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CDS Daily brief (17.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • In Dnipro, the search and rescue operation has been completed. 45 people died (including 6 children), 79 people were injured, including 16 children, 20 people are unaccounted for;
  • Only 125 out of almost 14 thousand children who were abducted and deported by the Russian army were returned to Ukraine;
  • The January 14 attack on Ukrainian critical infrastructure damaged 9 TPP units, 3 main substations and an overhead line;
  • The Crimean Tatar Resource Center identified the main trends in human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
  • The war caused significant damage and destruction of the infrastructure of information and communication technologies in more than 10 of the 24 regions of Ukraine.
  • The unemployment rate in Ukraine is about 30%. This means that 4.7 million Ukrainians are looking for work.
  • The unemployment rate in Ukraine is about 30%. 4.7 million Ukrainians are looking for work.


  • Russia continues to try to gain control over Donetsk Oblast within its administrative border and to intensify its efforts to restore lost positions in Luhansk Oblast;
  • Units of the Russian special operations forces took control of Novoselivske, Luhansk Oblast;
  • The assault unit of the “Wagner” PMC captured the Sil railway station near Soledar, Donetsk Oblast.
  • A Russian advance in southern Bakhmut would allow Russian forces to threaten Ukrainian ground communications on the T0504 route from Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut.
  • Sea: 17 surface ships, including 6 Kalibr missile carriers potentially carrying up to 44 missiles, are currently at sea.


  • The top military of Ukraine and the US met in Poland to discuss the situation on the ground and Ukraine’s plans. The high-ranked US delegation visited Kyiv in a show of support;
  • UK Defence Secretary expects a “trend back towards a Russian offensive – no matter how much loss of life accompanies it.” In view of the continuous support, it’s important that the Dutch Prime Minister and the UK Foreign Secretary are in Washington DC to coordinate efforts to support Ukraine;
  • The Austrian Foreign Minister called for maintaining a “sense of moderation” with Russia, hoping Russia would return to the civilized nations’ table. However, Russia has ruined the very pillars this table is based upon. Putin ordered to exclude Russia from the Council of Europe legal framework;
  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz nominated Boris Pistorius as the Minister of Defence. Though his recent statements on Ukraine are assuring, Russian connections and sympathies may play a role. However, it will be the Chancellor who inks the policy on weapons supply to Ukraine, while the Minister’s biggest challenge is to deliver on the Zeitenwende.
  • 63% of Russian citizens regret the collapse of the USSR.
Humanitarian aspect:

In Dnipro, search and rescue operations at the site of the Russian missile attack on January 14 have been completed. It lasted 69 hours.

  • 39 people were rescued, including 6 children,
  • 45 people died, including 6 children,
  • 79 people were injured, including 16 children,
  • 47 reports of missing persons were received, of which 23 people were found dead, 4 people were found alive visiting relatives, or in hospitals, 20 people are still missing,
  • 28 victims (10 in serious condition) are currently in hospitals.

Only 125 out of almost 14 thousand children who were abducted and deported by the Russian army and whose data the Ukrainian government managed to identify and verify managed to return home, Darya Gerasimchuk, the Advisor to the President of Ukraine on Children’s Rights and Child Rehabilitation, said during the opening of the “Ukraine is You” project at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Russian attacks

As a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation during the day on January 16, 10 people were injured, and 9 died, including 5 people who were victims of the January 14 rocket attack on a high-rise building in Dnipro, heads of respective Oblast Military Administrations reported.

Russian shelling continued throughout the day. A college was ruined in the city of Kupyanks, Kharkiv Oblast, a critical infrastructure facility was hit in Kherson. On the morning of January 17, the Russian occupiers fired mortars at the border settlements of Chernihiv Oblast.

In Donetsk Oblast, the Russian military dealt 36 strikes, fired at 13 towns and villages; as a result, a factory, school, hospital and residential buildings were damaged, and one civilian was killed.

Energy system

As of 10:30 a.m. on January 17, there is a significant power deficit in the power system, especially during the morning and evening consumption peaks, Ukrenergo said. The company applied emergency shutdowns in six regions of Ukraine.

As a result of the massive missile attack on the Ukrainian energy system on Saturday, January 14, 9 TPP units, three main substations and an overhead line were damaged, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a government meeting. In particular, 1 unit of a thermal power plant in the east and 8 units of a thermal power plant in the west of Ukraine were damaged. “This led to an

increased power deficit in the power system. This forces us to apply emergency shutdowns every day, starting from January 15,” the prime Minister explained.

Occupied territories

The Crimean Tatar Resource Center identified the following main trends in human rights violations in the temporarily occupied Crimea and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts in 2022, Eskender Bariev, the Head of the Center, said.

  • Russians openly committed war crimes in the newly occupied territories, including murders, torture, forced abductions, and illegal entry into homes.
  • [Russian] occupiers purposefully created new tools to persecute Ukrainian citizens, an example of which is the recognition of the Crimean Tatar battalion as a terrorist organization by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
  • Cases of torture and threats in the pre-trial detention center of the occupied Crimea increased, and torture facilities appeared in the newly occupied territories.
  • [Russian] invaders started using violent psychiatric treatment, e.g. political prisoner Mamed Dolgopolov was placed in a mental hospital for 5 years.
  • The [Russian] occupiers carried out mass detentions and administrative arrests of lawyers; continued illegally moving political prisoners to the territory of Russia.
  • In addition to illegal conscription campaigns, illegal mobilization was carried out in Crimea, which purposefully took place in places where Crimean Tatars live compactly.
  • The practice of abduction and removal of children from the newly occupied territories to the temporarily occupied Crimea and their deportation to Russia began last year.
Operational situation General conclusion:

Russia continues to try to gain control over Donetsk Oblast within its administrative border and to intensify its efforts to restore lost positions in Luhansk Oblast.

  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne, Krasnopolivka, Sil, Soledar, Bilohorivka, Bakhmut, Pivnichne, Kamianka, Vodyane, Nevelske, Maryinka, Pobyeda of Donetsk Oblast;
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces are fighting on the eastern outskirts of Kreminna; they repulsed Russian counterattacks in the Makiyivka and Bilohorivka areas.
  • Russian forces try to improve their tactical position in the Kupyansk, Lyman and Novopavlivka directions. They continue to defend themselves on the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions.
  • On January 15 and 16, Russian troops tried to regain lost positions around Svatove. Units of the 3rd motorized rifle division of the 20th Army attacked in the area of Ploschanka – Makiyivka, near Chervonopopivka, and repelled the attack of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the area of Dibrova.
  • Units of the Russian special operations forces took control of Novoselivske.
  • The assault unit of the “Wagner” PMC captured the Sil railway station near Soledar.
  • The Russian invaders intensified the pressure in the Klishchiivka area, made insignificant advances near the Bakhmut landfill and on the southern outskirts of Bakhmut, and tried to develop an offensive in the Avdiivka – Donetsk area.
  • [Russian] units of the 42nd and 150th motorized rifle divisions of the 5th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 1st army corps fought heavy battles in the Maryinka area but could not advance.
Enemy disposition:
  • Russian forces do not have sufficient military equipment and personnel in the Kupyansk direction: the tank battalion of the 26th tank regiment of the 47th tank division on the front line has only 30 personnel and ten serviceable T-80bv tanks out of the 33 stipulated by its staffing documentation.
  • Russian forces develop new logistics routes between Russia and southern Ukraine to protect their logistics from strikes by the Ukrainian Defense Forces. The occupation authorities are building a major road connecting the rear area of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Donetsk Oblasts with occupied Crimea and Russian Rostov-on-Don.
Escalation indicators:
  • Russian troops intensify attacks near Klishchiivka after the capture of Soledar;
  • The Russian command is making an effort to replenish the “Wagner” and BARS detachments as the main assault units in the Bakhmut and Kreminna – Svatove areas.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • A Russian advance in southern Bakhmut would allow Russian forces to threaten Ukrainian ground communications on the T0504 route from Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut.
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.

  • During the past day, 17 surface ships, boats and a submarine were taken out into the open sea. Among them were 6 Kalibr cruise missile carriers (two project 11356R frigates, three project 21631 small missile ships, and one project 636.3 submarine). The possible number of Kalibr missiles on board is up to 44.
  • The intensity of the movement of enemy military equipment by road and rail from Crimea to Kherson Oblast remains stable. Railway freight trains arrive on the territory of Kherson Oblast from the Crimean direction, unloading military equipment and ammunition at the “Kalanchak”, “Brylivka” and “Novooleksiiivka” stations.
  • 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, Saki, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. During the day, about 22 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 17.01.23

Personnel – almost 116, 950 people (+870)

Tanks – 3,121 (+3)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,215 (+11);

Artillery systems – 2,104 (+5);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 441 (+3); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 220 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,877 (+7); Aircraft – 286 (0);

Helicopters – 276 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,872 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 749 (0);

Boats/ships – 17 (0).

Ukraine, general news
  • The war caused significant damage and destruction of the infrastructure of information and communication technologies in more than 10 of the 24 regions of Ukraine; consequently, $1.79 billion is now needed to restore the telecommunications sector, the head of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, Yuriy Shchygol said. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, mobile operators have restored a total of more than 3,200 kilometers of fiber optic lines; 1,200 base stations were restored, and more than 1,500 new mobile base stations were built.
  • The unemployment rate in Ukraine is about 30%. This means that 4.7 million Ukrainians are looking for work and cannot find it. These figures consist of 2.7 million people outside of Ukraine who want to return now and start working, and 2 million inside of the country, the First Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Economy Yuliya Svyridenko said.
International diplomatic aspect

Gen. Valerii Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, met Gen. Mark Milley, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the first time in person in Poland. It’s likely that besides the situation on the ground, they discussed the capabilities required for the UAF operational plans. Earlier, Gen. Mark Milley visited “Camp Kherson,” a section of the Grafenwoehr base in Germany, where some 600 Ukrainian troops had begun the five-week course on combined (ground, armor, and artillery) fighting at a company- and battalion-size units in battle.

Wendy Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State, Dr Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Jon Finer, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, met in Kyiv with the President and Prime Minister of Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister for reconstruction, and Minister of Defense. The main goal was to “reaffirm the US strong and steadfast commitment to Ukraine and its defense against Russia,” “diplomatic efforts and security assistance to strengthen Ukraine’s security capabilities,” and “emergency efforts to repair and sustain Ukraine’s energy system.”

Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, told the House of Commons that with the shift of top commanders of Russia’s war in Ukraine, he expects a “trend back towards a Russian offensive – no matter how much loss of life accompanies it.” The Secretary noted, “Putin believed the West would get tired, bored, and fragment.” In this view, it’s vital that there are increasing diplomatic activities to prove Putin is wrong in his calculus. James Cleverly, the UK Foreign Secretary, begins a visit to Washington DC where he will discuss “coordinated efforts to help Ukraine prevail over Russian aggression.” Joe Biden will meet Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, and discuss, among other subjects, support for Ukraine.

However, there are “Putinverstehers” in the European capitals. “The brutal war of aggression that Russia is waging is madness. At the same time, we also have to think about the next day, the next week, and the next month. Because the European security architecture will somehow have to include Russia in the future as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as a nuclear power, the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) must be preserved,” the Austrian Foreign Minister said. Alexander Schallenberg called for maintaining a “sense of moderation” in relation to Russia and “not bending the stick” in restrictions against the Russians. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman invited Alexander Schallenberg to visit Dnipro. “There he will have the opportunity to repeat his arguments about a sense of proportion to the relatives of forty-four people who died as a result of a Russian missile attack on a high-rise building,” Oleh Nikolenko said.

While the Austrian Foreign Minister wants to secure a seat for Russia around the table of civilized nations (after the blatant violation of the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act), Putin tabled a draft of the law that exempts Russia from any obligations under the Council of Europe umbrella. The Helsinki process was a breakthrough during the Cold War that secured borders in Europe and introduced mechanisms of promotion and protection of freedoms and human rights in the Empire of Evil. From the moment Putin was installed in the Kremlin, he has been dismantling weak institutions of a democratic society, taking control of the media, and murdering and suppressing political opponents and journalists, civil activists, and religious organizations (except the ROC). Putin’s regime is responsible for war crimes in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, and now Ukraine. Putin routinely blackmails with nuclear arms. Putin is not the only problem; his regime and Russian society that gladly supports its policies is the real problem that makes a transition towards a more civilized model of power an illusion. Without Status Quo Ante Bellum, which is in line with Ukraine’s “just peace” concept, bringing Russia in from the cold is counterproductive and dangerous.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz nominated Boris Pistorius, who has been serving as the Interior Minister of Lower Saxony state for nine years, as the Minister of Defence. “Pistorius is an extremely experienced politician who has administrative experience, has been involved in security policy for years and, with his competence, assertiveness and big heart, is exactly the right person to lead the Bundeswehr through this change of era,” the Chancellor added.

Boris Pistorius is praised for his connection with the security establishment and ability to “get the job done.” He is a loyal supporter of Olaf Scholz and defended the Chancellor’s wavering, including on the issue of the Ukraine-Russia war, insisting that he proves right after all.

Boris Pistorius believes it’s necessary to freeze the assets of the Russian oligarchs and direct them to Ukraine for humanitarian assistance and rebuilding. He also stated that the liberation of the occupied territories was legitimate and absolutely right and must also be supported by Germany. He added though that “There will be time after the war… when we in Europe will be able to get along with Russia, in whatever form.”

However, Alexander Rahr, a German journalist and promoter of Putin, expects that Pistorius will not feel any “hatred of Russia” and will exercise restraint on the issue of weapons supply to Ukraine. Boris Pistorius was a member of the Bundesrat upper house of parliament German- Russian friendship group. Also, he has been in a relationship with Doris Schroeder-Kopf, the ex- wife of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the major Manchurian candidate.

The most challenging task for the new Minister is to deliver on the Zeitenwende, a tectonic shift in German foreign and security policy, which means strengthening the Bundeswehr, which has been underfunded for decades and boosting the defense capabilities of NATO allies. So far, with widescale rearmament programs, Poland in Europe and Japan in Asia are doing the Zeitenwende the right way without unnecessary pathos.

Russia, relevant news

The vast majority of Russian citizens – 80% – consider the Soviet era rather a good time, and 63% regret the collapse of the USSR, according to a survey by the Russian Public Opinion Fund, conducted on December 16-18, 2022. 74% of people under 50 and 87% over 50 consider the USSR to be a good time. At the same time, the vast majority – 64% – of Russian between the ages of 18 and 30, who did not see the USSR, see the Soviet era as good. 82% of people over 50 and 46% of people under 50 regret the collapse of the USSR. Among 18-30-year-old Russians, almost a third of respondents regret the collapse of the USSR.

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