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CDS Daily brief (09.03.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • Russia launched another massive missile strike on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, firing a total of 81 missiles of various types and damaging energy facilities in 8 oblasts;
  • A total of 16 Ukrainian Oblasts came under Russian fire over the past day;
  • In Mariupol, the Russian occupation authorities, trying to cover up their crime, have demolished and removed the rubble of 400 buildings their aviation had destroyed along with bodies of their killed residents;
  • 47,000 families, or 170,000 people from Mariupol, have registered claims about ruined property in the Ukrainian government’s Diya application.


  • The Russian military focus on offensive actions in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions.
  • The highest rate of Russian attacks is observed around Orikhovo-Vasylivka (30% of all attacks in the Bakhmut area);
  • Units of the 1st separate motorized rifle brigade intend to put pressure on the Ukrainian Joint Forces in Avdiivka from the north in the direction of Vesele and from the south in the direction of Vodyane;
  • Russian artillery units are expected to lack ammunition in the next 2-3 months in case the intensity of the fighting stays the same;
  • Russia used MiG-31 with 6 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles in today’s strike at Ukraine.


  • Turkey might make the right decision to stop helping Russia circumvent sanctions, therefore, won’t face negative consequences from the G7 nations.
  • The U.S. is set to change the tide of the pro-Russian stance in Africa.
  • Alexander Lukashenko extended reasons for capital punishment to treason, “terrorism propaganda,” “discrediting Armed Forces,” and revealing state secrets.
  • The Russian liberal opposition is fighting each other after an appeal letter for excluding “a top Russian financier and enabler of Putin’s inner circle” was revealed by a so-called liberal journalist. In turn, this journalist’s name appeared in the investigation by Alexei Navalny’s team, which put Alexei Venediktov in line with the top-notch Kremlin propagandists, who were recipients of generous financing from Sergey Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor and Putin’s lieutenant.
Humanitarian aspect:

Russian attacks

On the night of March 9, Russia launched another massive air strike on Ukraine. It fired 81 air, sea, and ground-launched missiles, including 6 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles. In addition, 8 Shakhed-136 kamikaze drones were launched. The Ukrainian Air Defense shot down 34 out of 48 cruise missiles and 4 UAVs. 8 Kh-31P and Kh-59 guided air missiles also did not reach their targets.

The Air Force emphasizes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have the means capable of destroying the Kh-22, Kh-47 “Kinzhal”, and S-300 missiles.

Overall, 16 Ukrainian Oblasts came under Russian fire between 9 a.m. on March 8 and 9 a.m. on March 9. Some of the consequences include:

  • The Russian air strikes damaged three heat and electricity-producing plants. According to preliminary information, there were no casualties. Their equipment was seriously damaged, DTEK company said.
  • There were two missile impacts in Kyiv Holosiyevo and Svyatoshyn districts. 3 people were injured, an infrastructure object (heat-producing plant), 5 cars were destroyed, and several building facades were damaged. About 40% of consumers in Kyiv were left without heating.
  • Kharkiv was left without electricity, heat and water supply. 11 missiles were launched at the city out of 15 that were launched at the Oblast. Critical infrastructure was affected and damaged, including a heat-producing plant and transformer substations. A missile hit a private house in Pisochyn village, Kharkiv district, injuring two women, 71 and 74 years old.
  • 5 people died in the Zolochiv district of Lviv Oblast as debris from a Russian missile shot down by air defense hit a residential area ruining 3 private houses.
  • Kamikaze drones were launched at Zhytomyr, where they hit an energy facility, leaving about 150 thousand residents of the Oblast without water, electricity and heating.
  • Dnipropetrovsk Oblast was attacked with missiles and drones; impacts were recorded in Dnipro, Pavlohrad, Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol districts. There is serious destruction of energy infrastructure and industrial enterprises. According to preliminary data, one person died, and two were injured.
  • In Odesa Oblast, several power lines were damaged by a massive missile attack causing hourly emergency power outages in the region. Energy workers started repair work.
  • In the Kropyvnytskyi district of Kirovohrad Oblast, an energy facility was attacked. There were no casualties. Part of Kropyvnytskyi was disconnected from the electricity supply.
  • The enemy launched a missile attack on a critical infrastructure facility in Zaporizhzhia. 4 missiles hit the object. According to preliminary information, there are no losses.
  • Energy facilities were hit in Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia Oblasts. No victims are reported.
  • In Chernihiv Oblast, air defense forces shot down a cruise missile near Pryluky.
  • Kherson was shelled on the morning of March 9. Two people were killed at a public transportation stop, and a woman in a nearby convenience store died of shrapnel wounds. At least two people were injured. Overall, Kherson Oblast was shelled 86 times during the day.
  • Two people died, and four were injured in Donetsk Oblast.

As a result of the night attack, the Zaporizhzhia NPP was disconnected from the power sources. According to NAEC “Energoatom”, today at 03 a.m., the last power line connecting the occupied ZNPP with the Ukrainian power system was severed. The station was left without energy and has

gone into blackout mode for the sixth time during the occupation; the 5th and 6th power units were put into the cold state, and 18 diesel generators have been switched on to power the ZNPP’s own needs. Several hours later, it was reported that the station was reconnected to the Ukrainian power system.

Occupied territories

According to the legally elected [Ukrainian] Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko, in preparation for the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Russian occupation authorities demolishing the remaining ruins of the high-rise buildings their aviation had bombed during its assault on the city. The rubble is removed together with the bodies of the people who died in the bombing. The goal is to hide the Russian war crimes. 400 buildings out of 934 meant for demolition have already been removed.

In Mariupol, 57,000 families were left without their homes, which is almost 200,000 people. 47,000 families, or 170,000 people, have registered claims about ruined property in the Ukrainian government’s Diya application.

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 highest rate of Russian attacks is observed around Orikhovo-Vasylivka (30% of all attacks in the Bakhmut area);
  • Units of the 1st separate motorized rifle brigade intend to put pressure on the Ukrainian Joint Forces in Avdiivka from the north in the direction of Vesele and from the south in the direction of Vodyane.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 110 Russian attacks in different directions;
  • The Russian forces carried out unsuccessful offensive actions near Hryanykivka, Spirne and Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Dubovo-Vasylivka, Bakhmut, Ivanivske, Oleksandro-Shultyne, Kamianka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, Maryinka and Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast.
  • The Russian forces approached the section of the T0504 highway southwest of Bakhmut.
  • The Defense Forces carried out counterattacks in the Ivanove area and in the direction of Klishchiivka and pushed the enemy away from the T0504 highway.
  • The Russian military resumed offensive actions in the direction of Krasnohorivka.

Change in enemy disposition: not detected.

Escalation indicators:
  • The use of MiG-31 with 6 “Kinzhal” missiles in a missile strike.
Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Russian forces are trying to break the sturdy defense of the Ukrainian Joint Forces in the area between Ivanivske and Khromove and push them out of Bakhmut;
  • Under conditions of intense hostilities and the existing unsatisfactory state of ammunition, one should expect that the artillery units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will experience their shortage in the next 2-3 months;
  • The Russian forces will intensify attacks on northwestern and southwestern Bakhmut (to the north of Opytne and to the south of Yahidne, respectively) in order to bypass the Bakhmutka River;
  • In recent weeks, Russian troops have increased the pace of offensive operations north of Avdiivka.)
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • The enemy has built up its forces at sea and has 10 ships of various types performing tasks south of the Crimean Peninsula. Two ships carry 16 Kalibr missiles.
  • On the morning of March 9, Russian ships and submarines launched a missile attack on Ukraine with 20 Kalibr missiles.
  • One patrol boat is on duty in the waters of the Sea of Azov.
  • Russian aviation continues to fly from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the northwestern part of the Black Sea. In total, 9 aircraft performed 18 combat sorties over the northwest part of the Black Sea during the day. Control of the air situation and the enemy’s operational-tactical aviation in the airspace of Rostov Oblast, Krasnodar Krai and over the waters of the Sea of Azov was carried out by three A-50U AEW&C aircraft.
“The Grain initiative”
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke in favor of extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative after March 18, when the term of the previous agreement is coming to an end. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, stated this at a briefing in Kyiv on March 8 after a meeting with the UN Secretary-General. The UN Secretary-General fully supported his opinion, noting the importance of continuing the initiative. According to Zelensky, at the same time, it is important to work within the framework of the humanitarian initiative “Grain from Ukraine”. In particular, within the framework of this initiative, the government managed to attract more than $200 million and send 140,000 tons of Ukrainian grain to Europe, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Guterres noted that the Black Sea Grain Initiative ensured the export of 23 million tons of grain and reduced food prices worldwide.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 09.03.23

Personnel – almost 156,120 people (+590);

Tanks – 3,441 (+5);

Armored combat vehicles – 6,736 (+13);

Artillery systems – 2,465 (+2);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 488 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 254 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,331 (+1); Aircraft – 303 (0);

Helicopters – 289 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,098 (0); Intercepted cruise missiles – 873 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

52% of Ukrainians are opposed to children studying Russian at schools. 42% support the preservation of the Russian language in Ukrainian schools, according to a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. However, most of those who support teaching Russian would like this language to take as much or less time than other foreign languages. 6% believe that Russian should be given more time than other foreign languages, and only 3% are convinced that Russian needs to be studied as much as Ukrainian. Regional differences remain: in the east of Ukraine, more people seek to preserve the study of the Russian language to a certain extent, and in the west, more people are against it.

Regardless of the answer to the question of the language, most of the respondents (80-88%) replied that they were not ready for the territorial concessions of the Russian Federation for the sake of peace.

International diplomatic aspect

Russia may lose its key gateway for circumventing sanctions if reports that Turkey has stopped transiting sanctioned goods are true. Turkey was instrumental in circumventing sanctions and partially substituting the markets Russia lost in the West. As per import, Turkey imported $58.8 billion worth of goods, a 16.2% share of all imports and a 103.2% increase on y-o-y. Turkey increased by 50% its crude oil imports from Russia (143 million barrels) in 2022. Russia was the 8th most important destination for Turkish goods, with $9.3 billion or 61.8% increase on y-o-y. Turkey has doubled its chip imports from China, boosted exports to Russia (from $79,000 in 2021 to $3.2 million in 2022), and more than doubled its export of electrical machinery and electronics (to $559 million). Such an abnormal rise in trade was a reason for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence’s visit to Turkey last week. Meeting Turkish officials and business circles, Brian Nelson conveyed that the “marked rise over the past year in non-essential Turkish exports or re-exports to Russia makes the Turkish private sector particularly vulnerable to reputational and sanctions risks.” He went on by warning that “engaging with sanctioned Russian entities, Turkish businesses, and banks could put themselves at risk of sanctions and a potential loss of access to G7 markets and correspondent relationships.” Among twenty major export destinations, only eight countries are sanctions’ non-aligned, and their export value ($152 billion) is three times less than the importance of those nations who imposed sanctions on Russia ($467.9 billion). Therefore, it seems natural that Turkey should “take extra precaution to avoid transactions related to potential dual-use technology transfers that could be used by the Russian military-industrial complex.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo is traveling to Africa. “Our goal, frankly, is to make very clear to these countries, from an economic standpoint, that your economic interests are aligned with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ending as soon as possible,” Wally Adeyemo said. The U.S. is “trying to do everything we can to reduce the costs they’re facing due to this war, and they should be asking Russia to do the same.”

Alexander Lukashenka signed a law on capital punishment for treason, “terrorism propaganda,” “discrediting Armed Forces,” and revealing state secrets. The Belarusian dictator has been persecuting any opposition to his illegal seizure of power. He has been chasing Belarusians who tried to disrupt military activities on Belarusian soil aimed against Ukraine. Recently, the KGB detained dozens of people in connection to a sabotage action against the Russian A-50 surveillance aircraft based at the Machulishchi airfield. Belarus remains the only country in Europe that still has capital punishment.

Leonid Volkov, an opposition politician and associate of Alexei Navalny, has suspended his chairmanship on the board of the International Anti-Corruption Fund. He was heavily criticized by Ukrainians and, most notably, Russians for appealing to the E.U. to lift sanctions against billionaire Mikhail Fridman, characterized by the E.U. as “a top Russian financier and enabler of Putin’s inner circle.” This happened after Alexei Venediktov the former editor-in-chief of the Echo Moskvy radio station, owned by state-owned Gazprom, published a copy of the letter. Alexei Venediktov, who often promoted the Kremlin’s narratives, was exposed by Alexei Navalny’s team as a recipient of generous financing from Sergey Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor and Putin’s lieutenant. The name of the so-called liberal journalist appeared in line with the top-notch Kremlin propagandists – Margarita Simonyan, Tigran Keosayan, and Ksenia Sobchak. The liberal opposition that had lacked unity before is divided even more now.

Russia, relevant news

The replacement of equipment and components from “unfriendly countries”, associated with restrictions on imports to the Russian Federation, affects the production efficiency of Russian enterprises. 30% of the surveyed companies increased the cost of production, 12% had more frequent breakdowns, another 12% had worsened product quality, and 8% productivity has decreased productivity, Kommersant reports with reference to the Bank of Russia.

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