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CDS Daily brief (11.05.23) | CDS comments on key events

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Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • The Russian forces continued shelling peaceful Ukrainian towns and villages, killing and injuring civilians.
  • The Russian occupation forces have looted all medical institutions in Energodar and all enterprises located in the industrial zone near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.


  • There are indications that the enemy may be preparing for a possible local offensive from the north to the south along the Oskil River towards Kupyansk.
  • The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s command is continuing to implement a series of measures to strengthen the protection and defense of the fleet’s bases in Donuzlav, Sevastopol, and Novorossiysk.


  • The U.K. Defence Secretary has confirmed the delivery of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, which will significantly complicate Russia’s command and control and logistics capabilities.
  • Phillips Payson O’Brien and Edward Stringer made a case in the Atlantic for providing F- 16 to Ukraine, breaking with routine stages of denial.
  • Ukraine’s President believes the time for launching the counteroffensive has not started yet.
  • The U.S. Attorney General has authorized the transfer of forfeited Russian assets of Konstantin Malofeyev for use in Ukraine. The European Commission has developed a legal opinion that Russian assets can be given to Ukraine.
  • Japan is set to mobilize $1 billion to help Ukraine’s neighboring countries, which provided asylum for Ukrainian refugees.
  • Lula da Silva’s special foreign policy advisor visited Kyiv to talk about “compromises” between Ukraine and Russia.
  • Europe supports Armenia’s efforts to improve its transit capabilities with Iran. At the same time, Armenia may have acted as a middleman in delivering sanctioned goods, including chips and potentially combat drones, to Russia.
Russian attacks

The consequences of enemy shelling on the morning of May 11:

  • On May 10, enemy shelling in Donetsk Oblast resulted in the deaths of three civilians, with two in Chasiv Yar and one in Novokalynove. Additionally, two people were injured in the region. On May 11, Russian forces attacked Toretsk with a missile strike, wounding eight people. The head of the Donetsk Regional Administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported that the Russian army used the “Smerch” system. On the morning of May 11, Russian troops also shelled Sloviansk with S-300 missiles, killing a 90-year-old woman and injuring another person.
  • In the past day, the enemy has shelled Zaporizhzhia Oblast 70 times. In Malokaterynivka, 8 people were injured by cluster shells, including three ambulance workers who were responding to a call.
  • The occupiers shelled Kherson Oblast 90 times, resulting in one civilian killed and one injured. In Kherson, the Russians targeted the territory of a plant.
  • Overnight and in the morning, the Russians shelled the border territory of Sumy Oblast 9 times, with 40 impacts. A residential building, a store, an agricultural lyceum, and a farm were destroyed or damaged.
  • In Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, a 67-year-old man was killed in enemy shelling; at least 5 private residential buildings were damaged. In Fygolivka, a 49-year-old man was injured during mortar shelling.
  • Yesterday, the Russians fired on the waters of the Ochakiv community in Mykolaiv Oblast. There were no casualties.
  • Overnight, the Russian occupation forces shelled Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. There were no casualties, but the shelling caused damage to 3 private homes, 4 outbuildings, and a car. Additionally, one UAV was shot down over the oblast during the night.
Occupied territories

According to the Joint Press Center of the Defense Forces of the Tavria direction, the Russian occupation forces have looted all medical institutions in Energodar and all enterprises located in the industrial zone near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. They continue to export stolen property to Crimea under the guise of evacuating civilians. About 300 local residents, including children, have been “evacuated” from the temporarily occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhia region to Berdiansk in the past three days.

De-occupied territories:

After the de-occupation of Kyiv Oblast in the spring of 2022, 281 people are still considered missing. This was reported by the Chief of the Main Directorate of the National Police in the Kyiv region, Andriy Nebytov, in an interview with Ukrinform. “Since the de-occupation, 1374 bodies of our fellow citizens have been found. According to experts, 717 people were killed with firearms. Unfortunately, 191 bodies remain unidentified. 281 people are considered missing,” Nebytov said. He noted that 15 mass graves and three torture sites have been found in the Kyiv region.

Operational situation General conclusion:
  • The enemy concentrates its main efforts on offensive actions in the areas of Luhansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mariupol.
  • The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s command is continuing to implement a series of measures to strengthen the protection and defense of the fleet’s bases in Donuzlav, Sevastopol, and Novorossiysk. The enemy has deployed up to eight minelaying complexes of the “Poverkhnost” type (a total of up to 220 mines of the YAR- and PDM-3YA-types, remotely controlled). The enemy has strengthened the system of hydroacoustic and hydrolocation sensors and scanners in the area of the bases by installing hydroacoustic buoys and search and anti-mine stations.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
  • Units of the Defense Forces repelled more than 39 enemy attacks on various fronts. Heavy fighting is ongoing for Bakhmut and Maryinka.
  • Russian troops carried out unsuccessful attacks and offensives in the Serebryansk forest area, the industrial zone of Bilohorivka, the city of Bakhmut, and the areas of Avdiivka and Maryinka.
  • In the Kupyansk direction, the Russian forces attempted to improve their tactical positions and carried out unsuccessful offensive operations near Masiukivka and Stelmakhivka. There were also positional battles fought near Hryanykivka and Vilshany.
  • “Wagner” PMC mercenaries continued their offensive operations in and around Bakhmut, unsuccessfully attacking in the Bakhmut area, towards Ivanivske and Stupochky, and carrying out unsuccessful assaults in Maryinka. North of Avdiivka, fighting continues, as well as near Pervomaiske, on the southern approaches to Avdiivka, and near Novomykhailivka.
  • Russian forces carried out airstrikes on Ukrainian positions in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. They used FAB-500 and KAB-1500-LG-F bombs in areas where Ukrainian Defense Forces were concentrated in Kherson Oblast.
Change in enemy disposition:
  • In the Kupyansk area, the enemy has deployed an air component to support their military grouping “Zapad” (West). There are 17 helicopters based at the Rovenky airfield, including 7 for fire support (Ka-52, Mi-24, Mi-35), while the Berezhnyi airfield hosts 17 helicopters, including 10 for fire support. Additionally, in the village of Kolomyichikha, a tank battalion of the 12th tank regiment and a battalion of the 423rd motorized rifle regiment of the 4th tank division of the 1st Tank Army arrived after restoring their combat readiness at their permanent deployment site (Naro-Fominsk). They were previously held in reserve for this military grouping.
  • More than 600 tons of explosives, used in the preparation of artillery ammunition, were transported from the 46th missile and ammunition depot of the Armed Forces of Belarus (Bronnaya Gora village, Brest region, Belarus), to the ammunition depot of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense in Kotluban city, Volgograd region, Russia. This suggests the establishment of an ammunition production facility at the depot to refurbish artillery ammunition and mines that have been in long- term storage and are deemed unsuitable for use due to technical reasons.
  • Artillery units of the 503rd motorized rifle regiment of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58t Army (Southern Military District) are operating in the area of Nesteryanka.

Escalation indicators: not identified

Possible operation situation developments:
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces will continue to destroy the Russian artillery, and destroy objects in its operational rear in the entire operational zone, preparing favorable conditions for the launch of the counteroffensive.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy has deployed the 25th and 138th separate mechanized brigades and units from the 2nd mechanized rifle division and the 4th tank division; conducted reconnaissance operations in the directions of Masyutivka and Synkivka; increased the intensity of artillery shelling on the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ objects in the tactical depth. This suggests that the enemy may be preparing for a possible local offensive from the north to the south along the Oskil River towards Kupyansk.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
  • On May 11th, there were 8 enemy ships in the sea. They patrol the areas near the coast of the Krasnodar Krai and near the Kerch Bridge. Among them were three ships equipped with Kalibr missiles: the frigate Admiral Makarov and two corvettes of the Buyan-M project. They can carry up to 24 Kalibr missiles. Project 636.3 submarines are located at their bases: two are in Novorossiysk and two (with one undergoing repairs) are in Sevastopol.
  • The enemy’s aviation continues flights from Crimean airfields Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy and Hvardiyske over the sea. Six fighter aircraft were deployed from Saky and Belbek airfields to monitor the surface and air situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea: three Su-27/30, one Su-30SM, and two MiG-29K. Control of the air situation and operational- tactical aviation management over the Azov Sea were carried out by the A-50U and Il-22 AWACS aircraft.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 11.05.23

Personnel – almost 196,920 people (+610);

Tanks – 3,740 (+4);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,287 (+12);

Artillery systems – 3,053 (+14)

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 557 (+2); Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 310 (+2); Vehicles and fuel tanks – 5,984 (+10); Aircraft – 308 (0);

Helicopters – 294 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 2,627 (+3); Intercepted cruise missiles – 970 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).


The U.K. Defence Secretary has confirmed the delivery of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine. Ben Wallace stated the decision was “a calibrated and proportionate response” to the Russian invasion. “The donation of these weapons systems gives Ukraine the best chance to defend themselves against Russia’s continued brutality, especially the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, which is against international law. Ukraine has a right to be able to defend itself against this,” Secretary Wallace said. The Storm Shadow would be for use “within Ukrainian sovereign territory,” he added. “I applaud the U.K. for again stepping forward to provide the courage and leadership the Biden Admin will not. We should send ATACMS to Ukraine ASAP,” Sen. Jim Risch, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, twitted.

With a range of over 250 km, the Storm Shadow cruise missile enables Ukraine with striking capabilities that cover all illegally occupied territories. With sufficient numbers, the missile will greatly complicate Russia’s command, control, and logistics capabilities, especially after they adapted to the 80 km-range of HIMARS missiles, which had devastating effects. The Storm Shadow will cast a shadow over the illegally occupied Crimea, making it even more difficult for the invaders to sustain their occupation.

“Before giving Kyiv the weapons that it needs, the U.S. always works through a list of excuses,” Phillips Payson O’Brien and Edward Stringer advocated F-16 for Ukraine in the Atlantic. After an “outright dismissal of the country’s ability to effectively deploy the weapons” and a qualified dismissal that it would take far too long, the discussion comes to a “desperate third stage.” “Ukraine can use these weapons, which could make a big difference in the war, but we worry about how Russia or China might respond.” The authors believe that on the F-16 issue, the discussion is “stuck somewhere between Stages 1 and 2.” “The longer they draw out the process of getting a beleaguered country the weapons it needs, the more trouble that country will have in repelling the invaders,” Prof. O’Brien and air marshal Stringer insisted. They also believe that “Western allies should also consider expanding Ukraine’s ground-based electronic-warfare systems; continuing to reinforce its surface-to-air-missile capacity; enhancing its proven ability in “prototype warfare,” the deployment of experimental military technology primarily to shoot down Russian surface-to-air missiles along the front line; and integrating its various defenses via a ground-based communications network.”

Ukraine’s President believes the time for launching the counteroffensive has yet to start. “With what we already have, we can go forward and, I think, be successful. But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So, we need to wait. We still need a bit more time,” Volodymyr Zelensky told the foreign media. Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his belief that Ukraine will have won by the time the name of the 47th U.S. President is to be announced. This statement was made in the foreground of Donald Trump’s refusal to call Vladimir Putin a war criminal, claiming it would complicate “making a deal to get this thing stopped.”

The U.S. Attorney General has authorized the transfer of forfeited Russian assets for use in Ukraine. Billionaire Konstantin Malofeyev, who financed the illegal annexation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas in 2014, had his assets frozen for violating U.S. sanctions. “While this represents the United States’ first transfer of forfeited Russian funds for the rebuilding of Ukraine, it will not be the last,” Merrick Garland said in a statement. Last December, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment enabling the transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine. In February, the U.S. Attorney General authorized the use of $5.4 million in confiscated assets for Ukraine. Meanwhile, European Commission representative Christian Wiegand said that the Commission had developed a legal opinion that Russian assets can be given to Ukraine. €17.5

billion assets of 1,350 physical persons and entities are frozen in the E.U., with Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Ireland, Italy, and Austria keeping the most.

Japan is set to mobilize $1 billion to assist neighboring countries of Ukraine that have provided asylum to Ukrainian refugees. According to the UNHCR, there’re 8.2 million Ukrainian refugees, and 5 million of them are registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe. With 2.6 million Ukrainian refugees registered in the neighboring countries, Poland is the ultimate champion (1.5 million), followed by Czechia (0.5 million), Slovakia (114 thousand), and Moldova (107 thousand). Germany (1 million) is leading among non-neighboring nations, followed by the U.K. (202 thousand) and Spain (174 thousand). Russia’s war of aggression and other conflicts to date have contributed to a one-fifth increase in internally displaced people, reaching the 71.1 million mark, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. Russia’s war caused the displacement of 16.9 million people – “the highest figure ever recorded for any country.”

Celso Amorim, Lula da Silva’s special foreign policy advisor, laid out Brazil’s peace proposal to Volodymyr Zelensky. No details were revealed, but in his comment to GLOBO, the Brazilian envoy called on sides for a compromise. “It won’t be easy to reach a confluence. It will be necessary for both sides to come to the conclusion that the cost of war is greater than the cost of certain concessions,” Amorim said. Last month, Celso Amorim visited Moscow to discuss the plan but did not appear in Kyiv, citing logistical difficulties. Earlier, Lula da Silva drew criticism for equating the aggressor and the victim, blaming the U.S. for starting and continuing the conflict and suggesting leaving Crimea under illegal Russian occupation.

The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine believes that recently there has been exaggerating media activity aimed at making Ukraine to negotiate on Russian terms. “There are many proposals from different countries in this regard. But keep in mind,” Oleksiy Danilov said, “I am more than sure that if we are going to talk about something, and the President makes such a decision, then it will be only on the terms of our country.”

Tana Energy Management, an Iranian company, has been chosen to modernize and enlarge the Meghri Border Crossing Point, connecting Armenia and Iran. The €22.2 worth project that would triple the operational capacity of the crossing point is financed by the EBRD. Armenia’s exports to Russia tripled last year (to $2.4 billion), while it doubled its imports from the E.U. (to €1.3 billion). The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security reported that in 2022, Armenia imported 515 percent more chips and processors from the U.S. and 212 percent more from the E.U. than the previous year. Ninety-seven percent of those chips made their way to Russia. In 2022, the U.S. sanctioned two enterprises (Taco LLC and Milur Electronics LLC) for supplying Western semiconductors to Russian defense enterprises. So, with the European money, Armenia will increase its transit capacities to deliver Iranian and foreign goods, helping Russia to circumvent sanctions. The enhanced crossing point may have been used to deliver combat drones to Russia and, with its reconstruction, will have a bigger capacity to connect the anti-Western allies.

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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