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CDS Daily brief (22.02.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russian military shelled residential areas in 8 oblasts of Ukraine over the past day. On a rare occasion, Chernihiv Oblast did not see any shelling.
  • Russians committed 9,000 war crimes and murdered 1,700 civilians in Bucha and the area. Ukrainian law enforcement identified 91 Russian military personnel involved in those crimes.
  • Between October 2022 and February 2023, 77% of Russian strikes were on critical infrastructure objects;
  • 507,058 Ukrainian children and 12,500 teachers are currently abroad due to full-scale Russian aggression;
  • President Zelensky approved the petition to resume wealth declaration by MPs and government officials. The Rada is expected to vote on a draft law to this effect.
  • One Servant of the People MP resigned from the Rada due to an attempted bribery case. The fines he pays will go toward the “Army of Drones” initiative launched by the United24 platform.


  • The Russian forces will continue their efforts to capture Bakhmut by February 24, enter the approaches to the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration, and take control of Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Vuhledar.
  • The relative silence west of Bakhmut, along the T0504 route, indicates that the Russian military command has abandoned attempts to encircle Bakhmut and concentrated on breaking into it from the north.
  • The Russian command increased the number of “Wagner” PMC detachments, mobilized personnel and “volunteer” battalions from North Ossetia and Dagestan in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The movement of ill-trained or battle-worn irregular forces into Zaporizhzhia Oblast shows that the Russian military command does not consider advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast a priority.


  • Russians cynically used Ukrainian children from Mariupol at the massive propaganda event in Moscow. So far, the Russian war has killed 489 and wounded 954 Ukrainian children. The Ukrainian government knows about 16,207 Ukrainian children who were forcefully deported to Russia, though their number might be as high as 150,000.
  • The US will announce fresh sanctions this week, while Hungary blocks the EU’s 10th package intending to exclude four Russians and oppose a longer period of sanctions before a renewal.
  • The Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee believes there’s “increasing momentum towards getting both the artillery [ATACMS] and the planes [F-16].”
  • Poland will deliver fourteen Leopard 2 tanks in the “next two or three weeks”; Spain is ready to send six Leopard 2A4 MBTs.
Humanitarian aspect:

According to the Ministry of Education and Science, 507,058 children and 12,500 teachers are abroad due to full-scale Russian aggression. Also, 161,097 schoolchildren in Ukraine are internally displaced persons, and 25,897 children have become IDPs among preschoolers.

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, a total of 324,425 explosive objects, including 2,185 aviation bombs, have been defused, the press service of the State Emergency Service reported.

Among others, Prosecutor General Kostin made the following numbers public today:

  • 9,655 civilians died during the year of the war, including 461 children.
  • 952 facts of the use of prohibited cluster mines, chemical, cluster and incendiary ammunition were registered.
  • From October 2022 to February 2023, 77% of the strikes were on critical infrastructure objects; Russia has launched 255 missile strikes on 112 energy infrastructure facilities in Ukraine. Obviously, this is a deliberate tactic of the enemy, the Prosecutor General believes.
  • In 2022, we had 7,100 criminal proceedings related to corruption. 610 corrupt officials were convicted.
  • Currently, more than 20 countries, including the main partners of Ukraine, are part of the Coordination Group, which promotes the idea of a special tribunal for Russian aggression in Ukraine. Kostin said that Ukrainian courts would consider 99% of Russian war crimes, and international courts would play a complementary role.
  • Law enforcement officers have already identified 91 military personnel of the Russian Federation involved in crimes in the city of Bucha, Kyiv Oblast.

This year, Ukraine may reduce the production of agricultural products and food due to Russian aggression; more than 2.6 million hectares of farming lands need demining, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yuliya Svyrydenko said.

Russian attacks

The Russian Federation army shelled eight Ukraine regions on February 21. Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson Oblasts came under heavy shelling. In Donetsk Oblast, 1 resident of Ivanove was killed, and 1 more person in the region was injured; a civilian was wounded in Kharkiv Oblast; in Kherson Oblast, 5 people were killed, and 21 were wounded. There was no shelling in Chernihiv Oblast in the north of Ukraine.

Occupied territories

The legally elected mayor of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, said with reference to local residents, that since yesterday, Russian occupation authorities have been driving around the villages of Melitopol district in the area of Molochny Lyman and intimidating people. They call to evacuate or prepare bomb shelters. According to him, the invaders act according to the “Donetsk scenario”: they either intimidate the residents with the “evil Armed Forces of Ukraine” or arrange provocations to blame the Armed Forces of Ukraine later.

Operational situation

General conclusion:

  • The main efforts of the Russian military are concentrated on offensive actions in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions;
  • The relative silence west of Bakhmut along the route T0504 Kostyantynivka – Chasiv Yar – Bakhmut indicates that the Russian military command has abandoned attempts to encircle Bakhmut and concentrated on breaking into Bakhmut from the north instead.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Kuzemivka and Dibrova of Luhansk Oblast and Fedorivka, Yahidne, Berkhivka, Bakhmut and Kurdyumivka in Donetsk Oblast;
  • The Russian forces continued to attack to the northwest of Svatove, and near Kreminna, they attacked from Shipylka and took positions in the Serebryansk forest area; they attacked Makiyivka, Terny and Bilohorivka;
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces counterattacked in the Serebryansk Forest area near Shipylivka and made little progress. The counterattack in the Hryanykivka area was less successful.
  • The Russian military managed to cut the E-40 highway northwest of Bakhmut, but this did not affect the stability of the Ukrainian defense in the Bakhmut area. The enemy made little progress near Berestove and in the area of the Mariupol cemetery. Russian units broke through in the Yahidne area and reached the Stupka railway station on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut. Squads of the “Wagner” PMC are trying to advance to the AZOM metalworking plant. Russian troops still fight near Ivanivske.
  • The Ukrainian Defence Forces conducted a successful counterattack north of Avdiivka and regained lost positions near Vesele.
  • Russian troops are fighting for the center of Maryinka; they made a slight advance in the area of Novomykhailivka.
  • Units of the 36th army, transferred by the enemy command to the Vuhledar area, advanced slightly in the area of Mykilske.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • The Russian command increased the number of “Wagner” PMC detachments, mobilized personnel and “volunteer” battalions from North Ossetia and Dagestan in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Four convoys of equipment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, including 35 IFVs and other equipment of the 358th separate motorized rifle battalion of the 120th separate motorized rifle brigade, moved to the border with Lithuania on February 21 to the area of the city of Oshmiana, Grodno Oblast, Belarus.
  • On February 21, units of the 11th separate motorized rifle brigade of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus conducted live firing from T-72 and BMP-2 tanks at the Obuz- Lesnovsky training ground in Brest.

Escalation indicators: Not detected.

Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Russian forces will continue their efforts to capture Bakhmut before February 24, enter the approaches to the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration, take control of Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Vuhledar;
  • The movement of ill-trained or battle-worn irregular forces into Zaporizhzhia Oblast shows that the Russian military command does not consider advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast a priority.
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 situation at sea is without significant changes. The Russian fleet has 5 surface ships at sea performing tasks south of the Crimean Peninsula. There are no Kalibr missile carriers. Nevertheless, the threat of a massive missile attack on the territory of Ukraine by carriers of sea-based cruise missiles persists.
  • One patrol boat was on duty in the waters of the Sea of Azov.
  • Two project 1135.6 frigates and two project 636.3 submarines, a patrol ship of project 22160 and 7 amphibious ships are located in Sevastopol. On February 20, the Kalibr missile stock was replenished on the Admiral Makarov frigate.
  • One “Buyan-M” corvette is in Feodosia ready to go to sea. Two “Buyan-M” corvettes are in Kerch ready to go to sea. One “Buyan-M” corvette, three submarines (two of them of project 636.3), a patrol ship of project 22160, and 5 landing ships are in Novorossiysk.
  • Russian aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. Su-27, Su-30SM, and MiG-29K aircraft from Saky and Belbek airfields carried out control flights over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. A total of 22 sorties were made during the day. The enemy’s military transport aviation continued to transfer personnel to the Dzhankoy and Belbek airfields.
  • The Russian military continues shelling the city of Ochakiv with artillery systems and MLRS from the Kinburn Peninsula.
  • “The Grain initiative”. Ukraine will appeal to Turkey and the United Nations (UN) with a request to extend the “Grain Initiative”.
  • Ukraine exports about three million tons of agricultural products per month under the agreement. Still, it can export six million tons per month from Odesa Oblast ports and increase this figure to eight million tons if Mykolaiv joins the initiative. Mykolaiv ports, which before the Russian invasion accounted for 35 percent of Ukraine’s food exports, are ready to join the initiative and will take a maximum of two weeks to get up and running.
  • Despite the decrease in the grain harvest in 2022 to about 54 million tons from a record 86 million in 2021, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of Ukraine, at least 30 million tons of grain are still in granaries and can be exported.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 22.02.23

Personnel – almost 145,060 people (+620)

Tanks – 3,334 (+8)

Armored combat vehicles – 6,569 (+7);

Artillery systems – 2,345 (+7);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 471 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 243 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,212 (+2); Aircraft – 299 (0);

Helicopters – 287 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,026 (+3); Intercepted cruise missiles – 873 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

Ukrainian Armed forces adopted a communication strategy. General Valeriy Zaluzhny approved the document.

President Volodymyr Zelensky approved the petition, which demands to resume of the practice of MPs and other officials declaring their assets. It was suspended due to the introduction of martial law. The Rada is now supposed to vote on draft law №8071, which is already on its agenda. A working group to speed up its adoption has been formed. G7 ambassadors also support the bill.

Servant of the People MP Oleksandr Trukhin pleaded guilty to offering a bribe to a policeman to let him leave a road accident scene. Trukhin will pay the maximum fine under the Criminal Code article he was tried under and will lose his Rada mandate. He will also donate 6 million UAH to the “Army of Drones” initiative launched by the United24 platform.

The head of the “Servant of the People” faction, David Arakhamia, called on all people’s deputies from banned parties to resign from the Rada. According to Arakhamia, by the anniversary of the full-scale invasion, at least minus three parliamentary mandates are expected from the banned Opposition Platform – For Life party. He did not name any names, but his statement most likely

refers to the treason suspect Oleg Voloshyn, Nataliya Korolevska and her husband Yuriy Solod, who have filed their resignation letters.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, the Security Service of Ukraine has launched about 60 criminal investigations into the subversive activities of individual representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy. Seven of them were found guilty by the court, Ukrinform reports with reference to SBU.

International diplomatic aspect

In a highly cynical manner, Russian propagandists showed Ukrainian children from the wiped-out Mariupol on the stage before the crowd of thousands of Russians in euphoria for Russia’s greatness. The meeting concert in Luzhniki aims to boost Putin’s popularity and unite his subjects around him. Meanwhile, according to the OHCHR, 489 children were killed, and 954 were wounded as of February 15, 2023. “There are 16,207 officially verified children on the territory of the Russian Federation,” Ukraine’s ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets recently said [reported in previous CDS Brief]. “These are children about whom I, as an ombudsman, know, from which Ukrainian city these children are and approximately where they are on the territory of the Russian Federation. In reality, this number of children is much higher. We assume that this number reaches approximately 150,000 children. Russia says that there are 733,000 Ukrainian children they keep on their territory. However, in our opinion, this figure is exaggerated,” he added. Last year Ukrainian children spent an average of 920 hours or more than 38 days in shelters underground due to threats of bombs and missiles, according to Save the Children.

“During the occupation, the Russian army committed more than 9,000 war crimes in the Bucha district of Kyiv region, and more than 1,700 civilians were killed, including about 700 in Bucha,” the office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General said. “So far, 91 Russian military personnel involved in these crimes have been identified. The work on bringing all those involved to justice is ongoing.” The Prosecutor General of Ukraine believes that the Office of the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor will announce the first results of crimes investigations this year. He also said that “within a few weeks, a branch of the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC will open in Kyiv, and a little later, branches will be opened in cities closer to the front line.”

While the US is set to impose fresh sanctions on about 200 Russian individuals and entities this week, the EU failed to agree on the 10th package of restrictive measures worth €10 billion. Yet, the EU ambassadors “remain confident” that an agreement will be reached this week. Hungary is to blame, for Viktor Orban wanted to exclude four names from the blacklist and opposed the idea of extending the term of restrictions from half a year to a year.

“I think there’s a split in the administration, at the national security council, as to how fast and what weapons to put in, but I am seeing increasing momentum towards getting both the artillery [ATACMS] and the planes [F-16] in, and in any event, we can start training pilots right now, so they’re ready,” chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican Representative Michael McCaul said while in Kyiv.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry stated that Poland would deliver fourteen Leopard 2 tanks in the “next two or three weeks” once the training of the Ukrainian troops is complete. Spain will send six Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, defense minister Margarita Robles told the Parliament.

Russia, relevant news

The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation recognized the auction for the placement of federal loan bonds (OFZ) with repayment in July 2036 as failed, “Kommersant” writes with reference to the statement of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The Ministry said there was a lack of bids at “acceptable price levels”. Earlier, it stated that in the first quarter of 2023, it plans to place OFZ in the amount of 800 billion rubles. In January, the Ministry placed papers worth 210 billion rubles.

In January 2023, industrial production in the Russian Federation decreased by 2.4% in annual terms and by 0.6% compared to December 2022 (seasonally adjusted), Rosstat reported. The decrease took place across all industries.

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