Russo Ukrainian War. Day 227: Crimean bridge on fire after an explosion

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian forces likely continued counteroffensive operations along the Kreminna-Svatove road in western Luhansk Oblast. Russian occupation authorities in Donetsk Oblast are continuing to forcibly mobilize Ukrainian civilians. In the newly liberated Kharkiv Oblast more Russian torture chambers discovered. Russian forces continued to establish defensive positions in northern Kherson Oblast. Ongoing battles north and northwest of Kherson City reported. The Russian military carried out 7 rocket and 12 air strikes, carried out about 80 MLRS attacks in Ukraine and more than 20 settlements were hit. The  Russian army used seven Iranian-made “Shahid-136” unmanned aerial vehicles to strike Ukrainian cities; three shot down, and four reached the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv Fractures within the Kremlin reported. Criticism of the war in Russia on the rise.

 

Daily overview — Summary report, October 8

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 8, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

Situation in Ukraine. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two hundred-twenty-seventh (227) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
Donetsk Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

The enemy is trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, is concentrating its efforts on attempts to disrupt the active actions of the Defense Forces in certain directions, and at the same time is conducting offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka directions.
The enemy is shelling the positions of our troops along the entire contact line, carrying out engineering defense equipment in certain directions and conducting aerial reconnaissance.
The adversary continues to violate the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war, strikes critical infrastructure, as well as the homes of the civilian population.
There remains the threat of the enemy launching air and missile strikes on the entire territory of Ukraine.
During the day, the occupiers carried out 7 rocket and 12 air strikes, carried out about 80 MLRS attacks.
More than 20 settlements were hit by the enemy. In particular, Slavhorod, Bilovody, Vuhledar, Ridkodub, Hulyaipilske, Novoandriyivka, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv.
The enemy also used seven Iranian-made “Shahed-136” unmanned aerial vehicles to strike Ukrainian cities during the past day. Three of them were shot down, and four reached the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv.
In order to further support the armed aggression against Ukraine, mobilization continues in the russian federation. The local authorities of some districts are trying to implement its plan at the expense of unemployed men of conscription age, thereby solving the internal problem.
The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly.
The enemy fired in other directions:
in the Siversky direction – from mortars and barrel artillery in the areas of the settlements of Bleshnya, Hai and Senkivka of the Chernihiv oblast and Starykovo of the Sumy oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Slobozhansk direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery, in the areas of 18 settlements, including Hlyboke, Udy, Ohirtseve, Strilecha, Kolodyazne, Dvorichne, Neskuchne;
in the Kramatorsk direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of the settlements of Spirne, Bilohorivka, Verkhnokamianske, Rozdolivka, Serebryanka, Hryhorivka, Dronivka, Vesele;
in the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy shelled the areas of Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Ivanhrad, Opytne, Mayorsk, New York, Viimka, Rozdolivka, Vesele and Odradivka settlements;
in the Avdiyivsk direction – Avdiyivka, Krasnohorivka, Pervomaiske and Novomykhailivka were affected by fire.
The enemy did not carry out offensive actions in the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions. Infrastructure in the areas of 16 settlements was damaged by enemy fire. Among others – Vremivka, Temyrivka, Olhivske, Hulyaipilske and Zaliznychne.
In the temporarily captured territories of the Zaporizhzhia region, the enemy is trying to intensify measures to discredit units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Special correspondents of the russian mass media are additionally involved in creating fake content.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

Areas of more than 27 settlements near the contact line were shelled by tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the South Buh direction.
The enemy actively engages UAVs of various types to conduct reconnaissance and carry out strikes. Last day, our defenders shot down eight UAVs in different directions: five of the Orlan-10 type and three of the Shahed-136 type.
Units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Vyimka, Bakhmutske, Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, Mayorsk, Ozeryanivka, Zaytseve, Odradivka, Andriivka, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, Vesele, Kamianka, Pobyeda, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, and Ternovy Pody.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to keep enemy logistics facilities and their supply arteries under fire control. Over the past day, one more enemy pontoon crossing was destroyed. In addition, information about the destruction of enemy ammunition depots on October 5 of this year, near the settlement of Kinski Rozdory, was confirmed.
Enemy units continue to suffer losses. For example, in the areas of Polohy and Tokmak settlements of the Zaporizhzhia region, as a result of shelling by units of the Defense Forces in areas where the enemy’s manpower is concentrated, the enemy lost about 85 people wounded. Information about the dead is being clarified.
In the Luhansk region, about three hundred wounded prisoners who agreed to fight in Ukraine were sent to the local hospital in Novosvitlivka.
Aviation of the Defense Forces carried out 30 strikes during the past 24 hours. It has been confirmed that 24 places of concentration of weapons and military equipment, as well as 6 enemy anti-aircraft missile systems, have been destroyed. In addition, air defense units shot down two enemy helicopters.
Over the past day, missile forces and artillery hit two control points, one area of ​​concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, two areas of artillery firing positions, a radar station and an enemy radio-electronic warfare complex.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

The plans to protect Kyiv with the Muromets anti-drone dome, a network of anti-drone direction finders-interceptors capable of preventing and countering attacks by Shahed drones, will be discussed at the National Defense Developers Forum 19 – 21 October.

Regional Updates

In Donetsk Oblast, mass graves found in the liberated Liman. Entire families n mass graves, graves of children born in 2019-2021, are uncovered.

In Kharkiv Oblast, Russian invaders shelled the central part of Kharkiv with missiles, a fire started in a medical institutions and a non-residential building.

In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russian invaders attacked Nikopol with 40 shells. Several high-rise buildings, more than 10 private houses, farm buildings, lawns, power grids and a transport infrastructure enterprise damaged.

In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, in the morning, the Russian military attacked Zaporizhzhia with unmanned aerial vehicles Shahed-136 used for the first time. 1 injured. Infrastructure facilities in two districts of the city destroyed. Previously, 11 killed, 25 injured and the rescue work continued at the site of destroyed residential buildings.

In Kherson Oblast:

In Odesa and Mykolaiv Oblasts, Ukrainian air defense forces shot down three Shahid-136 kamikaze drones.

In the occupied Crimea, an explosion and fire on the Crimean bridge reported around 6 am on October 8. The automobile part of the bridge sank. The railway part of the bridge is damaged.

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

  • Following continued battlefield setbacks for Russia over the last two weeks, increasingly diverse actors within the Russian system have joined voices in criticism of the Russian MoD leadership. Critics have included Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Wagner Group private military company owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, state-approved TV presenters, pop stars, and an increasingly vocal community of ultra-nationalistic military bloggers.

 

  • Kadyrov and Prigozhin are likely being perceived as informal figure heads of a ‘pro-war’ bloc whose criticism hinges on arguments for greater state commitment and willingness to escalate. Both likely achieve some credibility based on the significant deployment of both Chechen and Wagner combat units on the ground.

 

  • The criticism remains focused at the military high command rather than senior political leadership, but it does represent a trend of public voicing of dissent against the Russian establishment which is being at least partly tolerated and which will likely be hard to reverse.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 8 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 

Environmental 

Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, destroyed 4 out of 15 thermal power plants and seized 90% of Ukrainian wind farms. Ukraine will most likely be forced to reduce or stop exporting electricity to Europe, said Zelenskyy. Yesterday, Russian propagandists launched a campaign to intimidate Ukrainians about the impossibility of passing the winter due to the lack of electricity in the system, coal reserves, etc.
The Russian invaders stole the seal of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to certify documents, according to Energoatom. The management introduced a new seal, and the stolen one was declared invalid. The old seal was in use until October 5, 2022. Recently, Putin instructed to transfer the Zaporizhzhia NPP under the control of Russia. The IAEA did not recognize the ZNPP as an object of the Russian Federation.
 Zaporizhzhia NPP is completely de-energized due to enemy shelling. Diesel generators are turned on automatically, fuel reserves for their operation in this mode are enough for 10 days, Energoatom reported.  

Legal 

Kyiv called for the creation of an international tribunal for the crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. 

Support 

The European Union to allocate 2 billion euros to Ukraine, said the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The European Union will create a fund in the amount of 100 million euros, which will allow Ukraine to directly acquire weapons in Europe, as stated by French President Macron at the summit of the European Political Community in Prague. He also added that France is ready to continue deliveries of “defensive weapons” to Ukraine and is discussing with Denmark the transfer of new Caesar self-propelled guns to Ukraine.
Estonia is preparing a new package of military assistance to Ukraine, as announced by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas before an informal meeting of EU leaders in Prague. “My call is clear – Ukraine has the initiative on the battlefield and we all need to do more so that it liberates more of its territories. Therefore, Estonia will decide next week on a new military aid package. We will provide Ukraine with more ammunition, winter and personal equipment,” Kaya Kallas said.

New Developments 

Zelenskyy signed a decree: Ukraine recognizes the South Kuril Islands as part of Japan. “Ukraine has reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Japan, including its Northern territories,” he said.
Elon Musk criticized an FT article that talked about Starlink communication outages on the front line in Ukraine. “Poor FT report. This article falsely claims that the Starlink terminals and services were paid, although only a small percentage was paid. This operation cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year. As for what is happening on the battlefield, it is classified,” he tweeted.

Zelenskyy denied the New York Times information about the alleged involvement of the Ukrainian authorities in the murder of Daria Dugina. “We have nothing to do with this,” he said in an interview with the BBC.

The Nobel Peace Prize this year was awarded to the Ukrainian Organization “Center for Civil Liberties”, the Belarusian opposition leader Ales Byalyatsky and the Russian human rights organization “Memorial” The “Center for Civil Liberties” which takes part in identifying and documenting Russia’s war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population. Ales Bialiatski has been in prison since 2020 for his opposition policy. The Russian human rights organization “Memorial” was created to study political repressions in the USSR. In December 2021, it was banned by a Russian court decision.
Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate organization responded to the award: The head of the “Center for Civil Liberties” Alexandra Matviychuk said that she was glad that the organization she leads received the Nobel Prize together with “friends and partners” from the Russian “Memorial” and the Belarusian “Vesna.”

Assessment

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 7 October, 2022:

Western and Russian reports of fractures within the Kremlin are gaining traction within the Russian information space, undermining the appearance of stability of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. The Washington Post reported that US intelligence obtained information that a member of Putin’s inner circle directly criticized Putin’s “extensive military shortcomings” during the war in Ukraine, and other Western and Kremlin-affiliated officials noted rising criticism of Putin’s mishandling of the war and mobilization.[1] Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged that there have been debates in the Kremlin regarding mobilization in a statement to The Washington Post but denied all allegations of a member of the Kremlin confronting Putin. ISW cannot verify any of these reports are real or assess the likelihood that these arguments or fractures will change Putin’s mind about continuing the war, let alone if they will destabilize his regime. Word of fractures within Putin’s inner circle have reached the hyper-patriotic and nationalist milblogger crowd, however, undermining the impression of strength and control that Putin has sought to portray throughout his reign.

Some Russian milbloggers have begun speculating that there are two factions within the Kremlin following Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Wagner Private Military Company financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s harsh criticism of the Russian higher military command.[2] A milblogger told his nearly one million readers that Kadyrov and Prigozhin are part of the faction that seeks to continue the war and accomplish its ideological goals regardless of cost. The milblogger noted that the faction opposed to them consisted of government officials who wish to negotiate with the West to save their assets and residences in the West but are too afraid to confront Putin directly. The milblogger expressed hope that the pro-war faction will defeat the faction that fails to see that Russia cannot afford to end the war.

The presentation of fundamental disagreements within Putin’s inner circle and challenges to his decisions, even if quiet, within the Russian nationalist space risks depicting Putin as weak and not fully in control of his government. The truth or falseness of that presentation is less important than its injection into the audiences on which Putin most relies for continued support in his war. Putin himself may have externalized his own concerns about this break in the façade of his power and of the unanimity of his trusted senior officials in an odd exchange with a teacher on October 5.[3] Putin asked the teacher how he taught his students about the causes of the Pugachev Rebellion that challenged Catherine the Great in the mid-1770s.[4] The teacher, from Izhevsk, one of the towns that Pugachev captured during his revolt, offered answers that did not satisfy Putin, including the observation that the rebellion had occurred because of the appearance of “a leader who could capitalize on a wave of dissatisfaction,” and that the lesson to be drawn from that episode of history was “that it is necessary to respect the views of other members of society.” Putin offered his own answer: “The leader [Pugachev] claimed to be tsar. And how did that arise? Why was that possible?…Because of the element of weakening of the central power.”[5] The exchange was bizarre and fascinating since there is no reason Pugachev’s Rebellion should have been on Putin’s mind at this time, nor any reason for him to worry about someone else “claiming to be tsar.”—unless, of course, Putin himself perceives a weakening of the central power, i.e., himself.[6]

Kadyrov and Prigozhin will likely attempt to make minor ground advances in Donetsk Oblast to maintain their prominence and reputation in the nationalist and proxy information spaces. Russian forces have been making incremental advances around Bakhmut and Avdiivka between October 6 and October 7, likely with the support of Wagner and Kadyrov’s elements in the area. Some milbloggers and Ukrainian officials reported that Prigozhin committed 1,000 of his troops to strengthen positions in Lysychansk to secure Russian frontlines following the collapse of the Lyman frontline.[7] Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Denis Pushilin even awarded Kadyrov the title of hero of the DNR.[8] The claims about Kadyrov and Prigozhin making gains and preparing to save the day coincides with Kremlin efforts to improve the reputation of the Commander of the Central Military District, Colonel-General Alexander Lapin whom they both attacked earlier.[9] Milbloggers even reported meeting Lapin, who is now reportedly commanding the Svatove-Kreminna frontline in Luhansk Oblast.[10]

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have waited to announce that he had replaced Eastern Military District (EMD) Commander Aleksandr Chaiko until Putin could use Chaiko as a scapegoat for Russian military failures in Kharkiv and Lyman. Russian media reported on October 7 that Putin replaced Chaiko with Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov. Chaiko is the second military district commander to be replaced since the Russian lines in Kharkiv collapsed—Putin replaced the Western Military District commander on October 3, as ISW previously reported.[11] Oddly, Russian milbloggers first reported that Muradov had replaced Chaiko on September 4, but the Kremlin has yet to formally confirm the appointment.[12] State-run and independent media outlets quoted the governor of Dagestan congratulating Muradov on his appointment and cited an entry in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities to confirm the replacement.[13] Muradov had previously commanded the eastern grouping of Russian forces in Ukraine, which is likely comprised of elements of the EMD, as of July.[14]

Key Takeaways

  • Western and Russian reports of fractures within the Kremlin are gaining traction within the Russian information space, undermining the appearance of stability of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin may have waited to announce that he had replaced Eastern Military District (EMD) Commander Aleksandr Chaiko until he needed to use Chaiko as a scapegoat for Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast and Lyman, Donetsk Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces likely continued counteroffensive operations along the Kreminna-Svatove road in western Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued to establish defensive positions in northern Kherson Oblast, and Ukrainian and Russian sources reported ongoing battles north and northwest of Kherson City.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Anecdotal reports of poor conditions for mobilized personnel in the Russian information space are continuing to fuel the accurate narrative of Kremlin and Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) incompetence.
  • Russian officials offered basic concessions for mobilized men and their families on October 7 but continue to rely on local governments and other non-federal institutions to provide support, including food and training, to newly mobilized men.
  • Russian occupation authorities in Donetsk Oblast are continuing to forcibly mobilize Ukrainian civilians, belying Russian claims that residents of newly-annexed territories will not be mobilized.
  • Ukrainian officials in newly liberated Kharkiv Oblast continue to uncover Russian torture chambers and other human rights abuses.
  • Russian occupation officials have likely failed to repair necessary civilian infrastructure in occupied and illegally-annexed parts of Ukraine in time for winter as temperatures drop.

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