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CDS Daily brief (14.03.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

The topic of the day:

  • Russians struck a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper UAV, hoping to get away with it; they claim they have recovered debris. The way the US reacts is critical.

General, humanitarian:

  • The Russian army attacked nine regions of Ukraine over the past day; there are dead and wounded civilians;
  • As of March 9, 250 athletes and coaches died as a result of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 16 athletes were injured as a result of hostilities, and 28 are in captivity;
  • Two more countries have joined the Coalition for the creation of a Special Tribunal in the case of the crime of aggression against Ukraine, bringing it to 32 countries;
  • As of March 14, there are still power supply restrictions in Zhytomyr and Kharkiv Oblasts following the March 9 attack;


  • The main efforts of the Russian military are concentrated on offensive actions in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions.
  • The Russian forces advanced along the E40 Bakhmut-Slovyansk route to launch an offensive further northwest of Bakhmut;
  • Possible operation situation developments: in the short term, the enemy will concentrate its efforts in the areas between Bakhmut and Bilohorivka and in the Kreminna-Lyman direction.


  • Russia is about to violate its part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, making excuses no one believes in. At the same time, Russia has been causing difficulties for the Ukrainian export by artificial delays of bulkers bound to the Ukrainian ports.
  • Wagner is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Lithuanian parliament.
The topic of the day

A Russian Su-27 aircraft struck a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper conducting a routine operation in international airspace over the Black Sea, causing the UAV to ditch in international waters, U.S. European Command announced. The downing of the MQ-9 follows at least two of the same type of drones getting shot down over Syria. On the background of a Chinese spy balloon drama, the Biden Administration should react strongly, for Russia believes it has set a precedent and is free to repeat it again. It might have a more aggressive scrambling of Russia’s jets and bombers near the NATO country’s airspace or some near-kinetic action against warships. In the coming days, it is critical to watch how the US would react to this provocation; the immediate reaction was remarkably soft and cautious. The Russian Federation test the US precautions against escalation and direct conflict. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the RF Black Sea Fleet found the crash site of the American MQ-9 Reaper drone and raised its wreckage from the water. The Ministry rejects the version of an attack by planes on an American drone. According to Russia, the MQ-9 made a sharp maneuver and lost control, colliding with water.

Humanitarian aspect:

As of March 9, 250 athletes and coaches died due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, 16 athletes were injured due to hostilities, and 28 are in captivity. 6 people are considered missing, the Ukrainian Ministry for Youth and Sports said. Due to Russian attacks and occupation, 95 sports facilities were completely or partially destroyed.

320 children have been successfully evacuated from Bakhmut and surrounding villages since February 11, said Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, Iryna Vereshchuk. She noted that there were no cases of a relatives’ refusing to evacuate with their child as a part of a mandatory evacuation of children; the problem is getting to these villages and taking people out, as the enemy specifically targets evacuation transport.

Russian attacks

As of 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, the Russian army attacked nine regions of Ukraine over the past day; there are dead and wounded civilians.

  • In Chernihiv Oblast, Novgorod-Siversky and Koryukivskyi districts were shelled 5 times during the day. No losses or damages were reported.
  • In Sumy Oblast, the Russians shelled 6 local communities with 94 strikes from mortars, MLRS and self-propelled guns; two rocket strikes, and the dropping of four explosive devices from UAVs were recorded. As a result of a rocket attack on Znob-Novgorodske, one person was killed, and four were injured.
  • Russian forces fired at civilian infrastructure in 17 towns and villages of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. 46 reports were filed about the destruction of housing and infrastructure facilities.
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the enemy attacked the Nikopol district. Three communities came under fire. There were no casualties. A transport company was damaged.
  • In Kharkiv Oblast, Russian troops shelled 7 villages in the Slobozhansk direction. In the Kupyansk direction, they shelled 5 villages. Two civilians were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds in Hryanykivka village, Kupyansk district.
  • The enemy shelled the Makiyivka, Dibrova and Bilohorivka districts in Luhansk Oblast.
  • Over the past day, three people died, and 14 were injured in Donetsk Oblast. The Russians carried out missile attacks on Avdiivka and Kurakhove. They hit Lastochkine village with rockets and hit 8 towns and villages with airstrikes, “Uragan” and “Grad” MLRS, mortars, tanks, and artillery. On March 14, the Russian forces launched a rocket attack on the center of Kramatorsk, damaging six multi-story buildings. At least three civilians were injured due to the attack, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said.
  • On March 13, the Russian forces attacked the water area of the Ochakiv community of

Mykolayiv Oblast with mortars. No casualties were reported.

  • The Russian forces carried out 93 shellings of Kherson Oblast, firing 412 shells from heavy artillery and “Grad” MLRS. More than 30 towns and villages were shelled. 88 people were evacuated from the region’s territory, liberated from the Russians. In one of the villages of the Daryivka community, the Russians attacked the energy brigade. According to preliminary information, one electrician was injured.

As of Tuesday, March 14, there are still power supply restrictions in Zhytomyr and Kharkiv Oblasts due to network damage caused by the last Russian attack on March 9, “Ukrenergo” informs. Emergency shutdowns are possible in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast to eliminate the risk of equipment overload. The situation remains difficult in the border areas of Chernihiv Oblast, Sumy Oblast and regions along the front line, where the Russian forces damage distribution networks with constant artillery fire.

Tribunal for Russian aggression in Ukraine

Two more countries have joined the Coalition for the creation of a Special Tribunal in the case of the crime of aggression against Ukraine, bringing the number of states currently working together to bring Russia’s top political and military leadership to justice to 32, the Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

Occupied territories

According to the head of the Russian occupation Administration of Kherson Oblast, Vladimir Saldo, about 80,000 Russian passports have been issued in the region. A little over 1 million people lived in the Oblast in 2020.

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 Russian forces advanced along the E40 Bakhmut-Slovyansk route to launch an offensive further northwest of Bakhmut;
  • Ukrainian defense forces will create a 20 km wide strip preventing the enemy’s operational activity.
  • Units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 100 Russian attacks in various directions;
  • The Russian forces carried out unsuccessful offensive actions near Dvorichna, Hryanykivka, Nevske, Chervonopopivka, Kreminna, Dibrova, Bilohorivka, Berestove in Luhansk Oblast and Vasyukivka, Minkivka, Orihove-Vasylivka, Dubovo-Vasylivka, Bakhmut, Hryhorivka, Ivanivske, Kamianka, Avdiivka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Netaylove, Maryinka, Pobyeda, Novomykhailivka and Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast.
  • The Russian forces achieved a minor success northeast of Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast. They advanced south of Hryanykivka, in Ploschanka, Zhuravka Ravine, and Siversk areas, and slightly advanced northeast of Verkhnyokamianske. Their attacks in Masyutivka, Dvorichna, Kreminna, Nevske, Chervonopopivka, Terniv, Makiivka, Dibrova, Bilohorivka, Serebryansk forest areas were unsuccessful. Ukrainian Defense forces launched a counterattack near Karmazynivka.
  • The Russian forces continued to advance in the area of Bakhmut. They attacked in the direction of Minkivka and advanced approximately 8 km in the area between Dubovo- Vasylivka and Bohdanivka, as well as along the Kostyantynivka – Chasiv Yar – Bakhmut T0504 highway.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks on Bakhmut, near Vasyukivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Hryhorivka, Ivanivske, and Chasiv Yar. “Wagner” PMC mercenaries began an assault on the underground areas of the AZOM complex.
  • Russian attacks on Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Kamianka, and Severne, near Nevelske, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Maryinka and Pobyeda were unsuccessful. The Russian military concentrated its efforts on advancing in Krasnohorivka and clearing Kamianka.
  • The offensive of the Russian 5th separate tank brigade of the 36th army near Vuhledar was traditionally unsuccessful.
  • The Ukrainian-Tatar partisan group “Atesh” destroyed the railway track between Abrikosivka and Radenske, Kherson Oblast.

Change in enemy disposition: No changes were noted.

Escalation indicators:
  • In the area of Kreminna, the Russian forces used the latest Russian T-90 tanks;
Possible operation situation developments:
  • In the short term, the enemy will concentrate its efforts in the areas between Bakhmut and Bilohorivka and in the Kreminna-Lyman direction.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • After the storm, the Russian Fleet has taken 9 ships of various types at sea performing tasks south of the Crimean Peninsula. One Kalibr missile submarine can have up to 4 Kalibr missiles on board.
  • 12 large amphibious ships of the Russian Federation are based in Sevastopol (7 ships), Feodosia (1 ship) and Novorossiysk (4 ships).
  • One patrol ship 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. A total of 22 combat sorties were made over the past day.
  • The Netherlands will hand over two minesweepers, capable of demining the Black Sea, to the Naval Forces of Ukraine. This was stated by the Dutch Minister of Defense, Kaisa Ollongren, at a press conference following her visit to Odesa. She noted that minesweepers would be able to come to Ukraine only after the war, when Turkey opens the Black Sea Straits. “We are starting to train Ukrainian crews for minesweepers of the Alkmaar type”. “We will also provide other capabilities, such as bridges, crossings and radar systems. We continue our steadfast support to Ukraine,” the minister emphasized. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, noted that Western countries had formed several coalitions to supply Ukraine with weapons. Along with artillery and tank coalitions, a naval coalition has been created, which includes Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 14.03.23

Personnel – almost 159,800 people (+710);

Tanks – 3,474 (+8);

Armored combat vehicles – 6,774 (+5);

Artillery systems – 2,503 (+16);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 493 (0); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 259 (0); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,354 (+66); Aircraft – 304 (0);

Helicopters – 289 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,109 (+1); Intercepted cruise missiles – 907 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Ukraine, general news

41% of Ukrainian IT professionals who went abroad plan to return, but after the end of the war, the DOU survey of 2,760 specialists conducted in October-November 2022 showed. Those who left before the start of [the full-scale] hostilities are more likely to plan to stay abroad (38%).

74% of those who moved abroad after the start of the full-scale war continue to work for the same Ukrainian company or project as before. 18% found a new job abroad. Most of the respondents noticed the deterioration of their financial situation. Income decreased 25%, and purchasing power decreased in 60% of cases.

President Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting of the Staff of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. “After reviewing the progress of the defense operation in the Bakhmut area, all members of the Staff expressed a common position regarding the continued defense of Bakhmut,” the press service of the President’s Office reports.

The Cabinet of Ministers approved the dismissal of the heads of the Luhansk, Odesa and Khmelnytskyi Oblast Military Administrations, the representative of the Cabinet of Ministers in the Verkhovna Rada, Taras Melnychuk, said.

International diplomatic aspect

Russia is about to violate its part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), while the U.N. may turn a blind eye to it, stating that it wants to preserve the integrity of the Initiative and ensure its continuity. The BSGI was brokered by the U.N. and Turkey and allowed to reduce global food prices by supplying 24 million M.T. of grains across the globe. With 21.5% of imports, China is in the top three destinations, followed by Spain (17.8%) and Turkey (10.7%). Overall, Asia received the largest part of the Black Sea food export (47.4%) and is followed by Europe (41.3%) and Africa (11.3%). It should be noted that some of the food shipped west is being sent to other regions

either as humanitarian aid or a commodity. Saudi Arabia bought about 1 million tons of wheat, and Tunisia is seeking to buy more than 200,000 tons ahead of possible disruption when the previous agreement expires on March 18, according to Bloomberg.

The quantity of bulkers bound for the Ukrainian ports has reduced from a median of 5.9 cargo ships in September 2022 to 3.2 in December and 2.5 in February. Russia has created artificial delays in inspection queues, similar to the ones it exercised in 2018-2022 in the Kerch Strait, targeting Ukrainian exports and international shipping companies. So, it’s nothing else than an economic war against Ukraine and blackmailing the world with hunger.

“The deal cannot stand on one leg,” a Kremlin spokesman said. “Of course, the conditions for the [deal] extension are relative. But this is a kind of goodwill gesture on the part of Russia,” Dmitry Peskov explained Russia’s willingness to extend the deal for 60 days. “The agreement clearly states that extensions are possible for a minimum of 120 days. To extend it for 60 days, you must amend the deal,” a senior Ukrainian government official told Reuters. So, Russia is about to violate a clearly written agreement, claiming that the U.N. doesn’t carry out its part of it, particularly securing Russian export of grain and fertilizers. “We find it difficult to believe that when we know, and the rest of the world knows, that Russia’s exports of food and fertilizer are back up to pre-war levels. This has been the case for some time now, but when we hear the Russians saying that they are being held back from exporting grain, from exporting fertilizer, it’s just not true,” the U.S. Department of State spokesperson clarified. “We’re waiting for the official position of the U.N. and Türkiye as the guarantors of the initiative,” the Ukrainian infrastructure minister wrote.

“Wagner is a terrorist organization, and its members and mercenaries pose a threat to the security of the state and society,” the Lithuanian parliament resolution reads. The Wagner PMC “actively participates in military actions on the side of the aggressor, commit systematic, serious crimes of aggression – killing and torturing the civilian population of Ukraine, bombing residential buildings and other civilian objects – which are equivalent to terrorism.”

Russia, relevant news

In the second and third readings, the Russian State Duma adopted a law that stipulated that a person’s Ukrainian citizenship is renounced on the date of filing an application for Russian citizenship with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.

The spokesperson of Russian President Peskov said that Russia does not recognize the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Hague in cases of war crimes of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine.

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