Russo Ukrainian War. Day 225: Ukrainian army liberates part of Luhansk Oblast

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

A new phase of offensive operations in Kherson Oblast continues. Advancing south, Ukrainian units have pushed the front line forwards by up to an additional 20km. The Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast is actively pushing into Luhansk Oblast. Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast. Russian forces conducted the first strike on Kyiv Oblast since June with a Shahid-136 drone. Putin signed a decree to assert full Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and completed the final formality in the process of illegally annexing Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories. More than 50 new graves of civilians found in the liberated Liman.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 6

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 6, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

Situation in Ukraine. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two hundred-twenty-fifth (225) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
Donetsk Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW.

The enemy is trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, concentrates efforts on attempts to disrupt the active actions of the Defence Forces in certain directions, does not stop attempts to conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions. The enemy is regrouping units in separate areas.
The shelling of our positions along the contact line continues, the enemy carries out remote mining of the territory in separate directions and conducts aerial reconnaissance. Strikes civilian infrastructure and civilian homes, violating international humanitarian law, laws and customs of war.
Over the past 24 hours, the occupiers have launched 5 rocket and 8 air strikes, and fired more than 65 MLRS attacks. Objects and the civilian population of more than thirty settlements were damaged by enemy strikes. Among them are Bila Tserkva, Kupyansk, Bilohorivka, Siversk, Karlivka, Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhzhia, Hulyaipole, Progress, Nikopol and Myrne.
There remains the threat of air and missile strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine.
The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly.
The enemy fired in other directions:
in the Siversky direction – in the areas of Rozhkovychi and Fotovyzh settlements of the Sumy oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Slobozhansky direction – in the areas of the settlements of Udy, Veterynarne, Strilecha, Krasne, Ohirtseve, Hlyboke, Neskuchne, and Milove;
in the Kramatorsk direction – near Verkhnyokamyanske, Ivanivka, Serebryanka and Spirne;
in the Bakhmut direction – in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Odradivka, Mayorsk, New York and Yuryivka;
in the Avdiyivka direction – in the areas of Avdiyivka, Pervomaiske, Vodyane, Pisky, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Paraskoviyivka, Novomykhailivka.
On the Novopavlivskyi and Zaporizhzhia directions, the enemy inflicted fire on the areas of the settlements of Novopil, Vremivka, Velyka Novosilka, Shakhtarske, Zolota Nyva, Poltavka, Hulyaipole, Chervone, Pavlivka, Hulyaipilske, Dorozhnyanka and Novoukrayinka.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 5, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the South Buh direction, the occupiers continue to regroup and withdraw their units. More than 30 settlements along the contact line were shelled with tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery. In particular, Velyke Artakove, Bilohirka, Blahodativka, Andriyivka, Pervomaiske, Lyubomirivka, Soldatske, Pravdyne, Myrne and Oleksandrivka.
Over the past day, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Vyimka, Soledar, Odradivka, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Krasnohorivka, Mayorsk and Novomykhailivka.
As a result of the gradual liberation by the Defense Forces of the temporarily occupied territories, simultaneously with the departure of units of the russian occupation forces, the departure of henchmen of the occupation authorities is noted. Thus, according to available information, the movement of three buses of supporters of the occupiers was recorded from the village of Svatove to Novopskov, Luhansk oblast.
The situation is similar in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson oblast, where representatives of private security campaigns from the TOT of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea plan to evacuate back to the peninsula.
In the village of Rubizhne, Luhansk oblast, in order to search for Ukrainian saboteurs and partisans, the occupiers imposed a curfew and intensified filtering measures.
Information continues to be received about the mining of infrastructure facilities in the city of Enerhodar by the russian invaders.
The Air Force of the Defence Forces carried out more than fifteen strikes. The defeat of twelve areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, as well as four anti-aircraft missile systems of the enemy, was confirmed. In addition, nine enemy UAVs were shot down.
Over the past day, missile forces and artillery hit two control and command points, fourteen areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, an ammunition depot, as well as eight other important enemy facilities.

Military Updates

In the Mykolaiv-Kherson direction, the Armed Forces of Ukraine bought a BMP-2 from the occupiers, said the head of the Mykolaiv military administration Vitaly Kim. The Russian crew surrendered.
Shelling by Russian troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Any Russian facilities in the occupied territory are legitimate military targets for attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to the adviser to the head of the Presidential Office Mikhailo Podoliak. Any counteroffensive and de-occupation of territories fall under the concept of a defensive war.

The Russian army has become the main supplier of heavy weapons for Ukraine, wrote The Wall Street Journal. Russia is ahead of the United States and other Western allies in the supply of military equipment to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and 5 howitzers 2S5 “Hyacinth.”  The Armed Forces of Ukraine during the counter-offensive in the east captured:
460 tanks;
92 self-propelled howitzers;
448 infantry fighting vehicles;
195 armored fighting vehicles;
44 MLRS.
*The amount of captured Russian equipment can be much larger, writes The Wall Street Journal.
In the Kherson Oblast, in the Beryslav district, the Ukrainian army liberated the villages:  Novovoskresenske; Novogrigorovka; Petropavlivka.

Regional Updates

In Luhansk Oblast:

In Kherson Oblast:

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

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1577941962531147776

  • Ukraine’s Armed Forces started a new phase of offensive operations in Kherson Oblast on 2 October 2022. Advancing south, Ukrainian units have pushed the front line forwards by up to an additional 20km, primarily making gains along the east bank of the Inhulets and west bank of the Dnipro, but not yet threatening the main Russian defensive positions.

 

  • Russian forces have typically broken contact and withdrawn. Russian commanders are likely to see the growing threat to the Nova Kakhovka sector as one of their most pressing concerns. The damaged river crossing over the Dnipro in this area remains one of the few routes available for them to resupply forces. Russia faces a dilemma: withdrawal of combat forces across the Dnipro makes defence of the rest of Kherson Oblast more tenable; but the political imperative will be to remain and defend.

 

  • Russia has committed the majority of its severely undermanned airborne forces, the VDV, to the defence of Kherson. Therefore, Russia currently has few additional, high quality rapidly deployable forces available to stabilise the front: it likely aims to deploy mobilised reservists to the sector.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of  6 October, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Humanitarian 

More than 50 new graves of civilians found in the liberated Liman. Russians dug trenches and forced people suspected of collaborating with the Ukrainian military to collect the bodies of the dead for reburial.

 

Man saved 1,000 people from hunger during the Russian siege of Chernihiv

Environmental 

IAEA Director General Grossi is heading to Kyiv for an “important meeting” on nuclear safety and the security of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear power plant.

Legal

Energoatom responded to Putin’s appropriation of Zaporizhzhia NPP. The operator of nuclear power plants Energoatom called Putin’s decree on the transfer of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to Russia null and void. Energoatom emphasized that the Zaporizhzhia NPP will continue to operate in Ukraine, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation, in the Ukrainian energy system and Energoatom.

Support 

NATO will maintain and strengthen support for Ukraine for as long as it takes, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The Czech Republic will transfer heavy equipment to Ukraine, said Defense Minister Yana Chernokhova. The heavy equipment is included in the new aid package, but the Czech Republic will not disclose details for security reasons.
Germany handed over 5 Bergepanzer 2 machines to Ukraine, according to the German government. The Ukrainian military were trained in Germany to operate this equipment. The German armored recovery vehicle BPz-2 belongs to the group of combat support vehicles and was developed on the basis of the Leopard 1.
The Italian Ministry of Defense is preparing the fifth package of military assistance to Ukraine. It is expected that the decree will be signed before the end of this week. According to the Italian edition, the department has not yet disclosed the details.

New Developments 

NATO forces intercepted 4 Russian fighters in the airspaces of Poland and Sweden. Fighters of the Italian Air Force were raised into the sky. The Italian Air Force noted that after the rise of NATO fighters, Russian military aircraft were forced to return to the Kaliningrad airspace.
Poland is negotiating with the US to participate in a nuclear sharing program to counter growing threats from the Russian Federation, said Polish President Andrzej Duda. Andrzej Duda said that the problem lies primarily in the fact that Poland does not have nuclear weapons. The Nuclear Sharing Program is part of NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy, which allows member countries that do not have such weapons to participate in planning.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 5 October, 2022:

Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv counteroffensive has not yet culminated after one month of successful operations and is now advancing into western Luhansk Oblast. Ukrainian forces captured Hrekivka and Makiivka in western Luhansk Oblast (approximately 20 km southwest of Svatove) on October 5.[1] Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Ukrainian forces have begun liberating unspecified villages in Luhansk Oblast on October 5.[2] Ukrainian forces began the maneuver phase of their counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast— which has now reached Luhansk Oblast—on September 6.[3] Russian forces have failed to hold the banks of the Oskil and Siverskyi Donets rivers and leverage them as natural boundaries to prevent Ukrainian forces from projecting into vulnerable sections of Russian-occupied northeast Ukraine. The terrain in western Luhansk is suitable for the kind of rapid maneuver warfare that Ukrainian forces used effectively in eastern Kharkiv Oblast in early September, and there are no indications from open sources that the Russian military has substantially reinforced western Luhansk Oblast. Ukraine’s ongoing northern and southern counteroffensives are likely forcing the Kremlin to prioritize the defense of one area of operations at the expense of another, potentially increasing the likelihood of Ukrainian success in both.

Russian forces conducted a Shahed-136 drone strike against Bila Tserkva, Kyiv Oblast, on October 5, the first Russian strike in Kyiv Oblast since June.[4] Footage from the aftermath of the strike shows apparent damage to residential structures.[5] Russian milbloggers lauded the destructive capability of the Shahed-136 drones but questioned why Russian forces are using such technology to target areas deep in the Ukrainian rear and far removed from active combat zones. That decision fits into the larger pattern of Russian forces expending high-precision technology on areas of Ukraine that hold limited operational significance.[6]

Russian President Vladimir Putin took measures to assert full Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). Putin issued a decree transferring control of the ZNPP to Russian state company Rosenergoatom on October 5.[7] The ZNPP’s current Ukrainian operator Energoatom announced that its president assumed the position of General Director of the ZNPP on October 5.[8] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian officials are coercing ZNPP workers into obtaining Russian passports and signing employment contracts with Rosenergoatom.[9] International Atomic Energy Agency General Director Rafael Grossi plans to meet with both Ukrainian and Russian officials this week in Kyiv and Moscow to discuss the creation of a “protective zone” around the ZNPP.[10] Russian officials will likely attempt to coerce the IAEA in upcoming discussions and negotiations into recognizing Rosenergoatom’s official control of the ZNPP, and by implication Russia’s illegal annexation of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced that Putin awarded him the rank of colonel general on October 5.[11] This promotion is particularly noteworthy in the context of the recent controversy surrounding Kadyrov and his direct criticism of Central Military District (CMD) Colonel General Aleksander Lapin, which ISW has previously analyzed.[12] Although ISW has not found official confirmation of Kadyrov’s promotion, Putin may have made the decision to elevate Kadyrov’s rank in order to maintain the support of Kadyrov and Chechen forces while simultaneously pushing back on the Russian Ministry of Defense and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, from whom Putin seems to be rhetorically distancing himself. Kadyrov’s new rank may be a sign that Putin is willing to appease the more radical and vocal calls of the siloviki base at the expense of the conventional military establishment.

Increasing domestic critiques of Russia’s “partial mobilization” are likely driving Putin to scapegoat the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and specifically Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Putin deferred mobilization for all students, including part-time and masters students, via a decree on October 5.[13] Putin told Russian outlets that because “the Ministry of Defense did not make timely changes to the legal framework on the list of those who are not subject to mobilization, adjustments have to be made.”[14] That direct critique of the MoD is also an implicit critique of Shoigu, whom Putin appears to be setting up to take the fall for the failures of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The chairperson of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, Colonel General (Ret.) Andrey Kartapolov, also criticized the MoD on Russian state television on October 5. Kartapolov said that all Russians know the MoD is lying and must stop, but that message is not reaching “individual leaders,” another jab at Shoigu.[15] One Russian milblogger claimed that Kartapolov’s comments demonstrate that Shoigu will soon be “demolished” and “recognized as the main culprit” of Russia’s military failures. The milblogger reminded his readers that it was the Russian MoD and its head that made an “invaluable and huge contribution to the fact that we are now on the verge of a military-political catastrophe.”[16] Another milblogger defended Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov for criticizing the MoD, applauding them for driving necessary change.[17] Kadyrov’s announcement that Putin awarded him the rank of Colonel-General is similarly indicative that Putin is willing to appease the siloviki base that has taken continued rhetorical swings at the MoD establishment.

Putin will likely hold off on firing Shoigu for as long as he feels he can in order to continue to blame Shoigu for ongoing military failures and to build up support among other factions. Shoigu’s replacement will need to take responsibility for failures that occur after his tenure begins. Putin is already working to improve his support among the nationalist milbloggers and the siloviki such as Prigozhin and Kadyrov. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov old reporters on October 5 that Prigozhin “makes a great contribution within his capabilities” to efforts in Russia and Ukraine and declined to answer questions surrounding Prigozhin’s critiques of government officials.[18] A milblogger emphasized on October 5 that Putin “regularly hosts military correspondents, carefully reads their reports, asks the right questions, and receives objective answers,” implicitly contrasting that relationship with the dishonest way in which milbloggers believe the MoD interacts with Putin.[19]

Russian authorities detained the manager of several milblogger telegram channels on October 5, indicating that the Kremlin is likely setting limits on what criticism is allowed in the domestic Russian information space. Alexander Khunshtein, the deputy secretary of the General Council of Putin’s political party, United Russia, published footage on October 5 showing Russian authorities detaining Alexei Slobodenyuk.[20] Slobodenyuk is an employee of Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Patriot media group and the manager of several milblogger telegrams, the most prominent of which are “Release Z Kraken” and “Skaner.” The telegram channel “Skaner” has featured criticism of major state officials and military personnel, the most prominent of whom are Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, and Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Russian authorities detained Slobodenyuk on accusations of fraud. His detention suggests that the Kremlin is attempting to set boundaries for which criticism is allowed in the information space and on which high-ranking officials milbloggers and journalists can criticize—Defense Minister Shoigu, Putin‘s likely scapegoat-in-waiting, now appears to be fair game, whereas officials close to Putin such as Lavrov and Putin’s spokesperson are off-limits.

Key Takeaways

  • The Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in Kharkiv Oblast has not yet culminated and is actively pushing into Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin took measures to assert full Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
  • Russian forces conducted the first strike on Kyiv Oblast since June with a Shahed-136 drone.
  • The Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced that Putin awarded him the rank of Colonel-General.
  • Increasing domestic critiques of Russia’s “partial mobilization” are likely driving Putin to scapegoat the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and specifically Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
  • Ukrainian troops likely consolidated positions and regrouped in northern Kherson Oblast after making major gains over in the last 48 hours.
  • Russian sources reported Ukrainian offensive preparations northwest, west, and northeast of Kherson City.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast on October 5.
  • Russian milbloggers continued to criticize the implementation of the Russian “partial mobilization” on October 5.
  • Russian citizens who are economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority Russian communities continue to bear a disproportionate burden in mobilization rates and casualty rates according to investigative reports, suggesting that Russian authorities may be deliberately placing poor and minority Russian citizens in more dangerous positions than well-off or ethnic Russians.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin completed the final formality in the process for illegally annexing Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories on October 5.

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