Russo Ukrainian War. Day 234: Ukraine to find a solution to keep Starlinks working

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Russian troops conducted limited ground attacks west of Kreminna and in northwestern Kherson Oblast in order to regain lost positions, and ground attacks around Bakhmut and Donetsk City. Ukrainian strikes against Russian rear logistics lines in southern Donetsk Oblast reported. Russian occupation authorities are continuing to consolidate control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant through strengthened security measures amid negotiations to establish a nuclear safety and protective zone at the plant. Ukrainian forces liberate 1,620 settlements from Russian invaders. Explosions in Belgorod reported; substation on fire. Microsoft says Ukraine and Poland were targeted with a novel ransomware attack. Putin claims mobilization in Russian Federation to be over soon. UN calls on Russia to grant the Red Cross access to Ukrainian POWs. Putin threatens to disrupt the “grain agreement” again, mentioning “terrorist attacks” and “explosive device from Odesa” used to attack Crimean Bridge.  Back-up power to Zaporizhzhia NPP restored. Occupiers hit Zaporizhzhia with ten S-300 missiles. Ukraine to find a solution to keep Starlinks working, said Office of President.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 15

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 15, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

Situation in Ukraine. October 14, 2022. Source ISW ~

Situation in Ukraine. October 14, 2022. Source ISW

Show the Content

“The aggressor continues to focus his efforts on attempts to reach the administrative border of Donetsk oblast, as well as holding captured districts of Kharkiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhzшya, Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts.

Russian forces do not stop striking the critical infrastructure and civilian facilities of our country. During the past day, the infrastructure and civilians of Kharkiv, Kostyantynivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Chumaky, Lebedynske, Zaporizhzhia, Davydiv Brid and Mirne were affected. Dnipropetrovsk oblast and the city of Ochakiv were hit by Iranian attack UAVs. Our defenders managed to shoot down six out of nine.

Russian forces continue to use winged, aviation, anti-aircraft guided missiles and attack UAVs for their crimes.

Over the past 24 hours, the occupiers have launched 6 missile strikes, 30 airstrikes and 48 MLRS attacks.

The situation in the Volyn and Poliske directions has not changed significantly.

[The leadership of the Republic of Belarus continues to assist the Russian Federation in carrying out military aggression on the territory of Ukraine. Thus, according to available information, another echelon with weapons, military equipment and ammunition arrived from Gomel to the temporarily occupied territory of the Republic of Crimea.]

Russian forces fired in other directions:

  • in the Siversky direction – from MLRS, in the area of ​​Rozhkovychi settlement of Sumy oblast. The occupiers also conducted reconnaissance in the area of ​​Bleshnya, Chernihiv oblast, using an unmanned aerial vehicle, which was shot down;
Kharkiv Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Slobozhanskyi direction – from mortars and artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Hatyshche, Vovchanski Khutory, Starytsa and Dvorichne;
Donetsk Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Kramatorsk direction – from mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of Verkhnokamianske, Vyshneve, Hrekivka, Hryhorivka, Zarichne, Kovalivka, Makiivka, Nadiya, Novovodyane, Olhivka, Pershotravneve, Rozdolivka, Tabaivka, Terny and Yampolivka settlements;
  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Odradivka, Zelenopillia, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk and New York;
  • in the Avdiivka region – from tanks and artillery, in the areas of Kamianka, Tonenke, Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Vodyane, Opytne, Nevelske, Maryinka and Krasnohorivka settlements.
  • In the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, Russian forces did not conduct offensive actions and continue to engineer defensive lines and positions. Fired mortars, artillery and MLRS on more than twenty districts of populated areas. Among them are Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Zolota Nyva, Vuhledar, Pavlivka, Mykilske and Novodanilivka.
  • in the Pivdennyy Buh direction – more than thirty settlements along the contact line were hit by fire.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

According to available information, a large number of wounded people are being admitted to medical facilities in temporarily occupied territories. So, in one of the hospitals in the city of Donetsk, about 100 wounded people arrived this week. Hospitals are overcrowded in the city of Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia region. According to information from local residents, civilians are not accepted in hospitals due to the workload of doctors and the lack of beds. Due to the low quality of medical care and the refusal of the command of the Russian occupying forces to evacuate the seriously wounded to the territory of Russia, the mortality rate exceeds 50%.

According to the updated information, the destruction of Russian personnel and equipment in the previous days in the Zaporizhzhia oblast was confirmed. Thus, as a result of the effective actions of the Defense Forces in the areas of the settlements of Orihiv, Kinski Rozdory and Tokmak, about 100 occupiers were injured. Among them, more than 25 have just been mobilized. Four S-300 complexes were destroyed in the area of ​​Berdyansk.

[In the temporarily occupied city of Kherson, the occupiers seized 13 out of 15 barge-type watercraft for transporting personnel and equipment across the Dnipro River from the local riverport.]

[In the temporarily occupied territory of the Ukrainian Crimea, the occupying authorities issued an order specifying the procedure for evacuating museums. In particular, internal (within the occupied region) and external (to the territory of the Russian Federation) evacuation plans have been approved for the museums of the temporarily occupied region. Exhibits with the greatest material value are subject to priority evacuation.]

[According to detailed information, the destruction of a significant number of enemy personnel in the previous days has been confirmed. Thus, as a result of the effective actions of the Defence Forces in the areas of the settlements of Khlibodarivka of the Donetsk oblast, Tokmak of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, and Tokarivka of the Kherson oblast, the occupiers lost up to 150 people dead and about 100 wounded. Three S-300 complexes were also destroyed and up to 10 units of other weapons and military equipment.]

[According to preliminary information, in the area of ​​the railway station in the city of Antratsyt, Luhansk oblast, our soldiers destroyed a significant part of Russian weapons and military equipment transported by rail. The number and nature of injuries are being clarified.]

The Defence Forces successfully repelled enemy attacks in the Donetsk oblast. In particular, in the areas of the settlements of Berestove, Yakovlivka, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Ivanhrad, Spirne, Nevelske, Maryinka, Bilohorivka, Terny, Novomykhailivka, and Krasnohorivka.

During the past 24 hours, the Air Force of the Defence Forces carried out about 30 strikes. It was confirmed that twenty-five areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, as well as three anti-aircraft missile systems of Russian forces, were destroyed. In addition, our air defence units shot down nine unmanned aerial vehicles.

Missile troops and artillery struck four control points, fifteen areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, twelve warehouses with ammunition, one artillery installation and twenty other important targets during the day.”

Military Updates

Explosions in Belgorod: substation was on fire, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Meduza. “Explosions were heard in some areas; the air defence system was activated. At the same time, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod Oblast of the Russian Federation, said that a 110 kW substation caught fire after the attack on Belgorod.

Explosions thundered in the Russian city of Belgorod [located to the northeast of Ukraine, not far from the Russian-Ukrainian border – ed.] on the evening of 13 October. The local authorities reported that an ammunition storage site had been blown up, and the detonation of ammunition began.”

Microsoft says Ukraine and Poland were targeted with a novel ransomware attack, Reuters reports. “A newly discovered hacking group has attacked transportation and logistics companies in Ukraine and Poland with a novel kind of ransomware, Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday.

The attackers targeted a wide range of systems within an hour on Tuesday, Microsoft said, adding that it hadn’t been able to link the attacks to any known group yet. Notably, however, researchers found that the hacks closely mirrored earlier attacks by a Russian government-linked cyber team that had disrupted Ukraine government agencies.

At midnight, from October 14 to 15, seven air targets were destroyed by the air defense of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “Two are in the south of the country. The “Shahed-136” kamikaze drone and an attack helicopter (type to be specified) were destroyed by anti-aircraft missile units of the “Southern” Air Command of the Air Force.

In the eastern direction, five more Iranian kamikaze drones “Shahed-136” were destroyed by the forces and means of the Air Command “East” of the Air Force.”

Ukrainian forces liberate 1,620 settlements from Russian invaders, Ukrinform reports, citing Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko at a briefing on Friday.

Today is an important holiday – the Day of Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine. The Day of Heroes who are respected by the whole country and whose feats have been heard all over the world. I congratulate everyone who defends Ukraine, and we remember everyone who gave their lives for Ukraine. Thanks to you, 1,620 settlements have already been liberated from the Russian invaders, Tymoshenko said.”

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

  • Contingents of mobilised Russian reservists have been deployed to Ukraine over the last two weeks. Their average level of personal equipment is almost certainly lower than the already poor provision of previously deployed troops.
  • Many reservists are likely required to purchase their own body armour, especially the modern 6B45 vest, which is meant to be on general issue to combat units as part of the Ratnik personal equipment programme. This vest has been selling on Russian online shopping sites for 40,000 roubles (approx. USD $640), up from around 12,000 roubles (appox. USD $190) in April.
  • In 2020, the Russian authorities announced that 300,000 sets of Ratnik body armour had been supplied to the Russian military, which was ample to equip the force currently deployed in Ukraine. Endemic corruption and poor logistics remain one of the underlying causes of Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine.
  • In the last three days, pro-Russian forces have made tactical advances towards the centre of the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. Elements of 2nd Army Corps, the pro-Russia militia of the Luhansk region, likely advanced into the villages of Opytine and Ivangrad to the south of the town.
  • There have been few, if any, other settlements seized by regular Russian or separatist forces since early July. However, forces led by the private military company Wagner Group have achieved some localised gains in the Donbas: Wagner likely remains heavily involved in the Bakhmut fighting.
  • Russia likely views seizing Bakhmut as a preliminary to advancing on the Kramatorsk-Sloviansk urban area which is the most significant population centre of Donetsk Oblast held by Ukraine. Russia continues to prosecute offensive operations in central Donbas and is, very slowly, making progress. However, its overall operational design is undermined by the Ukrainian pressure against its northern and southern flanks, and by severe shortages of munitions and manpower.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Saturday 15 October, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 64700 (+400),
  • Tanks – 2524 (+3),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5179 (+7),
  • Artillery systems – 1582 (+16),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 365 (+3),
  • Air defence means – 186 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 268 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 242 (+2),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3951 (+7),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1210 (+11),
  • Special equipment – 142 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 316 (+0)

Danilov: Russia used two-thirds of high-precision missiles it had on Feb. 24, Kyiv Post reports. “There’s only 25-28% of the high-precision missiles left out of the total amount Russia had before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksii Danilov told NV, referring to Ukraine’s intelligence data. 

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 234: Ukraine to find a solution to keep Starlinks working ~~

Danilov added that the time when Russia wouldn’t be able to use those missiles is already approaching. For Russia to keep up with its mass attacks – like on Oct. 10 – it would have to increase its missile production by more than 20%, which is problematic for them due to the sanctions and “bottleneck with skilled labour,” the Kyiv Independent reported, citing the Center for European Policy Analysis.”

Mobilized Russians as “cannon fodder” create essential pressure on defenders – Zelenskyy, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the President’s evening video address. “Now Russia is throwing thousands of its mobilised men to the front. They have no significant military training, but their command does not need it at all. They expect that the mobilised Russians will be able to survive the war for at least a few weeks, then die, and then they will send the new ones to the front.

But during this time, such use by Russian generals of their people as “cannon fodder” makes it possible to create additional pressure on our defenders. It’s an essential pressure. And I am grateful to all our soldiers who endure it. I am also grateful to the partners who understand that in such conditions we need an increase in defence assistance.”

Putin claims mobilization in Russian Federation to be over soon, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “At the moment, 222,000 people have been enlisted out of 300,000 planned. I think that within two weeks, all conscription activities will be completed. According to Putin, partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation is coming to an end, and the general conscription is not planned.”

Humanitarian 

UN calls on Russia to grant ICRC access to Ukrainian POWs, Ukrinform reports. “The United Nations has called on Russia to provide the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all Ukrainian military held in captivity. That’s according to a statement by UN Secretary-General spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to the Russian Federation that the International Committee of the Red Cross be granted full access to all Prisoners of War, in accordance with international humanitarian law, including the Third Geneva Convention, Dujarric tweeted.”

Russia carried out over 600 attacks on Ukrainian health care – WHO, Ukrinform reports, citing CNN. “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Russian Federation has carried out 620 attacks on health services in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion began. According to [Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe}, key priorities for WHO include the health needs of those in Ukraine and anticipating and preparing for challenges winter will bring, he said.

Wintertime challenges, and the recent escalation in fighting, could add to significant internal displacement with an anticipated two to three million people on the move in Ukraine itself as well as another exodus of refugees to surrounding countries, he said. 

In addition, according to Kluge, mental health issues, another priority for WHO, will likely be “exacerbated.” Ten million people… are potentially at risk of mental disorders, including acute stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, he said, adding that this estimate was made before the recent escalation in Ukraine.”

Putin threatens to disrupt the “grain agreement” again, mentioning “terrorist attacks” and “explosive device from Odesa” used to attack Crimean Bridge, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the further functioning of humanitarian corridors for the grain export from Ukraine will be questioned, in case it turns out that these corridors are “used for terrorist attacks”.

In case it turns out that the humanitarian corridors are used for terrorist acts, then this will, of course, put the further functioning of the grain corridor into question. We will close the case, but we must first find out the circumstances precisely, he added.

Previously, Russia sent the UN a list of demands; if these were not met, it threatened to quit the agreement on the export of grain from the Black Sea, the validity of which expires in November 2022.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1580908717330952192

Environmental 

IAEA: Back-up power to Zaporizhzhia NPP restored, Ukrinform reports. “Ukrainian engineers have managed to restore backup power to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), a much-needed development after the plant twice over the past week lost all access to external electricity,” reads the statement by the IAEA Director General.

The ZNPP received additional fuel supplies for its 20 diesel generators, following the arrival of seven trucks. The plant currently has fuel for at least ten days operation of diesel should external power be lost, says the statement.

The IAEA team also said further preparatory activities to restart reactor unit 5 were continuing, and that work to also restart unit 6 was expected to get underway tomorrow. Restart will take a number of days

Norway inspects subsea gas pipeline after Nord Stream blasts, Swissinfo reports. “Norway has deployed a specialist vessel to inspect a subsea gas pipeline to Germany because of safety concerns after suspected sabotage last month on two Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Germany, according to sources and data.

Norway, Europe’s largest gas supplier, last week put its energy sector on high alert, deploying its navy and air force to patrol offshore facilities and placing soldiers at onshore gas processing plants after the Sept. 26 Nord Stream blasts.”

British frigate in the North Sea to protect pipelines, ukdj reported on 3 October.  “A Royal Navy Type 23 frigate is in the North Sea as part of efforts to protect underwater infrastructure following attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines. HMS Somerset is working with the Norwegian Navy to reassure those working near the gas pipelines.”

Norwegian police investigate drone sighting, Reuters reports. “[Norwegian] police on Friday investigated reports of a drone flying over the Kaarstoe gas plant in southwest Norway on Thursday, while in Arctic Norway a Russian-Israeli citizen was arrested when police found two drones in his car.

The Norwegian military Home Guard has been posted at Kaarstoe and other major energy export facilities since authorities boosted security at Norwegian oil and gas installations after the Sept. 26 Nord Stream leaks.

Even before the Nord Stream incidents Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) had warned energy companies to be vigilant for unidentified drones. Norway is now Europe’s largest gas supplier after a sharp reduction in flows from Russia.

In a sign of the state of high alert over energy security, police on Thursday responded to a threat made by telephone against the Nyhamna gas plant, which alongside Kaarstoe and a handful of other Norwegian sites rank among Europe’s largest energy export facilities.

On 26 September, “Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) urged oil companies to be more vigilant over unidentified drones seen flying near Norwegian offshore oil and gas platforms, warning they could pose a risk of accidents or deliberate attacks. The warning came after the country’s largest oil and gas firm Equinor recently said it had notified authorities of sightings of drones of unknown origin flying near some of its platforms.”

Legal 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1580969858095001600

Ukraine completes exhumation of soldiers at Lyman mass grave, Reuters reports. “Ukrainian investigators have completed the exhumation of soldiers in one of two mass graves discovered after Russian troops retreated from the town of Lyman in eastern Donetsk region, police said on Friday. Police have removed the bodies of 34 Ukrainian defenders from the mass grave,” Donetsk regional police said in a statement. Work continues at a second location where more than 120 civilians are buried. The fate of each person who died will be determined.”

Since Sept. 29, Donetsk police said they had found the bodies of 144 people, 85 of them civilians, with 108 exhumed from makeshift graves, and the rest found in buildings or on the streets. Most of the dead — 85 — are civilians, they said. Some of them have signs of violent death, in particular shrapnel injuries.

Ukraine’s top prosecutor told a joint news conference with International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan in The Hague on Thursday that Ukraine had 28 investigative teams on the ground in areas recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said retreating Russian troops had left evidence of illegal detention and torture of civilians and deportations. Khan, who opened an ICC investigation in March, would not be drawn on when his office might file its first case, saying he would move forward “when the evidence is sufficient“.

Occupiers hit Zaporizhzhia with ten S-300 missiles, Ukrinform reports, citing Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration. “The enemy launched four drone strikes on Zaporizhzhia at night and hit the city with ten S-300 missiles in the morning. A Shahed-136 UAV attack on Zaporizhzhia damaged infrastructure facilities. Fires broke out, but our rescuers contained them on time. There are no casualties, Starukh wrote.

In the morning, the occupiers hit the regional center with ten missiles. A number of energy and industrial infrastructure facilities were damaged.”

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 234: Ukraine to find a solution to keep Starlinks working ~~

423 children were killed, 810 children injured, 8,140 deported by foe forces, and 244 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of October 15. 2,614 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 313 of them are destroyed fully. 40,040 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 17,694 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Ukraine to find solution to keep Starlinks working – Office of President, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President, has said that Ukraine will find a solution for Starlink satellite communication services to continue working in Ukraine.

Let’s be honest. Like it or not, Elon Musk helped us survive the most critical moments of war. Business has the right to their own strategies. Ukraine will find a solution to keep Starlink working. We expect that the company will provide stable communication till the end of negotiations.”

First NASAMS from the US to Be Delivered this Month – Reznikov, European Pravda reports. “The United States of America will hand over to Ukraine the first few NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems this month. The Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, revealed it at the nationwide telethon, as “Interfax-Ukraine” reports.

There is a US decision to supply us with the well-known NASAMS system: the first few systems. Our specialists are already being trained. The systems will be delivered this month, Reznikov said.”

The US is to send munitions and military vehicles to Ukraine in the latest aid package, Reuters reports. “The United States will send munitions and military vehicles to Ukraine as part of a new $725 million security assistance package aimed at bolstering the country’s defence against the Russian invasion, the Defense Department said on Friday.

The package is the first since Russia’s barrage of missiles fired on civilian population centers in Ukraine this week. It will bring the total of US security assistance since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 to more than $17.5 billion.

This new security assistance package includes:

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 23,000 155mm artillery rounds;
  • 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds;
  • 5,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems;
  • 5,000 anti-tank weapons;
  • High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);
  • More than 200 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);
  • Small arms and more than 2,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;
  • Medical supplies.

New Developments 

  1. Putin says he sees no need for talks with Biden, ReutersRussian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he saw “no need” for talks with US President Joe Biden. Speaking at a news conference in the Kazakh capital Astana, Putin said that he had not yet taken a decision on attending a Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia next month.”
  2. Putin wants to offer Ukraine a pause to prepare for a new offensive, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Meduza. “Moscow is again promoting the idea of negotiations with Kyiv, but Vladimir Putin is not going to give up on the continuation of the war, and hopes to use the desired “ceasefire” regime to prepare for a new offensive in February-March 2023.”
  3. Putin claims he did not plan to destroy Ukraine, Ukrainska PravdaRussian President Vladimir Putin has stated that he had no intention of destroying Ukraine. This is how Putin answered the question of whether Ukraine would be able to exist as an independent state in the future. […] The Kremlin repeatedly announced that all the goals of the war with Ukraine would be achieved; however, it usually avoids answering questions about what exactly these goals are.”
  4. Belarusian president initiates covert mobilisation, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Nasha Niva, a Belarusian newspaper. “Belarusian media have reported that Aleksander Lukashenko, the self-proclaimed president of the Republic of Belarus, has initiated covert mobilisation in his country. The decision to conduct a mobilisation campaign in Belarus has been approved. It will be disguised as a combat capability inspection.”
  5. Belarus introduces “counter-terrorist operation” regime, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Izvestia. “Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that Belarus has introduced a “counter-terrorist operation” regime, allegedly to respond to threats from neighbouring countries. [He claimed that] there was information that some neighbouring states were planning provocations on, pretty much, the seizure of certain sections of the territory of Belarus.”
  6. The US warns of sanctions against suppliers of ammunition to Russia, ReutersThe United States on Friday warned it can impose sanctions on people, countries and companies that provide ammunition to Russia or support its military-industrial complex, as Washington seeks to increase pressure on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.”
  7. Italy lower house elects pro-Putin right-winger as speaker, ReutersA pro-Russia, anti-gay politician was elected speaker of Italy’s lower house of parliament on Friday, a day after a nationalist lawmaker who collects fascist memorabilia became speaker of the Senate.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 14 October, 2022:

Russian President Vladimir Putin likely attempted to make a virtue of necessity by announcing that his “partial” mobilization will end in “about two weeks”—the same time the postponed fall conscription cycle is set to begin. Putin told reporters on October 14 that “nothing additional is planned” and that “partial mobilization is almost over.” As ISW previously reported, Putin announced the postponement of Russia’s usual autumn conscription cycle from October 1 to November 1 on September 30, likely because Russia’s partial mobilization is taxing the bureaucracy of the Russian military commissariats that oversee the semiannual conscription cycle. Putin therefore likely needs to pause or end his partial mobilization to free up bureaucratic resources for conscription. Putin ordered the conscription of 120,000 men for the autumn cycle, 7,000 fewer than in autumn 2021. However, Russia’s annexation of occupied Ukraine changes the calculus for conscripts. Russian law generally prohibits the deployment of conscripts abroad. Russian law now considers Russian-occupied Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts to be Russian territory, however, ostensibly legalizing the use of conscripts on the front lines.

Putin may intend for mobilized personnel to plug gaps in Russia’s frontlines long enough for the autumn conscripts to receive some training and form additional units to improve Russian combat power in 2023. Putin confirmed on October 14 that mobilized personnel are receiving little training before they are sent to the frontlines. Putin announced that of the 220,000 people who have been mobilized since his September 21 order, 35,000 are already in Russian military units and 16,000 are already in units “involved in combat missions.” Putin also outlined the training these mobilized forces allegedly receive: 5-10 days of “initial training,” 5-15 days of training with combat units, “then the next stage is already directly in the troops taking part in hostilities.” This statement corroborates dozens of anecdotal reports from Russian outlets, milbloggers, and mobilized personnel of untrained, unequipped, and utterly unprepared men being rushed to the frontlines, where some have already surrendered to Ukrainian forces and others have been killed. Even the 10 days of training that mobilized personnel may receive likely does not consist of actual combat preparation for most units; anecdotal reports suggest that men in some units wandered around training grounds without commanding officers, food, or shelter for several days before being shipped to Ukraine. Many would-be trainers and officers were likely injured or killed in Ukraine before mobilization began. Russian training grounds are also likely understaffed, a problem that will likely persist into the autumn conscription cycle. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on October 14 that Russian military officials in Krasnodar Krai suspended sending mobilized persons to the training grounds in Primorsko-Akhtarsk until November 1 because Russian training grounds are not ready to accommodate, train or comprehensively provide for a large number of personnel.

Ukrainian and Western officials continue to reiterate that they have observed no indicators of preparations for a Belarusian invasion of Ukraine, despite alarmist reports in the Belarusian information space that President Alexander Lukashenko has introduced a “counter-terrorist operation” regime. ]…] This claim was amplified by several Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian sources, who claimed that as part of the ”counter-terrorist operation regime,” Lukashenko began deploying groups of Belarusian forces supplemented by Russian troops. Belarusian opposition outlet Nasha Niva claimed that as part of this regime, Belarusian forces are conducting covert mobilization under the guise of combat readiness checks. However, Lukashenko emphasized in a comment to the press that there has been no introduction of a ”counter-terrorist operation regime” and that he has instead introduced a ”regime of a heightened terrorist threat.”

Despite the contradicting claims of an escalated preparatory regime in Belarus, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told Voice of America that there are no indicators that Belarusian troops are preparing to enter Ukraine. ISW continues to assess that joint Belarusian and Russian forces will not invade Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. Russian forces continue to attrit their own combat capabilities as they impale themselves on attempts to capture tiny villages in Donbas and simply do not have the combat-effective mechanized troops available to supplement a Belarusian incursion into northern Ukraine and certainly not to conduct a mechanized drive on Kyiv. As ISW has previously reported, Lukashenko remains unlikely to enter the war on Russia’s behalf due to the domestic risks this would pose for the continued viability of his regime, as well as the low quality of Belarusian Armed Forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin is more likely weaponizing concerns over Belarusian involvement in the war to pin Ukrainian troops against the northern Ukraine-Belarus border.

Russian authorities are continuing to engage in “Russification” social programming schemes that target Ukrainian children. A local news outlet from Russia’s Novosibirsk Oblast reported on October 13 that 24 orphans from Luhansk Oblast arrived in Novosibirsk for placement with Russian foster families. Ukrainian Mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov similarly reported that Russian occupation authorities in Melitopol and other occupied regions are deporting Ukrainian children to Russian-occupied Crimea, Krasnodar Krai, and Tula and Volgograd Oblasts under the guise of “children’s trips” and “further education” programs. As ISW has previously reported, such forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia and Russian-occupied territory may constitute violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Occupation authorities in Russian-occupied Mariupol are also reportedly pressuring Ukrainian teenagers to join the “Youth Guard,” a children’s paramilitary organization that encourages anti-Ukrainian sentiments. Mariupol Mayoral Advisor Petro Andryushchenko reported on October 14 that uniformed members of the Youth Guard visited a Ukrainian school and gave children one week to consider joining the group. The coerced engagement of Ukrainian children in youth militarization programs fits into wider Russification schemes intended to erase Ukrainian identity in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on October 14 that there is currently no additional need for further massive strikes against Ukraine. Putin claimed that Russian forces struck 22 of their 29 intended targets and that there are now unspecified “other tasks” for Russian forces to accomplish. Putin’s statement was likely aimed at mitigating informational backlash among pro-war milbloggers who oppose curtailing the costly missile campaign; Russian milbloggers had largely praised the resumption of strikes against Ukrainian cities but warned that a short campaign would be ineffective. Putin’s statement supports ISW’s previous assessment that Putin knew he would not be able to sustain high-intensity missiles strikes for a long time due to a dwindling arsenal of high-precision missiles. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov claimed on October 14 that Russian forces have 609 high-precision missiles left from the pre-war stockpile of 1,844. […] The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on October 14 that Russian forces targeted Ukrainian command and control elements and energy infrastructure in Kyiv and Kharkiv oblasts with sea-based missiles. […]

A prominent Russian milblogger accused unspecified senior officials within the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) of preparing to censor Russian milbloggers on October 14. Prominent Russian milblogger Semyon Pegov (employed by Telegram channel WarGonzo) accused “individual generals and military commanders” of developing a “hitlist” of Russian milbloggers that the MoD seeks to criminally prosecute for “discrediting” the Russian MoD’s activity and the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. Russian news aggregator Mash reported on October 14 that Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov personally signed an order instructing Russian state media censor Roskomnadzor to investigate prominent Russian milbloggers Igor Girkin (also known as Igor Strelkov), Semyon Pegov (WarGonzo), Yuri Podoliaka, Vladlen Tatarsky, Sergey Mardan, Igor Dimitriev, Kristina Potupchik, and authors of the Telegram channels GreyZone and Rybar. […]  The situation will likely become clearer in the coming days. A key indicator for the status of a crackdown on Russian milbloggers will be any status update from former Russian militant commander and nationalist milblogger Igor Girkin. Girkin has not posted since October 10—a significant change in his behavior given that he usually posts multiple times daily.

There has been no official confirmation of an investigation or prosecution of these milbloggers as of October 14. Senior Russian propagandist and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan responded to Pegov’s claim on October 14 and implied that prosecuting military bloggers is not only a bad idea but impossible to implement. Many milbloggers expressed outrage at the prospect that elements of the Russian government would seek to censor ardent patriots who seek to hold the MoD accountable and expressed hopes that ”rumors” about the milblogger hitlist are untrue. The interests of the Kremlin do not intrinsically align with the MoD in this situation: Putin has overtly courted the support of the milblogger community in recent months, as ISW has extensively covered, and has used the milbloggers to frame senior MoD officials and the MoD as a whole as possible scapegoats for military failures in Ukraine. Nor did the milbloggers blame the Kremlin for the alleged hitlist; Pegov emphasized that this sort of alleged censorship was likely not Putin’s intention when he opened dialogue with milbloggers in June and called for reporters and journalists to tell the truth about the “special military operation.”

Key Takeaways

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his “partial” mobilization will end in “about two weeks”—likely to free up bureaucratic bandwidth for the normal autumn conscription cycle that will begin on November 1.
  • Putin may intend for mobilized personnel to plug gaps in Russia’s frontlines long enough for the autumn conscripts to receive some training and form additional units to improve Russian combat power in 2023.
  • Ukrainian and Western officials continue to reiterate that they have observed no indicators of preparations for a Belarusian invasion of Ukraine, despite alarmist reports in the Belarusian information space that President Alexander Lukashenko has introduced a “counter-terrorist operation” regime.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on October 14 that there is currently no additional need for further massive strikes against Ukraine.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to engage in “Russification” social programming schemes that target Ukrainian children.
  • A prominent Russian milblogger accused unspecified senior officials within the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) of preparing to censor Russian milbloggers on October 14, but there is no official confirmation of an investigation or prosecution of these milbloggers.
  • Russian sources continued to claim that Ukrainian forces are conducting counteroffensive operations in northeast Kharkiv Oblast east of Kupyansk.
  • Russian troops conducted limited ground attacks west of Kreminna in order to regain lost positions.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in northwestern Kherson Oblast in order to regain lost positions.
  • Russian troops continued ground attacks around Bakhmut and Donetsk City.
  • Russian authorities expressed increasing concern over Ukrainian strikes against Russian rear logistics lines in southern Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian occupation authorities are continuing to consolidate control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) through strengthened security measures amid negotiations to establish a nuclear safety and protective zone at the plant.

Russian officials continued to brand their movement of populations out of Kherson Oblast as recreational “humanitarian trips” rather than evacuations.

Putin wants to offer Ukraine a pause to prepare for a new offensive, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Meduza. “Moscow is again promoting the idea of negotiations with Kyiv, but Vladimir Putin is not going to give up on the continuation of the war, and hopes to use the desired “ceasefire” regime to prepare for a new offensive in February-March 2023.

In the last few weeks, representatives of the Russian government have been increasingly talking about negotiations with Ukraine or Western countries. Meduza writes that Vladimir Putin is indeed thinking about resuming negotiations, despite Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s refusal to negotiate with him after the annexation of 4 Ukrainian oblasts. However, the news agency indicates, Putin wants Russia to retain control over the territories in Donbas, and he “does not want to discuss Crimea[n issue] at all”. According to three Meduza’s sources close to the Kremlin, these positions have not changed.

Nevertheless, according to Meduza’s interlocutors, the Russian authorities have developed a new “tactical option”. It does not involve the conclusion of a full-fledged peace treaty, but the implementation of a temporary ceasefire regime. […] According to Meduza sources close to the Kremlin, probably for the sake of this agreement, the Russian authorities are ready to withdraw troops from at least part of the occupied territory of the Kherson Oblast. At the same time, one of Meduza’s sources that was close to the Kremlin admitted: Now it is very difficult to hold Kherson, and the withdrawal of troops from the Oblast can be done as a gesture of goodwill and a step towards Ukraine.

Currently, the Kremlin is trying to “influence Western leaders” and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, so that they would “convince” Ukraine to get back to negotiations with Russia. Meduza’s sources say that in these conversations with the leaders of other countries, Russian representatives give a simple argument: it is necessary to avoid casualties among the civilian population. […]

Meduza’s sources emphasised that Vladimir Putin is not going to give up the continuation of the war – and hopes to use the possible ceasefire to prepare for a new offensive.”

Belarus announces Russian military is to arrive any day, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ministry of Defence of Belarus and Colonel Viktor Tumar, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian Armed Forces for scientific work. “Currently, the decision to create a regional grouping of troops is implemented so as to strengthen the protection and defence of the state border of the Republic of Belarus, in order to reduce military activity in the border areas [of Belarus].

In the next few days, the troops of the Russian part of the Regional Group of Forces will begin to arrive on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Planned measures of combat training will be carried out with [the Russian troops], aimed at increasing the level of performance of tasks for the defence of the Union State.

Lukashenko reveals what joint grouping of troops with Russian Federation would be like, and number of Russians in it, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax. “You know our army: it is an estimated 70,000 people. This is the core. Well, I think that there is no need to demand 10-15,000 more from Russia now, there are enough other problems there. You know what they are. Therefore, we will rely on that at the moment. We’re training the guys, [President Lukashenko said].”

Russian government wants Crimean Bridge repaired by July, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “The Russian government has ordered that the Crimean Bridge be rebuilt no later than 1 July 2023. Nizhneangarsktransstroy [a construction company in Irkutsk — ed.] will carry out the works.”

Despite Its Barrage of Missiles, Russia Still Loses Ground in Ukraine, The New York Times reports. “They use their expensive rockets for nothing, just to frighten people, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament said of Russian attacks on the country’s cities and infrastructure. […]. Throughout this week, the Russian military fired its most intensive barrage of missiles at Ukraine since the start of the war in February, killing three dozen civilians, knocking out electricity and overwhelming air defenses. One thing the missiles did not do was change the course of the ground war.

Fought mostly in trenches, with the most intense combat now in an area of rolling hills and pine forests in the east and on the open plains in the south, these battles are where control of territory is decided — and where Russia’s military continued to lose ground, despite its missile strikes.

They use their expensive rockets for nothing, just to frighten people, Volodymyr Ariev, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament, said of the Russian cruise missiles, rockets and self-destructing drones used in the strikes. They think they can scare Ukrainians. But the goal they achieved is only making us angrier.

The war in the country’s south and east continued apace through the strikes, with Russia mostly falling back, though it was attacking along one section of the front in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved on Friday to reassure his country that it was making progress getting fresh troops to the front, saying that 16,000 draftees had recently been deployed “in units that get involved in fulfilling combat tasks.” He made the remarks as pro-war bloggers intensified their criticism over the reported deaths of new recruits fighting in Ukraine.

Still, during the most intensive days of Russian missile strikes — on Monday and Tuesday — the Ukrainian army continued its offensive in the Kherson region, reclaiming five villages over the two days, according to the military command. The Ukrainian army also liberated a village in the east amid the strikes.[…]

The war is now separated into two largely unconnected arenas: The battles in the sky, in which Russia seeks to demoralize Ukrainians and cripple their economy with cruise missiles and drones by destroying heating, electricity and water infrastructure as winter sets in, and the battles on the ground, in which Ukraine continues to advance against Russian forces in two areas of the front line. […]

“The enemy is not halting strikes on critical infrastructure and civilian objects,” [the Ukrainian General Staff] said, listing 88 strikes. The strikes have refocused Ukrainians’ attention on the war in cities where a sense of normalcy had been returning, including Kyiv. […]”

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

IMF countries strengthen calls to end Ukraine war, Russia blocks communique, Reuters reports. “International Monetary Fund member countries on Friday issued a near-unanimous call for Russia to end its war in Ukraine, the IMF’s steering committee chair said, calling the conflict the single biggest factor fueling inflation and slowing the global economy.

But Nadia Calvino, Spain’s economy minister, told a news conference that Russia again blocked consensus on issuing a joint communique during a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Calvino said the call for an end to the war was stronger than at IMF and World Bank meetings in April as the conflict causes food and energy insecurity, rising prices and financial stability risks. “It is very clear for just on a human level, practical level, objective level — Stop the war. Stop the war,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. This is the most straightforward way to get the world economy in better shape. Stop the war.”

Indicators point to hard winter for Germany – economy ministry, Reuters reports. “The German economy is facing a difficult winter based on the current economic indicators, the Economy Ministry warned on Friday in its monthly report. It pointed to the government’s fall projection, which forecasts three negative quarters in a row beginning with the third quarter of 2022.”

IKEA announces 10,000 layoffs in Russia, The Moscow Times reports. “Swedish furniture giant IKEA announced that it would be making around 10,000 of its remaining Russian staff redundant on Thursday, despite posting a 6% rise in full-year sales in what it described as a “challenging” year due to inflation and scaling back in Russia.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, IKEA closed its 17 outlets in Russia and halted production in the country, where it was one of the largest Western employers before the war with 15,000 employees.”

Hans Petter Midttun: Two days ago, the EU Parliamentary Assembly adopted the resolution “Further escalation in the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine”.

“Eight months have elapsed since the Russian Federation launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. This brutal and inhumane aggression is provoking immense suffering, destruction and displacement, to a level unseen in Europe since the Second World War. This aggression must be unequivocally condemned as a crime in itself, as a violation of international law and as a major threat to international peace and security. In the past few weeks, the Russian Federation has taken political, military and rhetorical steps which indicate a further escalation of the aggression.

Given the unprecedented gravity of the Russian Federation’s aggression as a threat to international peace and security, the rules-based international order, international law and the most basic values which are the foundation of the Council of Europe, the Assembly appeals to the Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member States to gather in the fourth Summit in the history of the Organisation and put the issue of accountability of the Russian Federation, as well as support to Ukraine, high on the agenda of the Summit.”

IMF is only the last of many that have highlighted the increasing costs and far-reaching consequences of the Russian aggressive foreign policy.

On 6 May I wrote “We – Ukraine and the international community – do not have the time for Ukraine to build the military capacities needed to end the war on its – and therefore, our – terms. It does not make sense to sit “idle” waiting for the tsunami of consequences to increase in scale to a point where it will cause political, economic and geopolitical chain reactions that will be impossible to predict and difficult to control”.

This is one of the reasons I have relentlessly argued in favour of humanitarian intervention in Ukraine.

Firstly, it is a question of integrity. If the world’s biggest military alliance, based on common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, will not defend the basis for our security and stability, who will?

Secondly, because it was in line with NATO’s strategic concepts from 2010, and the logic is more relevant than ever: a just and lasting peaceful order in Europe is put at risk by Russian aggressions in the periphery of the Alliance.

Thirdly, a potential Russian victory would undermine European security and stability even more than its present hybrid war against Ukraine, NATO and the EU.

Fourthly, because we must start taking Russia seriously and acting upon its threats and actions, Russia defined NATO as a threat already in 2014. It claims that the West is waging an information war, economic war, war of proxy and total war against Russia. The sanctions are seen as an act of aggression. Having waged a hybrid war against the West itself for years, it delivered an ultimatum to both the US and the Alliance in December 2021. To continue to refer to the war as just a war between Russia and Ukraine undermines our credibility. It is already a broader confrontation between Russia and NATO. Even the EU has acknowledged the threat. This argument is becoming increasingly relevant as gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea are sabotaged and the threat against gas pipelines in the North Sea increases.

Fifthly, because the West is running out of weapons it can supply Ukraine which it can use with no or limited training. We must soon start providing it with both the weapons as well as the personnel needed to operate them efficiently.

Last but not least, humanitarian intervention is needed to avoid the “tsunami of ripple effects” of the war and its major global consequences. This includes increased costs of living, food and energy insecurity, increased famine, recession, and more. This increases the likelihood of social unrest, increased extremism, riots, and the fall of governments. The political landscape in the USA and Europe will – as in the 1930s – most likely be changed by political forces seeking to exploit the voters’ frustration.

It also includes the potential fallout of a war being fought between Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power plants. Multiple incidents over artillery and missile impacts in the near vicinity of several NPPs serve as testimonies to the tremendous risk the European continent is exposed to. The longer the war lasts, the higher the risk of another (but bigger) Chornobyl catastrophe.

Nadia Calvino, Spain’s economy minister, said that the call for an end to the war was stronger than at IMF and World Bank meetings in April as the conflict causes food and energy insecurity, rising prices and financial stability risks.

“It is very clear for just on a human level, practical level, objective level — Stop the war. Stop the war,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. This is the most straightforward way to get the world economy in better shape. Stop the war.”

It’s abundantly clear that Russia is not going to stop the war before defeat is imminent. Ukraine is fighting for its existence and cannot stop the war before Russia is defeated. The only ones who can respond to the IMF call to “Stop the war” are NATO or a coalition of the willing based on its key members.

Ironically, it could create the “off-ramp” Putin needs to withdraw: Facing the world’s strongest military alliance – and recognising the military defeats it has already suffered in Ukraine, the costs of the so-called “special military operation” and the risks to the foundation of the Russian Federation – President Putin can demonstrate “statesmanship” to avoid the “war escalating into a broader confrontation”. The direct involvement of NATO can give him a way out. A defeat by Ukraine will be unacceptable and impossible to “sell” to the domestic audience.

IMF is in essence joining the calls for humanitarian intervention. Close the sky. Break the maritime embargo. Forward deploy Land Forces to Ukraine.

The West must re-establish the initiative.  It is time to escalate to de-escalate and end the war.

Ukraine needs independent journalism. And we need you. Join our community on Patreon and help us better connect Ukraine to the world. We’ll use your contribution to attract new authors, upgrade our website, and optimize its SEO. For as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

Tags: