Russo Ukrainian War. Day 235: In Russia, the first funerals of recently mobilized reported

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

The Russian troops attempt to reach the administrative border of Donetsk oblast and are holding captured territories of Kharkiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, and Kherson Oblasts. Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast and continued counterattacks west of Kreminna. Ukrainian troops launched a general counteroffensive in northern Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces likely struck Russian military assets situated along Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and southern Donetsk Oblast. Russia may have signed a new contract with Iran for the supply of Arash-2 drones. Kyiv is partially covered by an anti-drone dome protecting especially important objects. An energy infrastructure facility seriously damaged in Kyiv. In Russia, the first funerals of recently mobilized Russians reported. The total losses of the Russian army are approaching 65,000.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 16

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 16, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

Situation in Ukraine. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two hundred-thirty-fifth (235) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
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, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts.
Donetsk Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

russian enemy is trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, is concentrating its efforts on trying to restrain the actions of the Defense Forces in certain directions, and at the same time is trying to conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.
The enemy is shelling the positions of our troops along the entire contact line, carrying out engineering equipment for defensive positions and lines in separate directions and conducting aerial reconnaissance. Violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war, it strikes critical infrastructure and the homes of the civilian population.
Over the past day, the enemy launched 5 missile and 23 air strikes, launched up to 60 MLRS attacks.
Objects and civilians in the areas of more than 30 settlements were hit by the enemy. In particular, these are Nikopol and Shakhtarske of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast; Hlushkivka in Kharkiv oblast; Orikhiv and Mali Shcherbaky of the Zaporizhzhia oblast; Dmytrivka – Kyiv oblast; Bilohirka in Kherson oblast and Vuhledar in Donetsk oblast.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation remains without significant changes. The threat of missile and airstrikes, as well as the use of “Shahed-136” attack UAVs from the territory of the republic of belarus, remains.
The enemy fired in other directions:
in the Siverskyi direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of Mykolaivka settlements of Chernihiv oblast and Pokrovka of Sumy oblast. It also used shock UAVs;
in the Slobozhanskyi direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Strilecha, Ohirtseve, Starytsa, Hatyshche, Pishchane, Kamianka and Dvorichna;
Kharkiv Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Kramatorsk direction – from tanks and various caliber artillery along the entire line of contact. In particular, in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Charivne, Mala Tokmachka, Novoyehorivka, Rozdolivka and Serebryanka;
in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, the enemy fired from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery along the contact line.
in the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, the enemy shelled more than 15 settlements. Among them are Vuhledar, Vremivka, Paraskoviivka, Prechystivka and Shcherbaki.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. October 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

More than 25 settlements along the contact line were hit by fire in the South Buh region.
The violations of international humanitarian law, laws and customs of warfare in temporarily occupied territories have become the norm for the russian occupying forces. In the village of Rubizhne, Luhansk oblast, military personnel from the chechen republic, who arrived to reinforce the group, began evicting civilians from private homes to house their officers.
According to the specified information, the results of the enemy’s fire damage have been confirmed. As a result of point strikes by the artillery of the Defence Forces, an ammunition depot was destroyed and more than 20 occupiers were injured in the village of Marfopil, Zaporizhzhia oblast. In the settlement of Tokmak, 10 units of military equipment were destroyed and up to 40 servicemen were injured. Up to 30 injured occupiers in the settlement of Polohy. In Kamianets-Dniprovska, 7 units of military equipment were destroyed and about 40 enemy servicemen were wounded.
The number of dead, which the occupiers are trying to hide carefully, is being clarified.
Over the past day, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Torske and Spirne settlements in the Kramatorsk direction, Berestove, Soledar and Bakhmut in the Bakhmut direction, and Maryinka, Pobieda and Nevelske in the Avdiivka direction.
Aviation of the Defence Forces carried out 32 strikes during the past 24 hours. It has been confirmed that 24 areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, as well as 8 positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems, have been hit. In addition, our air defence units shot down 6 UAVs and 1 enemy helicopter in different directions.
Over the past day, missile forces and artillery hit 3 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, one ammunition depot, 7 enemy air defence facilities and other military targets.

Military Updates

 

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

The next few weeks of the war in Ukraine will be critical, according to CNN experts. Colder weather will likely lead to a slowdown in ground combat,so the next weeks of war will be critical. The Russian troops will try to avoid a collapse on their front line before the onset of winter.

Regional Updates

Kyiv is partially covered by an anti-drone dome protecting especially important objects, said the adviser to the mayor of Kyiv Yuriy Zozulya. It will take about 2 years to build a full-fledged anti-drone dome. “The drone dome already fragmentarily exists in Kyiv.”
As a result of the morning missile attack on the Kyiv region, an energy infrastructure facility was seriously damaged. Rolling blackouts are possible, reports Ukrenergo.
In occupied Crimea, explosions reported. Air defense is working in Sevastopol, Novofedorovka, Evpatoria and Saki.
In Belarus, the first echelons of the Russian military arrived, said the Ministry of Defense of Belarus
In the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation officially confirmed “an execution” at the training ground. 11 dead and 15 injured. Two citizens of one of the CIS countries fired at the personnel of the unit and were killed. According to Russian media, the shooting took place at a training ground in the village of Soloti.
In Belgorod, the oil depot was on fire.
In Russia, the first funerals of recently mobilized Russians reported. According to the BBC, 14 more people died before reaching the front: suicides, heart attacks, fights, and other mysterious ailments.

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

  • On 10 October 2022, Russia probably fired more than 80 cruise missiles into Ukraine. President Putin claimed the strikes were in retaliation for the attack on the Kerch Bridge.

 

  • Ukraine’s defence ministry reported that more than half of the projectiles were shot down, but dozens struck Kyiv and other population centres, killing civilians and damaging civil infrastructure.

 

  • Russia’s defence industry is probably incapable of producing advanced munitions at the rate they are being expended. These attacks represent a further degradation of Russia’s long-range missile stocks, which is likely to constrain their ability to strike the volume of targets they desire in future.

Losses of the Russian army 

The total losses of the Russian army are approaching 65,000 (killed), said Zelenskyy. He also reminded the citizens of Russia not wishing “to participate in this criminal war: everyone who surrenders to Ukrainian captivity saves his life.”
Ukrainian Armed Forces seized 2,309 pieces of Russian equipment since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

As of 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:

Humanitarian 

On October 10, Ukraine’s largest National Science and Natural History Museum in Kyiv was damaged. According to preliminary estimates, at least 4 million hryvnias are needed to restore it. The blast wave in the building knocked out all the windows, and the facade was also damaged. At present, fundraising has begun to save the capital’s natural history museum.

Environmental 

Winter can bring a new health crisis in Ukraine. Low temperatures in Ukraine this winter could lead to a surge in respiratory diseases, hypothermia, and frostbite, which will also be exacerbated by Russian missile strikes. Putin has previously stated that future strikes will target energy and communications infrastructure. More than 800,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the war, according to the Ukrainian government, and thousands now live either in refugee centers or in damaged homes. This winter, they may not have enough protection from the cold.

Legal 

Ukraine simplified the procedure for the entry of its citizens from territories controlled by the Russian army, according to the Ministry of Reintegration. The further identification of the person will be carried out already on the territory of Ukraine.

Support 

Saudi Arabia will allocate humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the amount of 400 million dollars.
France will train about 2,000 Ukrainian troops. French President Emmanuel Macron has approved a training plan that will allow the deployment of up to 2,000 Ukrainian troops in the country. They will be assigned to French units for a few weeks.
Romania allocates $1 million for the defense of Ukraine and Moldova under the NATO program. Ukraine will receive $400,000, and Moldova – $600,000 to strengthen its defense capability, Georgia – $300,000, Jordan – $100,000.
Germany transferred to Ukraine 16 Biber tank bridge layers and 10 pontoon bridge vehicles.
️Ukraine and 7 other countries joined the eighth package of EU sanctions against Russia, said the head of EU diplomacy Borrell.

New Developments 

Elon Musk will continue to finance Starlink in Ukraine.
China’s Foreign Ministry urged its citizens to leave Ukraine for security purposes.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-october-15*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 15 October, 2022:

Russia continues to conduct massive, forced deportations of Ukrainians that likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign in addition to apparent violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin stated on October 14 that “several thousand” children from Kherson Oblast are “already in other regions of Russia, resting in rest homes and children’s camps.”[1] As ISW has previously reported, Russian authorities openly admitted to placing children from occupied areas of Ukraine up for adoption with Russian families in a manner that may constitute a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[2]

Russian authorities may additionally be engaged in a wider campaign of ethnic cleansing by depopulating Ukrainian territory through deportations and repopulating Ukrainian cities with imported Russian citizens. Ethnic cleansing has not in itself been specified as a crime under international law but has been defined by the United Nations Commission of Experts on violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia as “rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area” and “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”[3] According to the UN definition, ethnic cleansing may be carried out by forcible removal, among other methods.[4] These definitions of ethnic cleansing campaigns are consistent with reports of the forcible deportation and adoption of Ukrainian children, as well as reports by Ukrainian sources that reconstruction projects in Mariupol are intended to house “tens of thousands of Russians” who will move to Mariupol.[5]

Prominent Russian milbloggers who yesterday announced the existence of “hit lists” reportedly originating with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and targeting milbloggers for their coverage of operations in Ukraine walked back their claim on October 15. As ISW reported on October 14, prominent Russian milblogger Semyon Pegov of the WarGonzo Telegram channel accused “individual generals and military commanders” of the Russian MoD of developing a “hitlist” of Russian milbloggers whom the MoD intends to prosecute for “discrediting” the MoD’s handling of the war in Ukraine.[6] Pegov’s claim was amplified by several other milbloggers and generated substantial panic about censorship in the hyper-nationalist Russian information space.[7]

Pegov announced on October 15, however, that “there are no more lists”, and that the issue of lists has been removed from the agenda and congratulated his following and the wider milblogger community for being untouchable in the face of attempted crackdowns.[8] Pegov also reiterated that he has been aware of the list for weeks and knew that administrative and political power structures had already begun working on investigations of individual channels. Pegov claimed that he has learned who the author of the list was and praised his followers and colleagues for supporting him. Other prominent milbloggers amplified Pegov’s statements and stated that milbloggers continue to lead the fight for truth in the information space.

As ISW has previously assessed the announcement of mobilization served as a catalyst for a breakdown in the Russian information space that put the increasingly alienated MoD further at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the cohort of milbloggers that he has periodically supported and empowered.[9] The Russian milblogger community may have strategically weaponized the rumors of MoD hit lists against the MoD itself by exposing the information and appearing to defeat the MoD attacks against it—whether or not they were real in the first place. The discourse surrounding the existence of these lists indicates continued structural fractures between the MoD establishment, the milbloggers, and the Kremlin.

The Wagner Group Private Military Company is likely continuing efforts to assert its supremacy over the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and conventional Russian ground forces. A video posted to social media on October 13 shows servicemen of the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet in an unspecified location in Kherson Oblast complaining that they have been fighting in the area since the beginning of the war without breaks or troop rotation.[10] The servicemen asserted that they are being “crushed” by Ukrainian forces and emphasized that they have one BTR (armored personnel carrier) for 80 people, which is greatly restricting their maneuverability.[11] After the video circulated, a Wagner Group-affiliated Telegram channel announced on October 14 that Wagner Group leadership decided to transfer four off-road vehicles to the 126th Coastal Defense Battalion in support of their efforts to hold the frontline in Kherson Oblast.[12] This exchange is noteworthy in light of ISW’s previous assessment that Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is actively attempting to curry favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin and set Wagner Group forces apart from conventional MoD forces.[13] The move to donate basic equipment to a detachment of conventional Russian ground forces may be an implicit critique of the MoD’s apparent inability to provide such necessities to its own soldiers.

Russia may have signed a new contract with Iran for the supply of Arash-2 drones. Ukrainian and Russian Telegram channels reported “leaked” information from unspecified Iranian sources that Russia has purchased an unknown number of Arash-2 drones, which are purportedly faster and more destructive than the Shahed-136 drones that are currently in use by Russian forces.[14]  Commander of the Iranian Ground Forces Brigadier General Kiomars Heydari previously claimed in early September that the Arash-2 drones have unique long-range capabilities and could target cities in Israel such as Tel Aviv and Haifa from bases in Iran.[15] Reports that Moscow is continuing to rely on Tehran for destructive munitions are consistent with a report from the US Treasury Department that suggests Russia is rapidly expending its supply of microelectronics that are critical for the military-industrial complex because it cannot replace key components unavailable because of sanctions.[16] Russia will likely continue to leverage its relationship with Iran to circumvent sanctions, although it is very unlikely that Russian forces will use the Arash-2 to any greater effect than they have used the Shahed-136 model.[17]

Key Takeaways

  • Russia is conducting forced deportation of Ukrainians that likely amount to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign in addition to apparent violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • Prominent Russian milbloggers who yesterday announced the existence of “hit lists” reportedly originating with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and targeting milbloggers for their coverage of operations in Ukraine walked back their claim on October 15.
  • The Wagner Group Private Military Company is likely continuing efforts to assert its supremacy over the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and more conventional Russian ground forces.
  • Russia may have signed a new contract with Iran for the supply of Arash-2 drones.
  • Russian forces continued counterattacks west of Kreminna.
  • Russian milbloggers widely discussed the likelihood of a Ukrainian counteroffensive on Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops launched a general counteroffensive in northern Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces likely struck Russian military assets situated along Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and southern Donetsk Oblast.
  • Mobilized Russian forces engaged in a fratricidal altercation at a training ground in Belgorod Oblast.
  • Russian and occupation administration officials continued to enact restrictions on movement and conduct strict law enforcement activities in Russian-occupied territories.

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