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CDS Daily brief (13.02.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • 8 Ukrainian regions came under Russian fire on February 12. At least 4 civilians died, and 3 were injured;
  • Two districts of Kharkiv experience water shortages in the aftermath of the February 10 attacks;
  • The is no electric power shortage in the power system; however, scheduled blackouts are possible due to the damaged distribution system, in particular in Kyiv and Odesa;
  • Ukraine’s allies support the creation of the special tribunal for the Russian crime of aggression, and details of the mechanism for its creation are discussed;
  • 60-80% of the occupied Sievierodonetsk have no utility services. Medicines and food are available, although expensive. The mortality rate is high.
  • 13 NGOs joined the working group on the creation of an anticorruption advisory body under the Ministry of Defense. Deputy Minister replacements are expected at the Ministry;
  • Ukraine will need 50 000 people to staff military and military-civilian administrations in Crimea after its liberation.


  • The Russian military concentrates its primary efforts on capturing Krasna Hora and making conditions to encircle Bakhmut from the north;
  • The Russian military tries to create preconditions to bring into battle the main forces of the grouping formed in the Lyman direction;
  • The battles have the character of small unit clashes (up to a company).
  • Change in enemy disposition: 9,000 Russian soldiers from the 6th motorized rifle division of the 3rd army corps, 60 units of armored vehicles, and 40 artillery systems are stationed in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
  • Possible operation situation developments: The Russian command is unable to solve the logistics problems of its grouping. However, it should not be ruled out that the situation will escalate in the coming days to demonstrate achievements by February 21, the day of Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly.


  • The governments of the US and France are calling on their citizens to leave Russia and Belarus. Meanwhile, Chines Foreign Minister will travel to Moscow. The Hungarian Foreign Minister will visit Minsk for a “peacemaking” mission. Neither Ukraine nor the EU nor anyone else has asked him to make the trip.
  • The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference didn’t provide Sergey Lavrov with a “propaganda platform” opportunity. Instead, Christoph Heusgen called the allies not to “put red lines’ on fighter jets for Ukraine.”
  • Ukraine’s Defence Minister outlined the agenda of the 9th Ramstein meeting, while NATO Secretary-General called on the allies to strengthen support for Ukraine, including by boosting the defense industry’s production.
  • Russia allegedly planned a coup d’état in Moldova to deny the country ability to integrate into the EU and increase threats to Ukraine’s South.
Humanitarian aspect:

Two districts in Kharkiv are still without or with a limited water supply due to the missile attacks of February 10, the press service of the “Kharkivvodokanal” utility company reports. The problem is caused by the cut electricity supply to the local water pumping station.

Russian attacks

The Russian army attacked eight regions of Ukraine on February 12, according to the information of Oblast Military Administrations made public in the morning round-up. As a result, there are killed and wounded civilians and damaged and destroyed civilian objects.

  • In Sumy Oblast, the enemy shelled 4 communities, more than 50 hits were recorded. In the Esman community, a cafe in one of the villages was damaged due to shelling.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russian military shelled civilian infrastructure in the area of 14 towns and villages.
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Russia attacked the Nikopol district three times with barrel artillery and MLRS. The Nikopol, Marhanets and Myrivska communities came under fire. A 53-year-old woman died in Nikopol. Two pensioners were injured. In the city, six high- rise buildings, a water supply and a college building were damaged. In the Marhanets community, 20 private houses, power lines and a gas pipeline were damaged.
  • In Kharkiv Oblast, Kupyansk came under Russian fire several times. Residential buildings and farm buildings were damaged, and there were fires. In total, the Russian forces shelled at least 10 towns and villages in Kharkiv Oblast. As a result of shelling in the evening, a private house was damaged in Vovchansk, Chuhuyiv district. A 47-year-old man was injured.
  • In Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine’s Defense Forces units repelled attacks by Russian troops in Kreminna and Bilohorivka areas. In the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, the enemy carried out mortar and artillery shelling of Novoselivske, Makiyivka, Nevske, Dibrova and Bilohorivka.
  • According to Donetsk Oblast police, on February 12, 13 towns and villages were hit by Russian shelling, 23 civilian objects were destroyed and damaged. One civilian was killed in Chasiv Yar, and one was wounded in Yelisavetivka.
  • In Mykolayiv Oblast yesterday, the enemy attacked the Kotsyrubivka community with anti-aircraft missiles.
  • In Kherson Oblast, the Russian artillery fire affected Kherson and 20 villages. An injured man was hospitalized in serious condition. A civilian car blew up on a mine left by the Russian invaders near Novoraysk village. Two men died. During the day, three people died, and one person was injured.

Although there is no shortage in the power system, local power outages may be applied in some districts of Kyiv due to damage to electricity transmission networks, said Serhiy Kovalenko, CEO of the electricity supplier Yasno. He said there were no planned blackouts for several days;

however, some accidents are still possible due to the system’s damage. Scheduled blackouts also apply in Odesa for the same reason, NEC Ukrenergo said.

Tribunal for Russian Aggression

The head of the Office of the President, Andriy Yermak, held a working group meeting on creating a special international tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. Yermak noted that most of Ukraine’s allies support its initiative: “Today, almost all of them say that they are ready to participate in the creation of the tribunal. We no longer discuss the possibility of the idea itself, but the specific mechanisms to create it.”

Occupied territories

According to the [Ukrainian] head of the Sievierodonetsk city administration, Oleksandr Stryuk, 60-80% of the city has no utility services. There are “islands of life” for the [Russian] occupation soldiers and administrators. Food and medicine are available in the occupied city, but at a higher price than in the free territory. In particular, medicines are imported from Russia, but they are in short supply. The local hospital has minimal medical personnel; they come from Sieverodonetsk and Russia-occupied Luhansk. The city has a high mortality rate, added Stryuk.

In Mariupol district schools, all students of the 9th and 11th grades are forced to obtain Russian passports, an advisor to the Mariupol Mayor Petro Andryushchenko said. Students are threatened that they will not receive their graduation certificates without a Russian passport. 9th-grade students can only get the certificate if their parents already have a Russian passport

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The Russian military concentrates its primary efforts on capturing Krasna Hora village and making conditions to encircle Bakhmut from the north;
  • The enemy tries to create preconditions to bring into battle the main forces of the grouping formed in the Lyman direction;
  • The battles have the character of small unit clashes (up to a company).
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Hryanykivka, Kharkiv Oblast; Kreminna and Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast; Vyimka, Fedorivka, Vasyukivka, Bakhmut, Ivanivske and Klishchiivka in Donetsk Oblast and Zaliznychne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast;
  • With the forces of the 4th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd army corps, the Russian military tried to attack Zarichne and achieved a slight advance in the gray zone. In the area of Bilohorivka, the Ukrainian Defense Forces stopped the offensive of the 7th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd army corps and the 7th BARS detachment;
  • The Russian forces attacked in the Berestove-Bilohorivka section and advanced 1.5 km. They tried to develop an offensive in the Krasna Hora area.
  • The Russian forces attacked Avdiyivka from their positions in Opytne but failed.
  • The 150th motorized rifle division of the 8th army of the Southern Military District concentrates on breaking through the defense of the Ukrainian Joint Forces in the Pobieda – Novomykhailivka section south of Maryinka, trying to bypass it from the south. The division’s forward C2 point was moved to the combat area.
  • Units of the 125th motorized rifle regiment of the 1st army corps in the Stepove area pushed back the Ukrainian Defense Forces and advanced 1-1.5 km.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • 9,000 Russian soldiers from the 6th motorized rifle division of the 3rd army corps, 60 units of armored vehicles, and 40 artillery systems are stationed in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Russian command is unable to solve the problems of ensuring the grouping’s security and logistics. However, it should not be ruled out that the situation will escalate in the coming days to demonstrate achievements by February 21, the day of Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly.
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.

  • The Russian fleet brought 13 surface ships and two submarines out to sea. They perform tasks south of the Crimean Peninsula. Submarines are carriers of Kalibr missiles. In total, they may have up to 8 Kalibr missiles on board. The Russian Navy ship activity may be related to the completion of the new training period (started on December 1, 2022) and the need to coordinate the crews, given that part of the ship’s crews, including the marines, was sent to reinforce the enemy’s land groups. It is distinctive that two amphibious ships (project 775) were also spotted in the sea after completing the current maintenance in Sevastopol.
  • One patrol boat was on duty in the Sea of Azov waters.
  • 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, 22 sorties of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea were recorded.
  • On the night of February 12, the formation and movement of a military equipment convoy in the direction of the Kherson Oblast, numbering more than 30 units, took place in the deployment area of the 126th separate coastal defense brigade of the Black Sea Fleet on the outskirts of Perevalne village of Simferopol district (Crimea),
  • The private military company “Wagner” recruited about 1,200 prisoners serving their sentences in temporarily occupied Crimea to participate in the war against Ukraine.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 13.02.23

Personnel – almost 138,340 people (+560)

Tanks – 3,283 (+3)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,492 (+4);

Artillery systems – 2,290 (+3);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 465 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 234 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,150 (+2); Aircraft – 296 (0);

Helicopters – 286 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,007 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 857 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, believes that the victory of Ukraine should mean not only the liberation of its territories but also the strengthening of the Ukrainian army so that Russia will never attack Ukraine again. Zaluzhny said this in his conversation with the Supreme Commander of the NATO Joint Forces in Europe and the Commander of the US Armed Forces in Europe, General Christopher Cavoli.

Security Service of Ukraine conducted counter-sabotage exercises near the border with Belarus, SBU reported. The exercise plot involved “saboteurs” disguised as civilians who secretly infiltrated the region’s territory.

The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, published a list of 13 organizations that joined the working group on creating an anticorruption advisory body under the Ministry of Defense. The group includes investigative journalists, think tanks, anticorruption activists, etc. The first meeting of the group took place on Friday, February 10. Reznikov also announced that some of his deputies would be replaced. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree according to which a serviceman with the rank of lieutenant general or vice admiral could be appointed as the first deputy minister of defense of Ukraine at the time of martial law.

According to the Permanent representative of the President of Ukraine to Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, after the liberation of Crimea, Ukraine will need about 50,000 personnel to ensure control over the situation. She stressed that military and civil-military administrations would have to be formed in Crimea, and they would have to be staffed with the residents of the territory

currently under government control since local Crimean residents will have difficulties with both Ukrainian law and the Ukrainian language after 9 years of occupation.

International diplomatic aspect

While the French Foreign Ministry advised their citizens to “leave Belarus without delay,” the US State Department called on its citizens to “depart Russia immediately” “due to the unpredictable consequences of the unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the potential for harassment and the singling out of US citizens for detention by Russian government security officials, the arbitrary enforcement of local law, limited flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist US citizens in Russia, and the possibility of terrorism.»

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Minister will visit Moscow, and the Hungarian Foreign Minister will fly to Minsk. He is the first high official to visit Belarus since the all-out invasion. “Human lives must be saved, and that can only be done with peace. Hungary expects all members of the international community to act in order to ensure immediate peace and to avoid steps that risk prolonging or escalating the war. I will also represent this peace position at today’s negotiations in Minsk,” Péter Szijjártó wrote on his Facebook. Ukraine hasn’t asked the Hungarian government for any mediating role. Moreover, the government and Ukrainian people were outraged by the comments made by the pro-Russian Prime Minister for the American Conservative. Neither the EU as the institution nor Germany and France, as leading nations in it, didn’t ask for or agree on Hungary’s “peacemaking” role. The Hungarian government has been playing a negative role by blocking tougher sanctions, refusing to provide military assistance to Ukraine or even using Hungarian territory for its delivery. Hungary has been blocking NATO projects with Ukraine and, along with Turkey, is blocking the membership of Sweden and Finland in the Alliance.

“We don’t want to give [Sergey] Lavrov a platform for his propaganda,” Christoph Heusgen explained the reason why the Russian Foreign Minister hadn’t been invited to this year’s annual Munich Security Conference (MSC). “We shouldn’t put red lines’ on fighter jets for Ukraine,” the chair of the MSC stated.

Ukrainian Defense Minister expects the coming Ramstein meeting to be focused on: the “Protection of Ukrainian skies, including through the involvement of an aviation platform; Building a ‘tank coalition’; Building a safety margin in terms of ammunition; Training programs for our soldiers; Stability of support — logistics, maintenance, repair, and practical implementation of the ‘Military Schengen.” “The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production. This puts our defense industries under strain. So, we need to ramp up new production and invest in our production capacities,” NATO Secretary-General said. “It’s urgent to provide Ukraine with more weapons.”

The Moldovan President accused Russia of plotting a coup d’état to deny her country’s integration with the EU and use it for the destabilization of southern regions of Ukraine. Maia Sandu believes the Kremlin thought to use “saboteurs” with a military background but in civilian clothes, like it was in Crimea and Eastern regions of Ukraine in 2014. They were supposed to launch an attack on governmental institutions and take hostages. Alongside local collaborators,

citizens from Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro were planned to be engaged. Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council said that “Kadyrovites”, who fought in Ukraine and are now in Turkey, might also be involved. Earlier, the Ukrainian President stated that he warned his Moldavan partners about the planned plot intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence.

“Moldova is one of the countries that the West wants to turn into another anti-Russia. It tried and is trying to do this in relation to Georgia,” Sergey Lavrov said just a couple of weeks before President Zelensky’s warning.

Russia tried to overthrow the government in Montenegro in 2016, and the leader of Kosovo warned about the Wagner mercenaries’ involvement in illegal weapons trafficking in Kosovo and preparing a hybrid attack along with Serbian forces. The Kremlin is likely trying to spread the war beyond Ukraine’s borders and deteriorate the situation in the Balkans to divert the West’s attention and resources from supporting Ukraine.

“The Gray Zone”, a Wagner PMC-related Telegram channel, published a video of a man being executed with a sledgehammer. For the second time, such videos of barbaric murders have appeared on social media. The goal of publicizing the murder of a former convict that joined the mercenaries is to boost discipline and show the “seriousness” of Wagner. However, Stalin-like methods are unlikely to change the way the criminals turned to mercenaries fighting.

Russia, relevant news

Russian media reported that Vladimir Makarov, a major general and former deputy head of the department for the fight against “extremism” of the Russian MIA, committed suicide near Moscow. Makarov was fired from his post at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ counter-extremism department (also known as Center “E”) in January of this year. “Meduza” reports that Center “E” is a repressive body whose employees persecute participants of protest actions and, in particular, monitor publications on social networks criticizing the authorities.

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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