CDS Daily brief (22.05.23) | CDS comments on key events
- Опубліковано: CDS
- Категорія: DailyBrief
Snapshot of the day:
- During the night, the Russians carried out a massive shelling of Dnipro city and the region, resulting in casualties and destruction.
- The sexual crimes committed by Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine attest to Russia’s systematic policy against the civilian population of Ukraine. Help centers for victims of sexual violence have been established in ten Ukrainian cities.
- Russian forces continue to employ a tactic of using the civilian population as human shields in occupied territories, placing them on upper floors of residential buildings, while they themselves station on the ground floors to evade Ukrainian air attacks.
- Ukraine has restored the power transmission line that supplies the Zaporizhzhya NPP, averting a possible nuclear incident. “The nuclear safety situation at the plant (is) extremely vulnerable,” the head of the IAEA tweeted. Rafael Grossi is heading to Beijing and will try to engage Xi Jinping in putting pressure on Vladimir Putin, which is unlikely to happen.
Belgorod Developments: The “Russian Volunteer Corps” and the “Freedom of Russia” Legion are conducting an operation to “liberate the territories of the Belgorod region from the so-called Putin regime and push the enemy back in order to create a security zone to protect the civilian population of Ukraine.” The regiments’ actions may trigger a chain of events that might further destabilize Putin’s regime.
- The enemy has seized control of the city of Bakhmut.
- The continuous advancement of the Defense Forces may result in the tactical encirclement of the Wagner PMC units in Bakhmut.
- The Defense Forces are conducting systematic strikes on airfields in the Pryazovye region, impeding the enemy’s aviation capabilities.
- Possible operation situation developments:
- The enemy will transition to a defensive posture in the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions.
- Russian forces will require additional reinforcement to hold Bakhmut and its flanks, resulting in a reduction of their troops in other fronts.
- NATO PA recognized Russian crimes in Ukraine as genocide, called to recognize the Wagner group as a criminal and terrorist organization, and reconfirmed “that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO, that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance.”
Russian war crimes
The sexual crimes committed by Russian forces on the territory of Ukraine attest to Russia’s systematic policy against the civilian population of Ukraine. Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyar made this statement during the conference “#U4J: Respect. Support. Justice”, reported Ukrinform. She emphasized that [Russian war] crimes go beyond mere aggression and encompass a range of atrocities, including sexual crimes. Malyar stated that the Russian forces are essentially waging war against the civilian population, exhibiting acts of medieval cruelty. She further mentioned that the Ministry of Defense has a dedicated group investigating these crimes and collecting necessary data, including communicating with Ukrainian servicemen who have returned from Russian captivity. Among them, 23% of women and 15% of men reported being aware of cases of sexual violence against Ukrainian citizens who were held captive by the enemy.
Help centers for victims of sexual violence have been established in ten Ukrainian cities, as announced by Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefaniyshyna. Through collaboration with the Office of the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence, the Ukrainian government has developed an effective mechanism for a comprehensive response to acts of violence. “We provide a point of entry for survivors into a system of comprehensive specialized support: legal, socio-psychological, and informational. Assistance is based on key principles: confidentiality, unconditional support, voluntary informed consent, and free of charge,” emphasized the Vice Prime Minister.
During the past 24 hours, the Russian army launched attacks on 10 regions of Ukraine, employing missiles, strike drones, aviation, and heavy artillery, according to the consolidated report from the regional military administrations.
The Air Defense Forces shot down one enemy Su-35 fighter jet, four Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles, and 20 Shahed attack drones during last night’s attack. The downed aircraft is reported to have crashed in the territorial waters of Ukraine near Kherson Oblast.
In total, the Russians launched 16 missiles of various types:
- Nine cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea, Azov Sea, and Kursk region.
- Two ballistic missiles “Iskander-M” from the occupied Crimea.
- Five S-300 missiles from the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
During the night, the Russians carried out a massive shelling of Dnipro city and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, resulting in casualties and destruction, according to the Oblast Military Administration.
- The fire and rescue unit was targeted in Dnipro. As a result, one rescuer was injured. Three buildings, more than 10 trucks and cars were destroyed, and the same number of specialized vehicles were damaged. “To destroy the units of the State Emergency Service is a gross violation of the norms of the Geneva Convention. It is a violation of all norms of international law and basic human morality! Russia is a terrorist state!” said Sergey Kruk, the head of the rescue service. Twenty-five private cars and two buses were also damaged.
- In the Ilarionivska community of Synelnykivskyi district, seven people were injured. Administrative buildings, six vehicles, 12 private and multi-story buildings, a kindergarten, and two shops were damaged.
- Overall, 15 drones and four guided missiles were shot down over the region.
According to Natalia Gumenyuk, Chief of the Joint Press Center of the Operational Command “South,” Russian forces in the occupied territories use the civilian population as human shields. They deliberately position themselves on lower floors of residential buildings while placing innocent people on upper floors to avoid being targeted from the air. Gumenyuk highlighted that this behavior represents a typical tactic employed by the Russian Forces, which they have also demonstrated in the right-bank part of Kherson Oblast. They cunningly hide behind the civilian population, continuing their unchanged pattern of conduct.
As of May 22, the power system is stable; however, due to shelling from Russian aggressors, some consumers in four regions (Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Kherson Oblasts) are still without electricity.
Ukraine has restored the power transmission line that supplies the Zaporizhzhya NPP. Earlier, “Ukrenergo” reported that due to Russian forces shelling, which damaged power distribution units, the ZNPP switched to emergency power supply, thus increasing the chances of incidents at the Nuclear Power Plant. “The nuclear safety situation at the plant (is) extremely vulnerable,” the head of the IAEA tweeted. “The recurrence of blackouts is clearly not sustainable. This is the seventh time the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe is on emergency generators. The time to agree on the protection of the plant is now. It is not impossible. The entire world is watching,” Rafael Grossi told CBS News.
There have been too many resolutions and calls, yet Russia still illegally occupies the Ukrainian NPP and balances it on the verge of a catastrophe.
Rafael Grossi is heading to Beijing and will try to engage China in pressuring Russia on the issue. Nuclear safety was one of a dozen points of the Chinese position on the political settlement of the “Ukraine crisis.” “China opposes armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other peaceful nuclear facilities and calls on all parties to comply with international law, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), and resolutely avoid man-made nuclear accidents. China supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in playing a constructive role in promoting the safety and security of peaceful nuclear facilities,” the document reads. However, it is unlikely that Xi Jinping will exert pressure on Vladimir Putin. He may view the issue as a bargaining chip for “de-escalation” and initiating a “dialogue,” which would primarily serve the interests of China and Russia.
The “Russian Volunteer Corps” and the “Freedom of Russia” Legion are conducting an operation to “liberate the territories of the Belgorod region from the so-called Putin regime and push the enemy back in order to create a security zone to protect the civilian population of Ukraine,” a representative of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Service said. According to him, the operation is being carried out exclusively by Russian citizens.
The “Freedom of Russia” Legion is a military unit formed in March 2022 by the former servicemen of the Russian Federation and ethnic Russians. The “Russian Volunteer Corps” is consist of former POWs who decided to shift sides. Their goal is to defend Ukraine from the illegal and unjust war of aggression, defeat Putin’s regime, and re-establish the Russian Federation as a democratic state. “Unarmed opposition in Russia isn’t opposition at all,” the Chief of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence commented on the political aspect of the regiments’ actions.
The regiments appeared in Belgorod and Bryansk regions, reportedly seizing a few villages. They were likely heading toward the regional capital. “The situation remains quite tense. Most of the population left the territory of the Grayvoron district,” the governor of the Belgorod region said. The Moscow regime has launched a “counter-terrorist operation.” So far, there have been reports of eight injuries and the downing of a helicopter, according to social media sources. This is not the first instance of these regiments crossing the border, highlighting vulnerabilities in Russian defense lines and their inability to effectively counter such incursions. It is challenging to assess the precise objectives of these actions beyond IPSO. They could potentially be part of the groundwork for Ukraine’s counteroffensive.
In addition to targeting command and control centers and ammunition depots in the occupied territories, there has been an increase in sabotage actions within the territory of the Russian Federation. Radical elements in Russia, including heavily censured political TV shows, are discussing the possibility of a civil war, which Russia’s unsuccessful invasions have been historically bringing home. The regiments’ actions could potentially set off a chain of events leading to such a situation in the foreground of the growing understanding that Putin is the incapable leader who caused the country’s strategic defeat.
- The enemy is concentrating its main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions.
- The enemy has seized control of the city of Bakhmut.
- The continuous advancement of the Defense Forces may lead to the tactical encirclement of the Wagner PMC units in Bakhmut.
- The Defense Forces are conducting systematic strikes on airfields in the Priazovye region, hindering the enemy’s use of aviation.
Change in the line of contact (LoC):
- The Ukrainian Defense Forces have repelled over 37 enemy attacks on various fronts.
- Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Masyutivka, Ivan-Daryivka, Stelmakhivka, Makiyivka, Nevske, and Bilohorivka.
- The Defense Forces launched HIMARS strikes on Russian rear positions in Kalynove-Borshchuvate, Luhansk Oblast.
- The Defence Forces maintain control over a small area in the southwest of Bakhmut, specifically along the T0504 highway, while they have withdrawn from the remaining parts of the city, except for the regions adjacent to two highways leading into Bakhmut. The Ukraine’s 3rd separate assault brigade attacked positions of the 200th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 14th Army Corps of the Russian Northern Fleet northeast of Bohdanivka, expanding the wedge area to 1,750 meters in width and 700 meters in depth. The enemy has lost control of some dominant heights around Bakhmut.
- The enemy’s 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is making unsuccessful attempts to regain previously lost positions. Russian forces have escalated their offensive actions along the front line in Donetsk and launched attacks on the western and northern parts of Maryinka. They attempted to advance towards Pervomaiske and made efforts on the southwestern and eastern approaches to Avdiivka, in Novokalynove, and near Novomykhailivka. In the vicinity of the latter, the enemy has achieved some success and advanced towards Severne from the Vodyane direction. Battles are ongoing in Pervomaiske, Opytne, and Maryinka.
- The Ukrainian Defense Forces launched attacks on Russian positions near the H-20 highway, northeast of Krasnohorivka, and targeted the Russian headquarters located at the airfield in Berdyansk.
Change in enemy disposition:
- The artillery of the 132nd separate motorized rifle brigade of the 2nd AC, previously deployed in the Avdiivka direction, has been deployed to Bakhmut.
- Units of the 503rd motorized rifle regiment of the 19th motorized rifle division of the 58th army are operating in the area north of Nesteryanka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
- The Russian military leadership has decided to shorten the training period for personnel consisting of convicted individuals to 10 days. The main camp, where approximately 1,000 individuals were transferred from Russian detention facilities, is located in the Starobilsk district of Luhansk Oblast.
Possible operation situation developments:
- The enemy will transition to a defensive posture in the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Maryinka directions.
- The Defense Forces will continue to shape the operational space, preparing favorable conditions for a counteroffensive operation.
- Additional reinforcements will be necessary for Russian forces to maintain control over Bakhmut and its flanks, which will lead to a reduction in their forces on other fronts.
Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area:
- As of the afternoon of May 22, there were 6 enemy ships at sea, patrolling areas near the coast of Crimea and Krasnodar Krai. One of them is equipped with 8 “Kalibr” missiles.
- One ship is on duty near the Kerch Strait Bridge.
- The enemy’s aviation continues its flights over the sea from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. Six fighter aircraft from Belbek and Saki Air Force Bases were deployed to monitor surface and air conditions in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The A-50U and Il-22 AEW&C aircraft were responsible for overseeing the air situation and managing operational-tactical aviation activities over the waters of the Sea of Azov.
- As of May 21, 40 units of aviation equipment have been detected on the territory of the Dzhankoy airfield in Crimea, including 4 Su-25 aircraft and 36 helicopters (specifically 16 Mi-8, 13 Mi-28, 2 Mi-24, and 5 Ka-52). The aviation assets are guarded by 2 anti-aircraft missile systems, specifically the 96K6 “Pantsir”.
The “Grain Initiative”
Ukraine’s agricultural product exports are expected to double if the ports in Mykolaiv are successfully unblocked, according to the Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi. “Mykolaiv holds great importance as it is comparable in size to the ports of Odesa. By unblocking it, Ukraine can potentially double its exports, reduce logistics costs, and as a result, Ukrainian farmers will generate more revenue,” he stated. The minister emphasized that it is not only the opening of Mykolaiv that is crucial but also the number of vessels granted passage through the Bosphorus. Insufficient vessel availability renders the number of open ports irrelevant in terms of benefits. “It is also important to consider the individuals willing to work on these ships, as the danger factor remains significant,” Solskyi added.
Previously, Ukraine appealed to the United Nations and Turkey, who are signatories and guarantors of the “grain initiative,” with a proposal to include the ports of Mykolaiv in the agreement. However, they have not yet confirmed this possibility.
Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 22.05.23
Personnel – almost 203,880 people (+720);
Tanks – 3,785 (+2);
Armored combat vehicles – 7,407 (+9);
Artillery systems – 3,278 (+20)
Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 565 (+1);
Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 327 (0);
Vehicles and fuel tanks – 6,129 (+14);
Aircraft – 309 (+1);
Helicopters – 294 (0);
UAV operational and tactical level – 2,830 (+8);
Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,011 (0);
Boats/ships – 18 (0).
NATO Parliamentary Assembly recognized Russian crimes in Ukraine as genocide, called on the members’ governments to “explicitly recognize the Wagner group as a criminal and terrorist organization,” “reconfirm that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO, that Ukraine will become a member of the Alliance,” and “highlight, at the Vilnius Summit, the need for firm future security guarantees for Ukraine until acquiring NATO membership.” The Assembly also called to “fill all pledges and strengthen the Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine, and to commit additional funding for a strategic multi-year NATO assistance program for Ukraine, including support for mine clearance, medical treatment, and rehabilitation, Ukraine’s transition from Soviet-era to NATO equipment, standards and doctrines, training and education for the Ukrainian military and enhancing interoperability between Ukrainian forces and NATO forces.”
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