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CDS Daily brief (25.01.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russia launched another massive attack on Ukraine on the evening of January 25;
  • A Russian solder and his commander are charged with war crimes committed in Irpin, Kyiv Oblast, during its Russian occupation;
  • Russia had effective control over Ukraine’s eastern territories, starting May 11, 2014, ECHR ruled unanimously. This means Russia can be held liable for human rights violations in the occupied territories;
  • Russian authorities draft Ukrainian citizens deported to Russia from the newly occupied territories into the Russian military;
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed controversial bill 8271, which toughens the criminal liability of military personnel;
  • The director of the MOD procurement department, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, who is involved in the food procurement scandal, was dismissed from his post;


  • The Russian military does not stop offensive actions in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions in Donetsk Oblast. It is defending itself in the Kupyansk (Kharkiv Oblast), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions;
  • Increased enemy activity in the Vuhledar area should be seen as an attempt to divert attention from the lack of tactical progress in the Bakhmut area;
  • Possible operation situation developments: the Russian forces will concentrate their efforts on capturing Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, and maintaining their positions in the areas of Kreminna and Svatove, Luhansk Oblast; Local attacks on the section of the front from Vuhledar (Donetsk Oblast) to Orikhiv (Zaporizhzhia Oblast) should be expected.
  • Sea: Since the beginning of the war, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey have neutralized a total of about 40 mines in their waters.


  • The US will send thirty-one M1 Abrams, and Germany will send fourteen Leopard 2 MBTs to Ukraine. The POTUS and Chancellor radiate unity after media reports about a heated discussion between the ministers of defense and national security officials.
  • NATO Secretary-General calls for “more armor, more heavy and modern weapons” for Ukraine to defend itself and liberate the occupied territories.
  • Russian ambassadors to the US and Germany express their dissatisfaction. The one in DC accused the US of being “the real aggressor in the current conflict.”
  • The decision to send Western-made tanks is likely to have strategic implications, which, with Ukraine’s victory, may cause changes in the Kremlin or decay for years to come. Russia will lose the remains of its global power and even the role of regional power.
  • The Swiss Parliament’s committee made a move that might result in unblocking the re- export of Swiss-made defense materials from third countries to Ukraine.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

Russian forces continued shelling residential areas of Ukrainian cities. Heads of 8 Oblast military administrations reported shelling over the past day.

  • Yesterday afternoon, there was a rocket attack on the densely populated area of Kostyantynivka in Donetsk Oblast. 5 were wounded, including three children. The almost- ruined city of Vuhledar was shelled throughout the day. People at 40 addresses reported damages. Overall, ten people were injured in the Oblast yesterday.
  • In Kherson, the Russian army shelled a maternity hospital, a school, and a polyclinic. The building of the maternity hospital was damaged. Nobody was injured. The Russian occupiers move the medical equipment from the Kakhovka central city hospital to Henichesk.
  • In Sumy Oblast, yesterday during the day, the Russians shelled eight border communities; there were 187 hits. No people were reported killed or injured.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, 22 reports were received about the destruction of private houses (apartments) and infrastructure facilities due to shelling.
  • Four communities were shelled in Kharkiv Oblast. As a result of the shelling of the village of Lypsi two people were injured. Civilian and critical infrastructure objects were hit in Kupyansk and Kupyansk districts.

On the evening of January 25, Russia launched another large-scale attack on Ukraine. Air raid alert is on in 9 southern, eastern and central Oblasts. Head of Mykolayiv OVA Vitaliy Kim warned of Shahed UAVs, explosions were heard in Dnipro, and in Vilnyansk in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Mykolayiv mayor Sinkevych added that 3 Russian Tu-22M3 bombers are in the air.


As a result of the cold weather, electricity consumption is increasing, and thus the power deficit in the energy system is increasing significantly, the press service of Ukrenergo reported. Over the past day, artillery shelling has damaged the energy infrastructure in the frontline areas in the south and east. Where the military has given permission, repair work is ongoing.

Justice for war crimes

A Russian soldier captured in Kherson Oblast in September and his commander were officially charged with accusations that they tortured and simulated shooting civilians during the temporary occupation of the city of Irpin in Kyiv Oblast, the National Police reported. One of the suspects is in pre-trial detention, and the location of the second one is being identified.

Cultural heritage

The historical center of the port city of Odesa is included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy Kateryna Chuyeva reported. She said that Russia tried to take the issue of UNESCO’s agenda for the current meeting and then tried to stall the decision-making.

Occupied territories

The court in Strasbourg has decided that it has jurisdiction over complaints against Russia for human rights violations in the territories of eastern Ukraine that were under Russia’s de facto control, the President of the ECHR, Siofra O’Leary, announced during the court session. “The court unanimously decided that from May 11, 2014, the events fall under the jurisdiction of the court” because “the territories captured by the separatists were under the control of the Russian Federation,” the judge emphasized.

Men deported from temporarily occupied territories are being mobilized on the territory of the Russian Federation. This is one of the reasons the Russian government decided to issue passports based on the place of residence rather than the place of registration, as it’s done in Russia, Luhansk Oblast Military Administration reports. The Russian military also continues recruiting imprisoned Ukrainian citizens forcibly taken to Russian prisons. In particular, they are being recruited in Krasnodar into the “Wagner” PMC. According to the OMA, people serving sentences for serious criminal offenses are most actively called to participate in the war against Ukraine.

Operational situation

General conclusion:

  • The Russian military does not stop offensive actions in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions in Donetsk Oblast. It is defending itself in the Kupyansk (Kharkiv Oblast), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions;
  • Increased enemy activity in the Vuhledar area should be seen as an attempt to divert attention from the lack of tactical progress in the Bakhmut area;
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Bilohorivka, Chervonopopivka of Luhansk Oblast and Bilohorivka, Rozdolivka, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Sil, Novobakhmutivka, Klishchiivka, Krasnohorivka, Vodyane, Maryinka and Charivne in Donetsk Oblast;
  • In the area of Pidhorodnie, Donetsk Oblast, the Russian forces advanced in the western direction, keeping the village under their control. Mercenaries from the “Wagner” PMC attacked in the direction of Vesele, Mykolaivka and north of Blahodatne. They tried to advance on the southern, northern and eastern outskirts of Bakhmut.
  • The Russian forces advanced to the outskirts of Vodyane in Donetsk Oblast, stormed Pervomaiske, and launched an offensive around Vuhledar and Velyka Novosilka. However, it should be considered that the 155th separate marines brigade has suffered significant losses in previous battles and is not capable of large-scale offensive.
  • Russian troops took up positions along the Malynivka – Chervone line southeast of Hulyaipole in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The Ukrainian defense forces, attacking in small groups, are trying to capture the positions of the 76th air assault division in the forests south of Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast, and develop an offensive from this direction.
  • The enemy has failed to cut the supply lines of the Ukrainian garrison of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Joint Forces retreated from Soledar to a previously prepared line and continue to conduct defense.
Enemy disposition:

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu appointed Colonel-General Sergey Kuzovlev as the commander of the Southern Military District, and Lieutenant-General Yevgeny Nikiforov as the commander of the Western Military District.

Escalation indicators:
  • The transfer of a significant number of mobilized personnel to Luhansk Oblast;
  • The Russian use of TOS-1A heavy flamethrower systems in Bakhmut.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Russian forces will concentrate their efforts on capturing Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, and maintaining their positions in the area of Kreminna and Svatove, Luhansk Oblast;
  • Local attacks on the section of the front from Vuhledar (Donetsk Oblast) to Orikhiv (Zaporizhzhia Oblast) should be expected.
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 warships at sea. Among them are 4 Kalibr cruise missile carriers, including 1 submarine. The possible number of missiles on board is up to 28 units.
  • 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, Saky, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. During the day, about 16 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.
  • On January 23, Bulgarian naval forces neutralized a mine drifting in the Black Sea near the coast of Bulgaria, the country’s Ministry of Defense reports. Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey have special diving units that remove mines drifting in their waters. Since the beginning of the war, they have offloaded a total of about 40 mines from their own waters.
  • The “Grain initiative”. Today, January 25, the first meeting of the National Security Council of Turkey in 2023 will be held in Ankara, which will discuss, in particular, the operation of the “grain corridor” and Turkey’s mediation initiatives in the Russian- Ukrainian war. The meeting is expected to discuss “the grain corridor, Turkey’s peace efforts, mediation and facilitation, humanitarian aid, and achieving a permanent ceasefire.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 25.01.23

Personnel – almost 123,080 people (+910)

Tanks – 3,161 (+9)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,307 (+23);

Artillery systems – 2,154 (+6);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 450 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 220 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 4,967 (+23); Aircraft – 290 (+1);

Helicopters – 281 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1,902 (+5); Intercepted cruise missiles – 749 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed controversial bill 8271, which toughens the criminal liability of military personnel for failure to comply with combat orders, escape from the battlefield or a military unit. The law was supported by Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny, despite criticism from human rights activists, parts of society, and a petition on the president’s website to veto it.

The director of the procurement department of the Ministry of Defense, Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, who is involved in the food procurement scandal, was dismissed from his post, the head of the anti-corruption committee of the Verkhovna Rada Anastasia Radina reported. Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov confirmed the information. Radina also emphasized that the head of the MOD “has no legal claims against the author of the journalistic investigation.”

International diplomatic aspect

“Helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia. There is no offensive threat,” Joe Biden said during the announcement of a new aid package that includes 31 Abrams MBTs and eight M88 recovery vehicles. The POTUS added that “Germany has really stepped up. The Chancellor has been a strong, strong voice for unity.” “Germany didn’t force me to change the mind,” Joe Biden added, “we wanted to make sure we were all together.” “This is a tremendous new capability that Ukraine will be getting to boost its long-term defenses,” a senior White House official said.

“Thank you, POTUS, for another powerful decision to provide Abrams to Ukraine. Grateful to the American people, for the leadership support! It’s an important step on the path to victory. Today

the free world is united as never before for a common goal – the liberation of Ukraine. We’re moving forward,” Volodymyr Zelensky twitted. After talking to the US Secretary of Defense, Ukraine’s Defense Minister twitted, “More good news to be announced soon.”

“Germany supports Ukraine in defending against Russia’s aggression – humanitarian, financial, and with weapons. I informed President Zelensky that we are supplying Leopard 2 tanks in close cooperation with our international partners,” Olaf Scholz twitted, announcing the delivery of fourteen Leopard 2 MBTs.

“If we want Ukraine to be able to defend against upcoming Russian offenses, we know the Russians are planning for new offenses, and also if we want Ukraine to be able to retake territory, we need to give them more armor, more heavy and modern weapons,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said welcoming the decision of the Allies.

“We’re seeing yet again that Germany, as well as its closest allies, is not interested in a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis; it is determined to permanently escalate it and to indefinitely pump the Kyiv regime full of new lethal weapons,” the Russian Ambassador to Germany stated. “This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation. No one should have illusions about who is the real aggressor in the current conflict,” the Russian Ambassador to the US revealed a universe of alternative facts.

The decision to send Western-made tanks is likely to have strategic implications. The US has tuned its Russia strategy, so they want to speed up if not a Russian defeat, then significantly degrade its ability to escalate on the ground. With talks about targeting Crimea and liberating it, if there’s such an opportunity, the US has changed the escalation calculus. It’s yet another sign that Ukraine is a de facto part of the Trans-Atlantic security framework, though there’s a long way to go to the NATO member.

The US leadership helped to preserve Western unity, helping the Germans to cross yet another red line they had drawn in their minds. Russia won’t get a chance to turn the tide on the ground and crack the unity, so they will try to play “diplomacy” that the West is unlikely to buy. The new capability is increasing the chances of winning this war and, if not triggering changes in the Kremlin, making Russia weaker. Moscow’s strategic overstretch will result in losing the remains of global power and even the role of regional power. Ukraine will be a significant security factor for years to come. Russia has lost strategically in the Baltic and northern seas; it’s incapable of competing with China in Central Asia. With military capabilities degraded and dire economic straits, Russia is likely to retreat from the faraway places where their military or Wagner mercenaries are operating.

Meanwhile, the Russian prosecutor’s office of Syzran has launched an investigation into the embezzlement of the presidential grant allocated to an MP from Putin’s “United Russia” Party. The parliamentarian spent about $32,000 for staging a reconstruction of the Battle of Kursk of 1943 with the help of a couple of dozens of pupils and a few tanks made of cardboard.

The Security Policy Committee of Switzerland’s lower house of the Parliament voted to allow a re-export exception for armored vehicles, weapons, and other defense materials (to Ukraine) in case there is the use of force violates international law. The MPs found a perfect justification – an examination should be based on either the UN Security Council’s resolution (not an option given Russia’s veto power) or a General Assembly’s resolution voted for by a two-thirds majority (the UN GA Resolution ES-11/1 on Aggression against Ukraine of 2 March 2022 was supported by 141 countries). Under such circumstances, the MPs believe, there wouldn’t be a violation of the neutrality status. However, the final decision will rest on the Secretariat for Economic Affairs, which has already rejected several requests for re-exporting ammunition and armored vehicles. It may also be decided in the Federal Council.

Russia, relevant news

Based on open sources, the BBC managed to establish the names of 92 Russian soldiers who died during the shelling of the technical training center in the occupied Makiyivka near Donetsk. This is three more people than the number made public by the Russian Ministry of Defense. A list of confirmed dead is compiled by BBC in collaboration with the Russian publication “Mediazona.” The journalists added that the families of at least 16 more soldiers could not find them among the dead or the living.

The French group company Legrand, which manufactures electrical products, has announced its intention to leave the Russian market. The group has been operating in Russia since 1993 and owns two plants in the Ulyanovsk region.

The largest Polish oil refinery Orlen intends to replace oil from Russia with supplies from the United States, the countries of the Persian Gulf and the North Sea, the head of the company, Daniel Obaitek, said.

One of the largest manufacturers of payment card terminals, Ingenico, may leave Russia in March 2023, three sources in the payment market told the Russian RBC news agency.

The French chain of sports stores Decathlon is selling its Russian assets, the Russian publication “Kommersant” reports with reference to RBC. According to three sources, Decathlon expects to sell the business entirely. In total, there are 57 Decathlon stores in Russia, and all of them are closed.

The Union of European Football Associations has moved the 2023 UEFA Super Cup match from Russian Kazan to Athens.

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