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CDS Daily brief (18.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • In Brovary, Kyiv Oblast, a helicopter with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine on board crashed near the kindergarten building. The crash killed 14 people, including 1 child, and injuring 25 people, including 11 children. Among the dead are the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Denys Monastyrsky, his first deputy and the state secretary of the Ministry.
  • On January 17, due to Russia’s armed aggression, five Ukrainian civilians were killed, and nine more were injured; Russian troops attacked nine oblasts of Ukraine.
  • IAEA set up permanent missions at the Ukrainian nuclear power plants to guarantee safety at all nuclear facilities in Ukraine.


  • The Russian troops intensified the pressure in the Soledar – Bakhmut area.
  • The capture of Soledar allows Russian troops to cut a logistical route between Siversk and Bakhmut (T0513 road); create a bridgehead for the offensive on Siversk; capture Paraskoviivka; cut the E40 road from Sloviansk to Bakhmut.
  • Possible operation situation developments: The enemy will intensify efforts to take control of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka; the enemy is creating a grouping of troops in Luhansk Oblast, which indicates the preparation of a counter-offensive operation to regain the positions previously lost in the Kharkiv Oblast.


  • Antony Blinken sees no willingness of the Kremlin to find a diplomatic solution. NATO Secretary-General calls for more support for Ukraine because “this is a fight for our values, this is a fight for democracy.”
  • The Netherlands is considering providing air defense systems to Ukraine, a likely Patriot.
  • Henri Kissinger pushed old narratives with slight amendments that didn’t make his “grand” design acceptable for Ukraine.
General/Humanitarian aspect:

Brovary tragedy

In Brovary, Kyiv Oblast, a helicopter with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine on board crashed near the kindergarten. At the time of the tragedy, 8:20 am, children and employees of the kindergarten were in the building. The crash killed 14 people, including 1 child, and 25 people were injured, including 11 children. Among the dead are the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Denys Monastyrsky, his first deputy and assistant, as well as the state secretary of the Ministry.

A 14-story residential building located nearby and 3 cars were also damaged.

The SBU is considering several versions of the helicopter crash:

  • violation of flight rules
  • technical malfunction of the helicopter
  • deliberate actions to destroy the vehicle

The government appointed Ihor Klymenko as the deputy minister of internal affairs and head of the National Police of Ukraine. He will perform the duties of the Minister of Internal Affairs, announced Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

The aftermath of the Russian missile attack on Dnipro: 12 bodies and fragments found under the rubble of a house hit by an enemy rocket on January 14 remain unidentified, stated Natalya Babachenko, adviser to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk OMA. “A Russian missile took 45 lives. Twelve bodies and body fragments have not yet been identified. Only three people were identified during the day. Seventeen people are considered missing; they may be among those who have not yet been identified”. According to her, the number of victims has increased to 80 people.


As of the morning of January 18, 2023, more than 1,368 Ukrainian children suffered due to the full-scale war started by the Russian Federation. According to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 459 children died, and more than 909 were injured.

Two-thirds of Ukrainian children have to study online due to the full-scale military invasion of the Russian Federation, said first lady Olena Zelenska during a press conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Russian attacks

As a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, five civilians were killed, and nine more were injured during January 17, heads of respective Oblast Military Administrations (OMAs) reported.

Russian troops attacked nine oblasts of Ukraine yesterday, January 17, according to the consolidated information of the OMAs.

  • In Chernihiv Oblast, the Russian military shelled the Novgorod-Siversky district once with mortars during the day.
  • In Sumy Oblast, the Russians hit the border areas 37 times yesterday. In all cases, there were no victims or destruction.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russian forces fired at civilian infrastructure in the area of 26 towns and villages over the past day. 22 reports were received about the destruction of buildings and infrastructure facilities.
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russians shelled the area of the Nikopol district three times during the night with heavy artillery. Several houses and power lines were damaged.
  • In Kharkiv Oblast, the enemy continued to fire artillery and mortar fire along the entire contact line.
  • In Kherson Oblast, the Russians do not stop shelling the civilian population. In particular, Antonivka and Kherson were attacked by rocket launchers, and civilians were injured. The enemy fired at a critical infrastructure enterprise in Kherson. Shells damaged the administration building of a utility company, the machine and assembly halls, and the oxygen station. Also, the Russian shelling hit the Kherson Academic Regional Puppet Theater and the city printing house. In total, four people were injured in the Kherson Oblast.
Energy system

During a meeting in Kyiv, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal and Director General of the IAEA Raphael Grossi coordinated actions to guarantee safety at all nuclear facilities in Ukraine. Shmyhal said that on January 18, the IAEA would complete the placement of permanent missions at the Ukrainian nuclear power plants: Rivne, Chornobyl, and Pivdennoukrainsk. According to him, the mission at the Khmelnytskyi NPP should be operational in the coming days. The IAEA missions at the nuclear power plants of Ukraine will consist of the best international experts and will improve the transportation of equipment, monitoring of the situation and the work of personnel, said IAEA Director General Raphael Grossi at a joint briefing with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmygal in Kyiv.

Occupied territories

The Russians continued to loot the occupied territories. According to the information of the General Staff, in Hornostaivka, Kairy, Bratolyubivka and Nyzhni Sirogozy of the Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupiers, in groups of 10-15 people searched the empty homes of the locals and took away all household appliances and furniture.

Operational situation General conclusion:

The capture of Soledar allows Russian troops to cut the T0513 road, a logistical route between

Siversk and Bakhmut, to create a bridgehead for the offensive on Siversk, to capture Paraskoviivka and to cut the E40 road from Sloviansk to Bakhmut.

  • Units of the Defense Forces repelled the enemy attacks in the areas of Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast and Sil, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Vodyane, Nevelske, Maryinka and Pobieda in Donetsk Oblast. The units of the 46th and 77th separate airborne brigades of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are holding their positions in the Soledar area, and the units of the 17th separate tank brigade have been withdrawn from this area.
  • The Russian troops intensified the pressure in the Soledar – Bakhmut area; they counterattacked in the area of Novoselivka, where they lost several of the latest T-90 tanks, and Kreminna, gradually advancing along the line Makiyivka – Zhuravkova Balka;

they continued the offensive on Rozdolivka and Vesele, unsuccessfully stormed Chervonopopivka, attacked Maryinka, which is almost completely destroyed, and Vuhledar. To the north of Bakhmut, Russian Airborne Forces units and mercenaries from the PMC “Wagner” conducted combat operations in the area of Sil, trying to expand the area of the breakthrough between Krasnopolivka and Blahodatne, but were stopped near the T0513 road. (Information needs to be verified): the PMC “Wagner” units are blocked in Soledar by Russian troops, deprived of support and, with complete non-interference of regular Russian forces, are destroyed by the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

  • Heavy fighting continues in the Klishchiivka area. The area is defended by the 3rd and 4th brigades of the National Guard of Ukraine, the 28th and 53rd separate mechanized brigades with the support of the 40th separate artillery brigade. Four enemy assaults were repulsed yesterday; the defenders’ problem is the lack of ammunition for mortars and artillery.

Enemy disposition: No changes in the disposition were noted.

Escalation indicators:
  • Russian troops intensify attacks near Klishchiivka, Avdiivka, and Maryinka;
  • The Russian command continues to deploy additional forces to Luhansk Oblast.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The enemy will intensify efforts to take control of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka;
  • The enemy is creating a grouping of troops in Luhansk Oblast, which indicates the preparation of a counter-offensive operation, the goal of which may be gain the positions previously lost in the Kharkiv Oblast.
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, 16 enemy surface ships, boats and a submarine entered the open sea. Among them were 6 carriers of Kalibr cruise missiles. 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.
  • 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, 18 sorties of enemy aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.
  • Since the beginning of the “grain initiative”, 659 ships have left Odessa ports, delivering almost 18 million tons of agricultural products to Asia, Europe and Africa.
  • Implementation of a large-scale reconstruction of the port infrastructure of the Danube region has begun. In particular, PJSC “Ukrainian Danube Shipping” is actively developing the “Danube Grain Route” project, which guarantees the safe delivery of agricultural products from the river port immediately to a large-tonnage sea vessel. In addition, in June 2022, “Nibulon” LLC began construction of a Danube grain terminal in Reni, which currently processes 120-150 thousand tons of grain cargo. After the completion of construction, scheduled for the first quarter of 2023, up to 300,000 tons of grain per month will go to the European market from the terminal.
  • During the 24th week of operation of the “grain corridor”, from January 9 to 15, 2023, 491 thousand tons of agricultural products were exported through the sea ports of the Odesa region, which is 20% less than in the previous week.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 18.01.23

Personnel – almost 117, 770 people (+820)

Tanks – 3,130 (+9)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,225 (+10);

Artillery systems – 2,108 (+4);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 442 (+1); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 220 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,889 (+12); Aircraft – 287 (+1);

Helicopters – 276 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,876 (+4); Intercepted cruise missiles – 749 (0);

Boats/ships – 17 (0).

International diplomatic aspect

The US Secretary of State rejected the Kremlin’s propaganda narrative that Russia is interested in diplomacy and is searching for peace. “That, of course, is entirely false, but I think you only have to look at Putin’s own words in a recent conversation with President Erdoğan of Turkey in which he says unless and until Ukraine accepts the new territorial realities, as he put it, there’s nothing to negotiate. In other words, unless and until Ukraine acknowledges and accepts the fact that the territory that Russia has seized by force it’s not getting back, there’s nothing to negotiate. That, of course, is in and of itself a nonstarter,” Antony Blinken said.

“This is a fight for our values, this is a fight for democracy, and we just have to prove that democracy wins over tyranny and oppression,” NATO Secretary-General said in Davos. He believes the main message now is “more support, more advanced support, heavier weapons, and more modern weapons.”

Netherlands’ Prime Minister said that his country would join the US and Germany’s efforts to train and arm Ukraine with Patriot defense systems. “The idea is not only training but also equipment,” Mark Rutte said. He went on by saying that the Dutch military is considering “what exactly we have, how can we ensure that it works well with the American and German systems.” The US diverted around 300,000 155-millimeter artillery shells prepositioned in Israel for its security needs to Ukraine, NYT reports.

Henry Kissinger’s speech at Davos made much noise, for the proponent of a “grand bargain” with Russia said that “the idea of a neutral Ukraine under these conditions [military aggression] is no longer meaningful.” However, his more polished message is not that different from previous controversial ones and doesn’t make it more acceptable. He proposed to reach pre-war ceasefire lines, which meant leaving Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk under illegal Russian occupation. A misleading narrative that the war started in February 2022, not in 2014, is quite common in the West.

Kissinger thinks it’s necessary for the US to provide and even increase defense assistance until a ceasefire is reached. It means that [with the ceasefire] Ukraine would return to the post-2014 situation when the US and Europe didn’t provide Ukraine with any weapons while Russia had been preparing for the invasion. He warned to avoid an escalation of conflict between Russia and the West because Russians may feel the conflict is “against Russia itself.” He fears that it “may cause Russia to reevaluate its historical position, which was an amalgam of an attraction to the culture of Europe and a fear of domination by Europe.”

It is naïve to expect Russians to roll back and turn to European culture and values. It’s even more naïve to talk about Russia’s fear of Europe’s domination. Russians fear that they won’t be able to dominate Europe, so there will be no harmony or coexistence many Europeans dream of. One can’t seriously expect to trade resentment and revisionism for culture.

Here Henri Kissinger is sharing his illusion with Gideon Rachman of the FT, who argues that “If Putin had been willing to accept that Russia was permanently in the tier below the superpowers, there would have been opportunities for Russian statecraft to play the role of balancing middle power. Instead, Putin overreached in Ukraine. The ironic consequence is that Russia is likely to emerge from this war even further diminished as a global power.” Russians religiously believe that greatness is in their DNA, and they have the inherited right to rule the neighboring nations and have a say in global affairs.

Henri Kissinger proposes to keep sanctions in place until a final solution is found. However, the sanctions regime might likely erode when there are no hostilities, and there is no appetite in the West to bear the burden anymore.

The most quoted part of his speech was about NATO membership for Ukraine, but in an unidentified moment in the future. He didn’t explain why conditions and arguments for a half- closed NATO door will change in the future, given that Russia will never agree on Ukraine’s membership and the nuclear factor isn’t going to vanish.

Kissinger’s “grand” design doesn’t include the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Still, without the liberation of Crimea, Ukraine will always be endangered, Europe will be threatened, and the Kremlin can carry on its aggressive policies in the Mediterranean and MENA. With the Russian aggression paid off, the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act may be thrown into a rubbish bin. Moreover, Kissinger’s plan has no justice clause, thus ensuring impunity that would guarantee recurrence and new atrocities.

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