Russo Ukrainian War. Day 207: Biden warns Russia against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

In the last seven days, Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure. Over the past 24 hours, Russian occupiers have launched 6 missiles and 28 air strikes, fired more than 90 rocket-propelled grenades at military and civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine. Russian forces continue to prioritize strategically meaningless offensive operations around Donetsk City and Bakhmut over defending against continued Ukrainian counter-offensive operations in Kharkiv Oblast. The Russian military is preparing for a large-scale defense in the east and south of Ukraine.  Ukrainian forces liberated a settlement southwest of Lyman and are likely continuing to expand their positions in the area. Ukrainian forces continued to conduct an interdiction campaign in Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian partisans continue attacks on the Russian military assets and logistics in southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russian authorities are working to place 125 “orphan” Ukrainian children from occupied Donetsk Oblast with Russian families. The IAEA reports that the Zaporizhzhia NPP has been reconnected to the Ukrainian power grid. Mykolaiv residents recommended to leave the city. Odesa aspires to become a part of the UNESCO World Heritage list soon. US President Biden warned that the use of nuclear or chemical weapons by Russia in Ukraine will have consequences.

Daily overview — Summary report, September 18

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, September 18, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

Situation in Ukraine. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two hundred-seventh (207) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The enemy continues to focus its efforts on attempts to fully occupy the Donetsk oblast, organize defence and hold the captured territories, as well as disrupt the active actions of the Defence Forces in certain areas. It fires at the positions of our troops along the contact line, carries out measures to regroup its units in separate directions, launches reserves and does not stop conducting aerial reconnaissance.
The enemy continues to shell the houses of civilians and civilian infrastructure objects, violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war.
Over the past 24 hours, russian occupiers have launched 6 missile and 28 air strikes, fired more than 90 rocket-propelled grenades at military and civilian targets on the territory of Ukraine.
The infrastructure of more than 30 settlements was damaged. These are, in particular, Kharkiv, Dvorichna, Kamyanka, Krasnohorivka, Novomykhailivka, Neskuchne, Uspenivka, Myrolyubivka, Bilyayivka, Visokopillya, and Mykolayiv. The enemy hit civilian objects on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhia, as well as the cities of Chuhuiv and Kramatorsk, where there are victims among the civilian population. There remains the threat of air and missile strikes throughout Ukraine.
The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly.
In other directions, the enemy fired from tanks, mortars and artillery of various types, namely:
in the Siverskyi direction – in the Huta-Studenetska district of the Chernihiv oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. August 17, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 17, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Kharkiv direction, in particular from the territory of the russian federation, in the areas of the settlements of Kozacha Lopan, Hoptivka, Strilecha, Visoka Yaruga, Vovchansk, Gatyshche, Budarky, Dvorichna, Kupyansk, Kamianka;
Donetsk Battle Map. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Kramatorsk direction – Raihorodok, Ozerne, Piskunivka, Kryva Luka, Siversk, Mykolaivka, Verkhnokamianske, Spirne and Vesele;
in the Bakhmut direction – Rozdolivka, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Vesela Dolyna, Zaitseve, Odradivka, Mykolaivka Druha, Mayorsk and New York;
in the Avdiyivka direction – Kamianka, Avdiyivka, Vodyane, Opytne and Krasnohorivka;
in the Zaporizhzhia directions – Kamianske, Stepove, Orihiv, Hulyapilske, Biloghirya, Olhivske, Temyrivka Novosilka, Velyka Novosilka, Neskuchne, Prechystivka and Vuhledar.
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. September 17, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the South Buh direction, the enemy was shelling along the entire contact line. More than 20 settlements were affected by the fire, in particular, Trudolyubivka, Petrivka, Bila Krynytsia, Lozove, Blahodativka, Shyroke, Partyzanske, Ternovi Pody, Lymany, Myrne and Tavriyske.
In the temporarily captured territory of the Kherson oblast, the occupiers continue illegal actions against the civilian population. Thus, information is being received regarding the mass eviction of residents from their private homes in Pryozerne and Tryfonivka. In the area of ​​the settlement of Chonhar, servicemen of the occupying forces, under threats of death, force the local population to participate in the fortification equipment of the positions.
According to detailed information, during the retreat of the occupiers from the Kharkiv region, units of the 11th Army Corps from the Baltic Fleet of the Armed Forces of the russian federation lost more than 50% of their personnel and more than 200 units of military equipment.
In addition, the 64th separate motorized rifle brigade of the Eastern Military District lost more than 90% of its personnel as dead, wounded, deserters, and those dismissed as a result of refusing to participate in hostilities. The equipment of the brigade is handed over to units of the border service of the FSB of the russian federation, and the military unit is being prepared for disbandment.
The occupiers suffered significant losses when they attempted to storm the Defence Forces in the Avdiyivka direction. According to the available information, more than 30 people from the 1st Army Corps of the russian troops are admitted to the medical facilities every day. The occupying power is trying in every way to restore the fighting capacity of units that have suffered losses.
Over the past day, the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Mykhailivka Druha, Vesela Dolyna, Odradivka, Maryinka, Novomykhailivka, and Pravdyne settlements.
During the day, Ukrainian aviation struck 13 areas of concentration of enemy manpower and equipment and 3 positions of anti-aircraft missile systems. In addition, our air defence units shot down five UAVs and one Ka-52 enemy helicopter.
Rocket troops and artillery inflicted fire damage on more than two hundred enemy objects. Among them are 12 command and control points, warehouses of ammunition and fuel and oil, artillery positions and areas of concentration of personnel and military equipment. Enemy casualties are currently being verified.

Military Updates

The Russian military is preparing for a large-scale defense in the east and south of Ukraine, the Luhansk military administration head Gaidai reports. The Russian Federation gathers equipment and troops in the Svatov region. A group of the Russian military was spotted on the territory of an agricultural college in the village of Khomovka.

In the Kherson region, the Russian army is building additional defense lines in the Kalanchak area. In the city of Kherson, the arrival of additional military forces is reported. The Russians closed the settlements in the Kherson region for entry and exit, the locals are forbidden to approach river crossings, and searches intensified.

US President Biden warned that the use of nuclear or chemical weapons by Russia in Ukraine will have consequences. 

 

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Regional Updates 

In the Donetsk Oblast, in the building of the “administration” in Donetsk, central Lenin Square, he building of the “Ministry of Justice of the DPR”, the Main Post Office and the Drama Theater are reportedly shelled.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Russian occupiers fired rockets at Chuguev. Critical infrastructure, private homes, businesses and petrol stations damaged.  An 11-year-old girl was injured and died in the hospital, a woman was also injured.

In the Chernihiv Oblast, some villages, located near the Russian border, were deserted due to enemy shelling. There is no mandatory evacuation for residents of border villages, but about 1,000 left from the Semenov community alone on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Local residents resettle in villages in areas located further from the border.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russian troops shelled a village near Zaporozhye. In Melitopol, partisans blew up the railway, disrupting the supply of weapons to the Russian invaders from Crimea. In the Zaporizhzhia region, the Russian occupying forces and collaborators threaten the local population with imprisonment and being transported to the “Luhansk People’s Republic” where the death penalty is legal for supporting partisans.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, the local population is recommended to leave, said the head of the Mykolaiv military administration. The shortage of pure water remains an acute problem.

In the Odesa Oblast, at a meeting with the UNESCO team, Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, said that the nomination of Odesa’s historic center for the World Heritage list will be reviewed at the UNESCO next session.

In the temporarily occupied Crimea, two cars, property of the head of the Russian state information service RIA Novosti, Dmitry Kiselyov, set on fire.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • Russia has launched several thousand long-range missiles against Ukraine since 24 February 2022. However, in the last seven days, Russia has increased its targeting of civilian infrastructure even where it probably perceives no immediate military effect.

 

  • This category of mission has included strikes against the electricity grid, and a dam on the Inhulets River at Kryvyi Rih.

 

  • As it faces setbacks on the front lines, Russia has likely extended the locations it is prepared to strike in an attempt to directly undermine the morale of the Ukrainian people and government.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 18 September, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Humanitarian 

In liberated Kupyansk, the torture chamber contained metal cages in empty rooms.  “They beat me with electric shock, a pipe, and a bat,” said a resident of Kupyansk tortured by representatives of the FSB. In addition, the FSB representatives threatened his family.

Environmental 

The IAEA reports that the Zaporizhzhia NPP has been reconnected to the Ukrainian power grid after engineers repaired one of the four damaged power lines.

The Russian troops fired at Slavyanskaya TPP. As a result of the strike, a fire started and the equipment of the station was damaged and the water supply was interrupted in the nearby territories.

Legal 

Support 

Germany approved the sale of 18 RCH-155 self-propelled guns to Ukraine to be received no earlier than 2025. The contract for the supply of 18-wheeled howitzers with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is worth 216 million Euros. The RCH-155 is a wheeled self-propelled artillery mount with an L52 cannon. A firing range of up to 54 kilometers is declared with V-LAP high-precision projectiles at a speed of nine rounds per minute. Weight SAU-39 tons. The maximum speed is 100 km/h. The maximum mileage is up to 700 kilometers.

Spain sent Ukraine 5 transport aircraft with ammunition for large-caliber artillery systems. The Spanish Ministry of Defense officially confirmed the departure of the T-23 aircraft of the Spanish Aerospace Forces from Madrid.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemns occupier atrocities in Izium. “Reports of mass graves in Ukrainian Izium are horrifying and heartbreaking. Canada condemns these heinous atrocities. We will continue to work with partners to bring those responsible to justice, and we will continue to help the people of Ukraine,” he said.

New Developments 

German chancellor Scholz said that there have been shifts in the talks with Putin, they are taking place “in a friendly tone.” He spoke to the Russian president about the withdrawal of troops, humanitarian issues, such as the export of grain, and the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

Germany deliberately delays the provision of real military assistance to Ukraine, as it hopes to normalize cooperation with the Russian Federation, said Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau. “The scale and pace of Germany’s support for Ukraine demonstrate the features of deliberate delay. It seems that the intention is that, regardless of the outcome of this war, German-Russian relations suffer as little as possible,” he said.

Indian leader Narendra Modi personally urged Vladimir Putin to stop the war against Ukraine. Modi told the Russian dictator about the need to “take the path of peace” and reminded him of the importance of “democracy, diplomacy, and dialogue.” India has so far largely avoided outright condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has also seen a record increase in Russian oil imports since February.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. [Paragraph]

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 17 September, 2022:

Russian forces continue to conduct meaningless offensive operations around Donetsk City and Bakhmut instead of focusing on defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives that continue to advance. Russian troops continue to attack Bakhmut and various villages near Donetsk City of emotional significance to pro-war residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) but little other importance. The Russians are apparently directing some of the very limited reserves available in Ukraine to these efforts rather than to the vulnerable Russian defensive lines hastily thrown up along the Oskil River in eastern Kharkiv Oblast. The Russians cannot hope to make gains around Bakhmut or Donetsk City on a large enough scale to derail Ukrainian counteroffensives and appear to be continuing an almost robotic effort to gain ground in Donetsk Oblast that seems increasingly divorced from the overall realities of the theater.

Russian failures to rush large-scale reinforcements to eastern Kharkiv and to Luhansk Oblasts leave most of Russian-occupied northeastern Ukraine highly vulnerable to continuing Ukrainian counter-offensives. The Russians may have decided not to defend this area, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated declarations that the purpose of the “special military operation” is to “liberate” Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Prioritizing the defense of Russian gains in southern Ukraine over holding northeastern Ukraine makes strategic sense since Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts are critical terrain for both Russia and Ukraine whereas the sparsely-populated agricultural areas in the northeast are much less so. But the continued Russian offensive operations around Bakhmut and Donetsk City, which are using some of Russia’s very limited effective combat power at the expense of defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives, might indicate that Russian theater decision-making remains questionable.

Ukrainian forces appear to be expanding positions east of the Oskil River and north of the Siverskyi Donets River that could allow them to envelop Russian troops holding around Lyman. Further Ukrainian advances east along the north bank of the Siverskyi Donets River could make Russian positions around Lyman untenable and open the approaches to Lysychansk and ultimately Sievierodonetsk. The Russian defenders in Lyman still appear to consist in large part of BARS (Russian Combat Army Reserve) reservists and the remnants of units badly damaged in the Kharkiv Oblast counteroffensive, and the Russians do not appear to be directing reinforcements from elsewhere in the theater to these areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continue to prioritize strategically meaningless offensive operations around Donetsk City and Bakhmut over defending against continued Ukrainian counter-offensive operations in Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces liberated a settlement southwest of Lyman and are likely continuing to expand their positions in the area.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to conduct an interdiction campaign in Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued to conduct unsuccessful assaults around Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Ukrainian sources reported extensive partisan attacks on Russian military assets and logistics in southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Russian officials continued to undertake crypto-mobilization measures to generate forces for war Russian war efforts.
  • Russian authorities are working to place 125 “orphan” Ukrainian children from occupied Donetsk Oblast with Russian families.

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