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CDS Daily brief (14.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russia launched several waves of missile attacks, 25 out of 38 missiles were shot down.
  • Critical infrastructure objects were hit in 6 Ukrainian Oblasts; the situation is the most difficult in Kharkiv and Kyiv Oblasts.
  • A 9-story residential building was hit in Dnipro in the afternoon, leading to an entire flight of stairs collapsing. People are under the rubble. Twelve deaths have been confirmed by the end of the day.
  • Two heat-producing plants came under attack. One of them stopped generating electricity.
  • The Russian side abruptly canceled the POW exchange planned for January 14.


  • Russia continues to try to gain control over Donetsk Oblast within its administrative border.
  • Russian concentration north and south of Bakhmut allows us to make an assumption that Russian units will try to break through the defense of the Ukrainian Joint Forces and try to surround Bakhmut.
  • Russin forces will continue to intensify their efforts with the aim of finally capturing Soledar.


  • The UK has set a precedent with the first MBTs delivery to Ukraine for others to follow.
  • Olaf Scholz is struggling with his personal doubts on MBTs delivery, based on weak arguments of not “provoking Putin” and the need for a “nuclear umbrella.”
  • There was almost no change in Russian Black Sea crude oil export volumes after the embargo went into effect. But, about 350,000 tons of Russian crude oil have already been delivered to EU countries in violation of the embargo, and at least another 600,000 tons are going to be delivered in the next few days.
  • Between half and two-thirds of Russians either don’t feel any responsibility for what’s happening in Russia or feel it to a certain extent. At the same time, half of Russians believe they may influence the situation in the country. Two-thirds believe Russia is going in the right direction, and eighty-one percent support Putin.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

Ukraine suffered another massive wave of missile attacks. Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kyiv were hit in the morning. Dnipro, Odesa and other cities were hit later in the day. According to General Valery Zaluzhny, Kyiv was attacked by S-400(S-300) missiles from the northern direction. Later on, Russia launched about 38 missiles, 25 of which were shot down.

In Kyiv, the air raid alarm sounded after the explosions. According to Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat, Russia most likely used missiles that use ballistic trajectory, and Ukraine has no defense against them. A critical infrastructure object was hit, and cars were damaged. No causalities were reported. In the village of Kopyliv, Kyiv Oblast, a residential area was hit, there were no casualties, and 18 private houses were damaged.

A Russian anti-aircraft carrier missile hit a nine-story residential building in Dnipro at around 4

p.m. An entire flight of stairs with apartments on both sides collapsed and people who were spending their day off at home with their families ended up under the rubble, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Kyrylo Tymoshenko reported. According to the State Emergency Service, as of 8:40 p.m., 35 people (including 6 children) have been rescued. 5 people died (including 1 child), 64 people were injured (including 14 children). Rescue work continues. At 23:00, Dnipropetrovsk Military Administration reported that 12 people were confirmed dead.

Energy system

During today’s attack on Ukraine, energy infrastructure facilities were hit in six Oblasts of Ukraine, and emergency shutdowns are being introduced in most regions, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said. Among those hit are Kharkiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zaporizhzhia, Vinnytsia and Kyiv Oblasts. Halushchenko warned that the next several days will be difficult.

As a result of today’s missile attack, one Ukrainian thermal power plant stopped generating electricity. Another one was under attack but continues to work, according to DTEK.

According to President Zelenskiy, the most difficult situation with electricity is in Kharkiv and Kyiv Oblast.

POW exchange

According to the Coordinating Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Russia abruptly canceled the POW exchange planned for January 14. The headquarters said Russia had intensified its special operations designed to shake public sentiment in Ukraine. Thus, the Russian Telegram channels use events organized in Ukraine in support of prisoners of war as a reason to spread calls for capitulation. Kremlin media sources spread the news that at the events in Kyiv, the demands were “to stop hostilities and start negotiations with Russia” and that their participants “appealed to the embassies with a demand to stop arms deliveries”.

Occupied territories

Since the new year of 2023, Russia has kidnapped and deported up to 2,000 children from Ukraine, US Ambassador to the OSCE Michael Carpenter said during a special meeting of the Permanent Council in Vienna. According to the ambassador, in recent weeks, the Russian Federation has been removing children from their homes en masse and moving them to its

territory under the guise of evacuation. In addition, in occupied Donetsk and Luhansk, lists of children are being drawn up who should be called to the war after reaching adulthood.

Operational situation General conclusion:

Russia continues to try to gain control over Donetsk Oblast within its administrative border.

Battle line:

There were no significant changes in the battle line.

  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Ploschanka, Bilohorivka, Chervonopopivka of Luhansk Oblast and Rozdolivka, Sil, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Vodiane, Kreminna, Pobyeda, Mayorsk, Maryinka, Velyka Novosilka of Donetsk Oblast.
  • In the area of Bakhmut, the Russian military was concentrating its efforts south of the city, trying to break through to Bila Hora and Stupochka from the Andriyivka-Kurdyumivka frontier along the “Siverskyi Donets-Donbas” channel.
  • In the area of Klishchiivka, the Russian forces have failed and are gradually shifting their efforts to the south of the village.
Enemy disposition:
  • Starting from January 6, units of the 6th motorized rifle division of the 3rd army corps began arriving on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, and their manning with those called up for mobilization continued. At the same time, some of the units of this division conduct combat operations on the Svatove-Kreminna frontier.
  • Two BTGs from the 1st tank regiment and the 15th motorized rifle regiment of the 2nd motorized rifle division of the Russian Armed Forces are preparing to be deployed to the territory of Ukraine.
  • To the south of Klishchiivka, reserves, units of the 57th separate motorized rifle brigade and the 2nd rifle regiment of mobilization reserve of the 2nd army corps should be expected to enter the battle.
  • To the north of Bakhmut, the enemy plans to engage the 2nd and 15th assault detachments of the “Wagner” PMC, reinforcing the 4th and 16th detachments, already involved in combat operations there.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • Russian concentration north and south of Bakhmut allows us to make an assumption that Russian units will try to break through the defense of the Ukrainian Joint Forces and try to surround Bakhmut.
  • Russin forces will continue to intensify their efforts with the aim of finally capturing Soledar.
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 stormy weather at sea subsides. Russia has increased the number of ships on duty at sea to seven surface ships. One of them carries eight Kalibr missiles.
  • 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 14 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.

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

  • to the Black Sea: 194 ships, including 29 vessels that continued their movement in the direction of the Bosphorus Strait;
  • to the Sea of Azov: 69 vessels, including 21 ships that were moving from the Bosphorus Strait;

The specified vessels were operating in violation of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). They turned off automatic identification systems (AIS).

On January 13, 2023, the Minesweeping Group of the Naval Forces of Ukraine identified and destroyed another Russian anti-ship mine that was washed onto the Odesa coast by a storm. The mine threat remains high.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 14.01.2023

Personnel – almost 114,660 people (+630)

Tanks – 3,104 (+6)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,173 (+6);

Artillery systems – 2,090 (+4);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 437 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 219 (+1); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,846 (+13); Aircraft – 286 (0);

Helicopters – 276 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,867 (+2);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 723 (0);

Boats/ships – 17 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Ukrainian Central Election Commission published an article highlighting the challenges Ukraine will face after the end of the war when organizing elections. Among them are millions of IDPs and refugees, destroyed buildings where precincts used to be located, and issues with keeping voter registers up to date. Voting abroad and election observation are also issues that will need additional attention.

International diplomatic aspect

The United Kingdom shows leadership and resolve other nations are shy to find. The UK Prime Minister outlined his country’s “ambition to intensify its support to Ukraine, including through the provision of Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems.” Before the all-out invasion, the UK was championing the rebuilding of the Ukrainian Navy. HMS Defender was the first ship to conduct a Freedom of Navigation Operation off the coast of Crimea, challenging Russia’s claim for the illegally annexed Peninsula and a “right” to impose restrictions on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The UK and the US have been providing Ukraine with various missiles and air defense systems way ahead of others. It was the UK that supplied Sea King helicopters, the first manned aerial vehicles, paving the way for Western-made helicopters and jets. Now, with Challenger 2 MBTs, London sets a precedent the others may, or rather should, follow.

Olaf Scholz “may only be able to act on tanks if he can do so in lockstep with the Americans. He needs the cover of a nuclear power,” Jana Puglierin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, presumed in an FT article. It’s a strange argument as if Poland, which pushes MBTs delivery, is a nuclear power. As if Germany isn’t a NATO member covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. As if the extended (nuclear) defense doesn’t unconditionally cover Germany.

“The German leader has repeatedly voiced concern over his country being perceived as escalating the conflict and provoking Putin,” FT wrote. but it was Russia, not Germany, that invaded a neighboring country. It’s Russia, not Germany, wages aggressive war, constantly escalates, demolishes rules-based order, and commits war crimes at an industrial scale. The Russian propaganda may call Germans the Nazis, but in Russian newspeak, all those who oppose their genocidal war are Nazis. Indeed, the next fascist came as anti-fascists.

Olaf Scholz is “known for his cautious style.” It might be so, but Germany shows a desire to lead Europe. Angela Merkel was “leading” diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict. Later, she claimed that she intended to provide Ukraine with the necessary time to be able to defend itself. Her “leadership,” though, didn’t mean supplying Ukraine with any arms at all, while she was more eager to sign a Nord Stream II agreement with Putin. The results of such “leadership” are disastrous. Now, with the American leadership and a significant burden on American shoulders, the heavyweight countries in Europe should show at least a sort of a co-leadership.

There was a sharp decrease in the Russian Black Sea export of crude oil (by almost 1 million tonnes) before the embargo on seaborn oil export was introduced. However, there was virtually no change (decrease) in export volumes after the embargo went into effect, according to the Black Sea Institute of Strategic Studies and BlackSeaNews. There was even a slight increase. On top of that, in the first ten days of January 2023, four tankers arrived at the ports of EU countries in violation of the embargo, and another six were on their way to the EU countries. Thus, about 350,000 tons of Russian crude oil have already been delivered to EU countries in violation of the embargo, and at least another 600,000 tons are going to be delivered in the next few days.

According to a Levada Centre poll, only thirty-seven percent of Russians feel responsible for what’s going on in Russia. Between half and two-thirds of Russians (56%) either don’t feel any responsibility or feel it to a degree. At the same time, half of Russians believe they may influence, to various extents, what’s going on in the country. Forty-five presents think they can’t do anything about it. In the meantime, two-thirds of Russians believe that the country is going in the right direction, while only a quarter is going in the wrong one. Eighty-one percent of Russians support Putin’s policies, while only seventeen percent reject them.

Paradoxically, since the illegal annexation of Crimea (the abnormal rise of “patriotism” in the form of support for Vladimir Putin’s actions), the number of those who believe in their ability to influence things in Russia is on the rise, while those who think they can’t influence the situation is on the decline. In 2015, less than a third (28%) believed in their ability to influence, while two- thirds (66%) did not.

It was Putin’s personal decision to start the war, but while almost two-thirds of Russians don’t feel any responsibility for what’s going on. Still, half of Russians believe they may influence the country’s course. The issue of responsibility for the war is problematic among the “ordinary” Russians and liberal ones. The liberals, en masse, have been against sanctions before the all-out invasion and travel restrictions after it. They reject criticism that the lack of active opposition to Putin’s regime was an enabling factor.

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