to launch a missile strike. These ships can have at most 32 Kalibr missiles on board.

In the Sea of Azov, on the approach to the Mariupol and Berdiansk seaports, 2 patrol boats are 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 13 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded, including the area along the “grain corridor”.

The Russian military conducts intensive reconnaissance of the coastal territories of Ukraine. On the morning of January 9, Ukrainian defenders shot down a Russian strike-reconnaissance drone of the operational-tactical level over the sea on the approach to the Ochakiv port in Mykolaiv Oblast.

Another similar UAV was shot down by units of the Southern Air Command on January 7.

Velykyi Potyomkinsky Island (in the Dnipro River Delta) continues to be in the “grey zone”, and fighting for it continues. Currently, none of the parties controls the island. This situation allows the Russian military to block shipping from the port of Kherson to the Black Sea.

On January 8, 2023, the Minesweeping Group of the Ukrainian Naval Forces identified and destroyed another Russian anti-ship mine washed ashore by a storm in Odesa.

“The Grain Initiative”: 17 million tons of agricultural products were sent to countries in Africa, Asia and Europe from the ports of Greater Odesa.

In three days, 5 ships exported 158.5 thousand tons of Ukrainian food from the ports of Greater Odesa. Among them, the bulker TRUE HARMONY with 26 thousand tons of agricultural products for Egypt and the bulker LEO 1 with 49.5 thousand tons of wheat for Sri Lanka.

In the Bosphorus, 98 ships are waiting in line for inspection (21 already have food on board and 77 are about to be loaded). Most of these vessels have been sitting in the Bosphorus since last year due to the purposeful inhibition of inspections by the Russian side. This leads to a decrease in the volume of Ukrainian food to countries that need it and to millions of losses for cargo owners.

Russian operational losses from 24.02 to 09.01.22

Personnel – almost 111,760 people (+590)

Tanks – 3,080 (+11)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,147 (+17);

Artillery systems – 2,069 (+4);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 434 (+3); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 217 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,809 (+8); Aircraft – 285 (0);

Helicopters – 275 (+3);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,856 (+7); Intercepted cruise missiles – 723 (0);

Boats/ships – 16 (0).

Ukraine, general news

By the end of 2022, compared to 2017, the number of Russian-speaking Ukrainians decreased by 11%, and the number of Ukrainian speakers increased by 8%, according to the survey data obtained by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on request from Volodymyr Kulik, Doctor of Political Sciences. According to the survey, in the east and south of the country, 29% of respondents speak Ukrainian, and 27% speak Russian.

International diplomatic aspect

“I need 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs, 500 Howitzers. Then, I think it is completely realistic to get to the lines of February 23rd,” General Valery Zaluzhny, head of Ukraine’s armed forces, told the Economist in December. The US will send fifty Bradleys and a hundred M113 APCs, France – an undisclosed number of AMX-10RC Heavy Armament Combat Vehicles, and Germany – forty Marder IFVs. Thus far, no tanks have been committed yet.

European Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola has called on Ukraine’s partners to supply the country with Leopards tanks. The leading German Green politicians signal openness for the delivery of Leopards. Finland’s Defense Committee’s Chair Antti Häkkänen said that his country should deliver MBTs if there is a broader consensus in Europe. However, “At the moment, the

federal government has no intention of supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks,” the German government’s spokesman said.

That is why it is important that the United Kingdom is, reportedly, considering supplying a handful of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, and Poland is trying to form a European coalition ready to supply tanks that may change the mind in Berlin. “Modern battle tanks are one of the most convincing arguments for the Russian invasion troops to start their journey home,” FDP defense expert Marcus Faber nailed it.

In the Russian [parallel] universe, it’s the West that is waging war against Russia and, at the same time, Russia is not at “war with Ukraine because we can’t have hatred for ordinary Ukrainians by default,” Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said. “The events in Ukraine aren’t a clash between Moscow and Kyiv. It’s a military confrontation of NATO, first of all, the US and Britain, with Russia. Fearing a direct engagement, NATO instructors push Ukrainian men to certain death,” Nikolay Patrushev insists. He outlined Russia’s goals, which are to “free its regions from occupation and put an end to the West’s bloody experiment to destroy the fraternal people of Ukraine.”

“It is only by winning on the battlefield that Ukraine can win this war. It cannot be won anywhere else,” the Swedish Foreign Minister said. “How can the war become more escalated than it already is? Rather, I think it’s just the opposite. We have held ourselves back in this regard for far too long. We have not understood that if Ukraine does not get the military equipment needed to be able to win on the battlefield, this war will drag on, which will only benefit Vladimir Putin,” Tobias Billström said.

Putin’s spokesperson rejected the information that Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, is trying to convey the Kremlin’s proposals for a truce in Ukraine, similar to the “Korean version” of the 38th parallel, to the West through retired European politicians. Earlier, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary ruled out any possibility of Ukraine accepting the “Korean scenario,” whatever it means. However, such ideas might be a part of Russia’s PSYOPs aimed at weak links in Europe that constantly talk about a “diplomatic solution” to the genocidal war.

The OSCE Secretary General ruled out the idea of kicking Russia out of the organization. “One day, we will need conversation means again. And the OSCE is the only security organization in which everyone important to the European security architecture sits at one table,” Helga Schmid said. The same mood was in the Council of Europe before excluding Moscow in March. Helga Schmid didn’t explain the value of keeping Russia in the organization, while it constantly violates the OSCE founding principles and doesn’t honor documents it signed.

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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