Центр оборонних стратегій

CDS Daily brief (23.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • The restoration of 11 out of 17 high-rise Kyiv residential buildings, which suffered the most damage due to Russian shelling, has been completed.
  • Russian military shelled 7 Ukrainian regions on January 22; one Ukrainian civilian was killed, and nine more were wounded.
  • The first collaborator who helped Russian invaders organize a shame “independence” referendum in the Kherson region was sentenced to five years behind bars.


  • The Russian grouping build-up at the Tavilzhanka-Bohdanivske frontier signifies preparations for an enemy offensive.
  • The enemy is stockpiling weapons and military equipment in Crimea territory to deploy an “army corps”-level military unit there.
  • Possible operation situation developments: the Russian military command is preparing a counteroffensive operation in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, the probable start time is in two weeks; the enemy’s activity in the Zaporizhzhia direction bears the signs of a cover-up operation.
  • Sea: the active restoration of enemy amphibious ships in the Sevastopol base is noted.


  • The EU allocated another €500 million in military aid for Ukraine; Italy and France are about to deliver a SAMP-T air defense system.
  • In an unprecedented move, Estonia will send all its 155-mm howitzers to Ukraine.
  • Moscow downgrades the diplomatic representation of Estonia in Russia in “retaliation” for Estonia’s demand to have an equal number of diplomats. In solidarity with Estonia, Latvia lowers diplomatic relations with Russia.
  • The US and European officials believe that Russian military intelligence is responsible for recent terrorist activities in Spain, which is likely a test of capabilities and a warning to Europeans to stop supporting Ukraine.
Humanitarian aspect:


The restoration of 11 out of 17 Kyiv residential high-rise buildings, which suffered the most damage due to Russian shelling, has been completed, reported the Kyiv City State Administration.

The Kyiv Oblast Police received a threat of mining of educational facilities in Brovary, Kyiv suburbia, on January 23. Kyiv Oblast Police and other services immediately arrived at the specified addresses. All children and staff were immediately evacuated; no suspicious persons or objects were found, the police reported.

Russian attacks

During the past day, January 22, as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, one Ukrainian civilian was killed, and nine more were injured. The Russian occupiers shelled 7 Ukrainian regions on January 22.

  • In Sumy Oblast, the enemy shelled the territory of the Znob-Novgorodska and the Novoslobidska communities. The village council, a cultural center, a store, and a high- voltage power line were damaged. On January 23, Russian artillery struck the center of Vorozhba town, damaging a residential building. Gas pipelines, power grids and railway infrastructure were also affected.
  • The enemy shelled Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast; 3 wounded civilians were reported. Three private houses were damaged. Also, Vuhledar, Avdiivka (1 wounded), Paraskoviivka, Rozdolivka, Fedirivka, Vasyukivka and the outskirts of Soledar were under Russian fire. 3 houses were damaged in Chasiv Yar.
  • The Russian military shelled Kherson Oblast 25 times on January 22; 3 people were wounded. In Kherson, enemy shells hit a shipbuilding plant and residential buildings.
  • The Russian troops fired 111 times on populated areas of Zaporizhzhia Oblast on January 22, 88 of them on civilian objects. Forty-one buildings were destroyed, and one person was injured.
  • In Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, an enemy shell hit the yard of a residential building; in Vovchansk, the occupiers hit a private house, 1 person was injured. A 67-year-old woman died in Petrivka village.
  • At night, the Russians shelled the Nikopol district of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast twice. More than 20 enemy shells impacted Myrivsk and Marhanets communities. No victims were reported.

In the territory of Donetsk Oblast, liberated from the Russian invaders, three people were blown up by enemy mines, two died, and another was hospitalized. The National Police of Ukraine established that the men, aged 46 and 57, stumbled upon a hidden wire that triggered an OZM- 72 anti-personnel mine. In addition, a 35-year-old resident of Yampil village was taken to the hospital in Kramatorsk with wounds and burns after running into a mine in a forest area in his truck.


As of the morning of January 23, due to the decrease in temperature, the power deficit in Ukraine’s power system has increased, and consumption limits have already been exceeded in five regions, reported NEC “Ukrenergo”. The company also reported restoring one of the 330 kV lines in the country’s southeast.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The build-up of the Russian grouping at the Tavilzhanka-Bohdanivske frontier is a sign of preparations for an offensive.
  • The enemy is stockpiling weapons and military equipment on the Autonomous Republic of Crimea’s territory to deploy an “army corps”-level military unit there.
  • Units of the Defense Forces repelled the enemy attacks in the areas of Stelmakhivka and Novoselivske in Luhansk Oblast and Vyimka, Rozdolivka, Bilohorivka, Paraskoviivka, Bakhmut, Stupochki, Novobakhmutivka, Pervomaiske and Maryinka in Donetsk Oblast.
  • After unsuccessful attempts to break into Makiyivka village from the direction of Ploschanka and Chervonopopivka, the Russian troops changed the direction of their attacks towards Torske and Lyman. They returned to attempts to break through Dibrova – Torske and Kreminna – Serebryansk forestry directions.
Enemy disposition:
  • The 31st separate airborne assault brigade and 138th separate motorized rifle brigade are transferred from the Novopavlivka direction to the second echelon of the “West” troops grouping in Kupyansk direction (to the area of Karmazynivka village), presumably to form a reserve.
  • On January 20, the units of the 56th and 108th air assault regiments of the 7th Air assault division began to transfer to the Lyman direction.
  • The deployment of a detachment of the “Wagner” PMC mercenaries was recorded at the Tavilzhanka-Bohdanivske frontier. They number up to 50 people, probably to perform reconnaissance tasks in the direction of Dvorichna and the “Dvorichna” National Nature Park along the Oskil River. Earlier, two tank battalions of the 4th motorized rifle division of the 1st tank army were deployed to this area.
  • In the area of Peredmistne and Medvedivka, the enemy is stockpiling weapons and military equipment of the main types in the amount needed for five BTGs (two tank and three motorized rifle BTGs with BMPs), at least 3-4 artillery divisions (2с7, 2с5, 2с4, 2а36, D -20, 9k57 “Uragan”), and anti-aircraft missile battalion “Buk-M2”. Reserves of similar composition accumulate in the area of Dzhankoy and to the north of Armyansk.
Escalation indicators: None

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The Russian military command is preparing to conduct a counteroffensive operation in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions; the probable start time is in two weeks;
  • The enemy’s activity in the Zaporizhzhia direction bears the signs of a cover-up operation.
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.

  • There are 11 enemy warships at sea. Among them are three carriers of cruise missiles “Kalibr”. The possible number of missiles on board is up to 24 units.
  • The active restoration of amphibious ships in the Sevastopol base is noted. Two amphibious ships (of the 775 project) are currently undergoing dock repair in dry and floating docks, and two more amphibious ships (projects 775 and 1171) are undergoing repairs at the 13th plant of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
  • One enemy patrol boat is in the waters of the Sea of Azov on the approaches to the Mariupol and Berdyansk seaports in order to block the Azov coast.
  • “Grain initiative”. On January 22, 2023, three ships left Ukrainian ports, transporting 105,500 tons of grain and other food. The bulk carrier AMIRA HANA will deliver 30,000 tons of wheat to the port of Djibouti. From there, Ukrainian grain will be delivered to Ethiopia. The vessel BC Vanessa (with 23,050 tons of corn and 7,300 tons of wheat) is heading to Spain, and the dry cargo vessel Sanita S (with 45,150 tons of wheat) is heading to Turkey. A ship, which passed through the maritime humanitarian corridor on Sunday, is heading to the port of Odesa for cargo.
  • As of January 22, the total tonnage of grain and other agricultural products exported from three Ukrainian ports is 18,330,360 tons.
  • In total, 1,336 ships were allowed to move: 665 for arrival at Ukrainian ports and 671 for departure.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 23.01.2023

Personnel – almost 121,480 people (+720)

Tanks – 3,150 (+5)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,276 (+8);

Artillery systems – 2,146 (+2);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 447 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 220 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,936 (+4); Aircraft – 287 (0);

Helicopters – 277 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,894 (+2); Intercepted cruise missiles – 749 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (+1).

Ukraine, general news

The Ukrainian court handed down the first verdict for organizing pseudo-referendums in the south [Kherson Oblast] of Ukraine. The first collaborator that helped the Russian invaders to organize a shame “independence” referendum was sentenced to five years behind bars and a

ten-years prohibition for elected public posts. It’s a significant development given that impunity for anti-Ukrainian activities in 2014-2015 allowed people who supported the covert invasion then help the overt aggression in 2022.

International diplomatic aspect

The EU allocated another €500 million in military aid for Ukraine, along with a further 45 million for “non-lethal equipment” for the EU’s military training mission for Ukraine under the European Peace Facility. “Italy supports every possible path to arrive at a just peace in Ukraine, which means the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said. He announced the sixth package of assistance, which includes the SAMP-T air defense system, which is being prepared for the delivery along with France.

“We are giving all our 155mm howitzers to Ukraine. And we want to set a precedent so that other countries will have no excuses why they cannot provide Ukraine with the necessary weapons to win the war,” Estonian Ambassador to Ukraine announced. The new €113 million aid package includes dozens of 155mm FH-70 and 122mm D-30 howitzers, thousands of 155mm artillery shells, and hundreds of M2 Carl-Gustaf anti-tank systems with ammunition.

“In recent years, the Estonian leadership has purposefully destroyed the entire range of relations with Russia. Total Russophobia, the cultivation of hostility towards our country have been elevated by Tallinn to the rank of state policy,” Russia Foreign Ministry’s statement reads. Moscow was not happy about the decision of Tallinn to equalize the number of Russian diplomatic personnel in the country to the level Estonia enjoys in Russia. Such a decision is based on the diplomatic customs and Article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. Besides the deterioration of the relations caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and retaliation against the EU sanctions, the Estonians may want fewer Russians with diplomatic immunities and privileges performing actions that contradict diplomatic functions (spying). The Russians decided to escalate and downgrade the representation to the level of charge d’affaires. Moscow has recalled its Ambassador and informed the Estonian Ambassador to leave the country in two weeks. In solidarity with Estonia, “Latvia will lower level of diplomatic relations with Russia effective February 24, demanding Russia to act accordingly,” Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics twitted.

The US and European officials believe that Russian military intelligence is behind recent terrorist activities in Spain, according to the NYT. Though there were no explosions, six letter bombs were sent to the official residence of the Spanish Prime Minister, the Defense Ministry, and the Embassies of Ukraine and the US. The apparent aim of the action was to signal that Russia and its proxies could carry out terrorist strikes in European countries, which support Ukraine, a US official said.

Russia, relevant news

The head of the “Rus’ Sedentary [prisoned] Foundation”, Olga Romanova, said that out of 50,000 prisoners recruited by the Wagner PMC, only 10,000 remained at the [Ukrainian] front. The rest either deserted or died, went missing, surrendered or were wounded. She claims that prisoners began to desert from PMCs back in the fall. Many of them fled back to Russia, taking weapons with them.

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