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CDS Daily brief (01.02.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • More than 1,377 Ukrainian children have been victims of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. 459 children were killed, and more than 918 were injured.
  • 9 oblasts of Ukraine came under Russian fire on Jan 31. There are killed and injured civilians.
  • The situation in the energy system of Ukraine is gradually improving; the deficit today comprises 21%.
  • Ukrainian business is losing optimism, with the index of business activity expectations falling to 37.5 points in January 2023 from 42.1 in December.
  • Ukraine saw a large number of high-profile searches and dismissals among government officials. Law enforcement says there’s more to come.


  • The Russian military command has no tactical solutions for Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Kupyansk, Lyman;
  • Bakhmut remains under the control of the Ukrainian Joint Forces, the M03 highway and the road to Kostyantynivka remain open for logistics and evacuation of the wounded;
  • The command of the Joint Forces completed the optimization of the forces inside Bakhmut;
  • Despite the 5-6 times quantity advantage of the Russian artillery, its effectiveness remains low. This is compensated by the more intensive use of army aviation.
  • Possible operation situation developments: the Russian command is preparing an offensive operation in the Lyman direction and continues to deploy the strike grouping; the enemy is trying to intensify efforts in the Vuhledar area.


  • The US has targeted a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s defense sector. Australia imposed financial sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities involved in the production and supply of drones to Russia.
  • Ukraine’s Minister of Defence secured a contract for two France-made Ground Master 200 radar systems.
  • The US is reportedly reading a more than $2 billion package that would include a longer- range GLSDB for the first time, as well as mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, guided multiple-launch rocket systems, and ammunition.
  • The Ukrainian President called on his Austrian colleague to impose more costs on Russia and relocate businesses to Ukraine.
  • Norwegian public intellectuals called on the government to increase support for Ukraine, given boosted by the Russian actions revenues from energy exports.
  • There are 555,332 fewer Russian citizens in Russia than a year before.
  • The US appointed a Senior Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations, who will be engaged in solving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and address Russia’s ongoing occupation of Georgia. The Georgian President stated that the Ukraine-Russia war should also conclude with restoring Georgian territorial integrity.
Humanitarian aspect:

More than 1,377 Ukrainian children have suffered as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. As of the morning of February 1, 2023, the official number of child victims killed is 459. The number of injured children has increased to more than 918 compared to the past day, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

According to the Ukrainian minister of Education, 12,926 schools are currently operational in Ukraine, including 8,563 schools that work in an offline or mixed format. This is almost 70%. The remaining 4,463 schools operate in the online format only. For security reasons, schoolchildren study exclusively online in five Oblasts: Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Kharkiv, and Kherson.

Russian attacks

The Russian military carried out attacks on nine regions of Ukraine during the day on January 31. Civilian infrastructure and residential areas sustained damage. A 60-year-old man was injured in Kharkiv Oblast; in Kherson Oblast one person died, and one person was injured. British intelligence is not sure why Russia is wasting its munitions on shelling Kherson.

Four people died, and six were injured due to the Russian shelling of Donetsk Oblast on January

31. As of the morning of February 1, at least 1,339 civilians of Donetsk Oblast were killed, and at least 2,939 were wounded at the hands of the occupiers. The numbers are not final since it’s impossible to establish the number of those killed in Mariupol and Volnovakha currently under Russian occupation.

On the evening of February 1, the Russian forces shelled Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast. A rocket hit a house; there are people under the rubble, “Ukrainska Pravda” reports.


As of February 1, the situation in the energy system of Ukraine is gradually improving; the expected deficit today is about 21% of the need, the press service of the Ministry of Energy reports.

Justice for war crimes

A Russian soldier who killed a farmer and dismembered his body during the temporary occupation of the Kupyansk district of Kharkiv Oblast was charged in absentia, the Prosecutor General’s office reports. According to PGO, the farmer had an active pro-Ukrainian position. During the investigation, it was established that the suspect got out of the car and told the farmer to come to him under the pretext of helping him repair the car. When the farmer approached, the serviceman shot him in the head, and the man died on the spot.

Occupied territories

According to the de facto head of Crimea, Aksyonov, no households are damaged by shelling in the region. The statement means that the occupation authorities recognize that Ukraine does not aim at civilian targets.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The Russian military command has no tactical solutions for Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Kupyansk, and Lyman;
  • Bakhmut remains under the control of the Ukrainian Joint Forces, the M03 highway and the road to Kostyantynivka remain open for logistics and evacuation of the wounded;
  • The Joint Forces command completed the optimization of the forces inside Bakhmut: 61st and 63rd separate mechanized brigades hold the positions north of Bakhmut, the 4th separate tank brigade supports them; the 24th separate mechanized brigade, 57th separate motorized infantry brigade, 1- and the 3rd National Guard brigades defend Bakhmut; the 28th and 60th separate mechanized brigades defend south of the city; the command in this area maintains a reserve of several brigades;
  • Despite the 5-6 times quantitative advantage of the Russian artillery, its effectiveness remains low, mainly due to the inability to use the Orlan UAV to adjust fire due to the low temperature. This is compensated by the more intensive use of army aviation.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Yampolivka, Spirne, Rozdolivka, Blahodatne, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka and Paraskoviivka in Donetsk Oblast; During the last month, the battle line has not undergone any significant changes.
  • With the forces of the 144th motorized rifle division of the 20th Army and the 13th BARS detachment, Russian troops pushed back the Ukrainian Defense Forces from the northern and southern outskirts of Kreminna. Still, they could not advance in the western direction to Zarichne and Torske. The Russian Armed Forces are feverishly building up a massive fortification line covered by deep minefields along the entire front line.
  • Mercenaries of the “Wagner” PMC and units of the Russian 76th air assault division crossed the Bakhmutska River. They advanced to Blahodatne with the aim of storming Paraskoviivka and Krasna Hora in the south and in the direction of the M03 highway in the west. The Ukrainian Joint forces retreated from Blahodatne and entrenched themselves on the dominant heights to the west of the village. They also deployed another artillery brigade and inflicted significant losses on the enemy in this kill zone. A similar situation developed in the Klishchiivka area.
  • In the Vuhledar area, all attacks by enemy units of the 40th and 155th separate marines brigades, “Vostok”, “Cascade” battalions, and other units from positions in Mykilske were repulsed beyond the range of small arms. South of the city, a counterattack by the Ukrainian Defense Forces caught Russian units by surprise and pushed them back to their old positions in the Pavlivka area.
Enemy disposition:
  • Units of the “Wagner” PMC are gradually withdrawn from the battles near Bakhmut and transferred to the Zaporizhzhia direction.
  • Detachments of the “Patriot” PMC were spotted in the Vuhledar area.
Escalation indicators: None.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The Russian command is preparing an offensive operation in the Lyman direction and continues to deploy the strike grouping;
  • The enemy is trying to intensify efforts in the area of Vuhledar.
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 15 warships at sea. Among them are 3 Kalibr cruise missile carriers, two “Buyan- M” type corvettes and one submarine. The possible number of missiles on board is up to 20 units. It can be assumed that the enemy will actually use 6-8 Kalibr missiles in the next missile attack.
  • In the Sea of Azov, on the approach to the Mariupol and Berdiansk seaports, one patrol boat is 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, 20 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.
“The Grain initiative”.
  • On the morning of February 1, a grain caravan of five dry cargoes left the Odesa coast for the Bosphorus Strait. The bulk carrier LOLO GATE, which left the port of Pivdenny, led the convoy. It was followed by the 225-meter THE RULER, which left the port of Chornomorsk, DONNA JUDI from the port of Odesa, BARRA and MANNA from the seaport of Pivdenny. Three ships are heading toward the Odesa coast. In total, since August 1, 694 ships have left the ports of Greater Odesa, exporting more than 19.2 million tons of agricultural products. In the Bosphorus strait, 118 vessels are waiting for inspections, including 22 loaded with agricultural products and 96 headed for loading.
  • The Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine reported the results of 2022. The year passed in extremely difficult military conditions, but thanks to the ports of Ukraine, more than 59 million tons of cargo were transshipped:
    • Exported – 47.8 million tons;
    • Imported – 6.2 million tons.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.2022 to 01.02.2023

Personnel – almost 128,420people (+920) Tanks -3,209 (+8)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,382 (+4);

Artillery systems – 2,207 (+10);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 458 (+4); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 221 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,061 (+13); Aircraft – 293 (0);

Helicopters – 284 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 1951 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 796 (+0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Several high-profile searches conducted by different [law-enforcement] agencies took place today. Among those whose houses were searched are:

  • Oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskiy. The investigation concerns fraud surrounding “Ukrtatnafta” and “Ukrnafta”.
  • Former Interior Minister Arsen Avakov. The case concerns the purchase of French Airbus helicopters, one of which crashed in Borovary, killing the Interior Ministry leadership.
  • MP from the banned Opposition Platform for Life party and Kyiv developer Vadym Stolar. Search by SBU;
  • Acting Head of the Kyiv Tax Service and Deputy Head of the Main Department of the State Tax Service in Kyiv. Search by the State Investigative Buro. The case is related to VAT returns;

According to Prosecutor General Kostin, four officials were charged with corruption today, namely the ex-deputy ministers of Defense and Energy and Coal Industry, as well as a current and a former official of the Ministry of Defense. Also, the top management of Ukrtatnafta PJSC was charged. An official of Odesa OMA was exposed for a $40,000 bribe for land fraud. Kostin emphasized that Ukraine is moving towards Europe, and there will be no way back to the old ways.

The State Bureau of Investigation director, Oleksiy Sukhachev, said that the searches carried out today and the charges presented to officials and former officials are “only the beginning”. There are “a lot of interesting materials” law enforcement officers are working on.

Counter-intelligence and Security Service investigators uncovered new criminal activity instances of Motor Sich JSC president Vyacheslav Boguslaev, suspected of working for the aggressor, and charged him with new crimes. It was established that after the start of the full-scale invasion, the high-ranking official financed the terrorist organization “DPR”. In particular, through paying “taxes” and “fees” to the budget of this quasi-organization.

At a meeting on Wednesday, February 1, the Cabinet of Ministers dismissed the acting head of the State Customs Service, Vyacheslav Demchenko and his deputy, Oleksandr Shutsky, as well as the acting head of the State Tax Service, Tetiana Kiriyenko.

In January, business continued to decrease estimates of its economic activity, with the index of business activity expectations falling to 37.5 points in January 2023 from 42.1 in December last year, the monthly survey of enterprises conducted by the NBU has shown.

The Acting Head of the Department of Military-Technical Policy, Development of Armaments and Military Equipment of the Ministry of Defense, Oleksandr Liev, accused of supporting the occupation of Crimea, has written a resignation letter and said that he did so in order “not to harm the Minister of Defense” Oleksiy Reznikov.

International diplomatic aspect

The US has sanctioned 22 individuals and entities which are a part of a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s defense sector. “Russia’s desperate attempts to utilize proxies to circumvent US sanctions demonstrate that sanctions have made it much harder and costlier for Russia’s military-industrial complex to re-supply Putin’s war machine,” the US Treasury Deputy Secretary said. Among the key masterminds are Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov, a father and son who run a broad network of individuals and entities to enable Russian defense sales to third-country governments. They’ve been employing companies in several countries, mostly Cyprus, but also DES Defense Engineering Solutions LTD, located in Israel, which is linked to Russian state military manufacturers. It should be noted that Israel rules out weapons supplies to Ukraine, including air defense. Meanwhile, Australia imposed financial sanctions on four Iranian individuals and four entities involved in the production and supply of drones to Russia.

Ukraine’s minister of defense secures a contract with Thales to supply two Ground Master 200 radar systems. With a range of 250 kilometers, GM200 is capable of detecting and tracking rockets, artillery and mortar shells, missiles, aircraft, drones, and other threats. It can be deployed and turned operational in 15 minutes and rolled back in 10, making it harder for the enemy to hit.

The US is reportedly reading a more than $2 billion package that would include a longer-range Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) for the first time. The Biden Administration ruled out ATACMS with a range of almost 300 km but decided to deliver GLSDB with a range half of that. The package may also include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), guided multiple launch rocket systems (GMLRS), and ammunition.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. And we will continue to support Ukraine with financial and humanitarian aid,” twitted the Austrian President while visiting Kyiv. After the bilateral meeting, Volodymyr Zelensky called on Alexander Van der Bellen to impose more costs on Russia. “We know the situation concerning Austrian business, which despite the brutal Russian terror, are not leaving Russia and continue to support the terrorist state, we believe, with their own taxes,” Volodymyr Zelensky said. “And therefore, we would like these businesses to go to Ukraine instead.” Austria has been a safe harbor for Russian businesses. The most notorious case is former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who was filmed dancing with Vladimir Putin at her wedding. She not only twitted a fancy photo from Moscow saying “Moscow + Snow = Beauty,” while Russian missiles were hitting Ukrainian cities, but was a member of the board of Russian energy giant Rosneft. Under public pressure, she decided to quit her lucrative job.

Norwegian academics, public intellectuals and activists, and former officials have urged their government to step up its support for Ukraine, given increased revenues from energy exports triggered by the Russian actions. Norway ranks eighth in terms of absolute assistance figures and fifteenth per GDP. The Prime Minister hinted that a significant “multi-year support package” would be announced in the coming days.

The Russian state statistics service has reported that Russia’s population decreased by 555,332 from the last year. It’s impossible to assess what parts of the lost population are those who had escaped the mobilization and those killed in action in Ukraine. With an overall population of 146,4 million, Vladimir Putin’s strategic blunder has worsened Russia’s demographic situation.

The US Secretary of State has appointed Louis L. Bono, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, as Senior Advisor for Caucasus Negotiations. In this capacity, Mr Bono will work with regional leaders to advance the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to address Russia’s ongoing occupation of sovereign Georgian territory. Meanwhile, the Georgian President stated, “Russia must know where its borders are. The issues of Georgia must also be taken into account, and no one should think that this war can end without Russia retreating from all the occupied territories.” Russia waged several wars and illegally occupied parts of Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Moldova (Transnistria). Ukraine’s success on the battlefield (restoration of the internationally recognized borders) should also be used to solve those frozen conflicts. It is in the interest of the Free world to put an end to Russia’s impunity for previous crimes that led to the new ones.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020 and are involved in security studies, defence policy research and advocacy. Currently all our activity is focused on stopping the ongoing war.

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