Russo Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast

 

Daily review

Ukraine says heavy battles are ahead in Kherson Oblast as Russians likely prepare the defense of Kherson City and continue to establish fallback and defensive positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine liberates four villages in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, the liberation of Kharkiv village has been confirmed. Russian justification for its invasion of Ukraine pivoted from “denazification” to “desatanisation.” Ukraine calls on Ukrainian refugees not to come back for winter. The US Congressional Progressive Caucus rescinded a letter that urged President Biden to negotiate directly with Russia. German, EU leaders call for Ukraine Marshall Plan. Germany to supply two MARS MLRS, 4 howitzers to Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, October 27

A map by War Mapper of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 26/10/22. ~

A map by War Mapper of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 26/10/22.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, October 27, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below

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The enemy is trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, concentrates its efforts on restraining the actions of the Defence Forces in certain directions, at the same time, it does not stop trying to conduct offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.

Over the past 24 hours, units of the Defence Forces repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of Ivanhrad, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Kurdyumivka, Krasnohorivka, Novomykhailivka, Nevelske, and Ternova settlements.

The enemy is shelling the positions of our troops along the contact line, carrying out fortification equipment of positions in certain directions and conducting aerial reconnaissance. Violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war, it continues to strike critical infrastructure and the homes of the civilian population.

Over the past day, the enemy launched 5 rocket and up to 30 air strikes, launched more than 100 MLRS attacks.
Areas of more than 40 settlements were hit by enemy attacks. Among them are the city of Dnipro and the oblast, Prykolotne in the Kharkiv oblast, and Velyka Oleksandrivka in the Kherson oblast.

The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly. The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The threat of missile strikes and the use of attack UAVs on the territory of Ukraine remains.

The enemy shelled in other directions:

  • in the Siverskyi direction – from mortars and barrel artillery, in the areas of Starykove, Seredyna-Buda, Basivka, Mykolaivka, Ryzhivka settlements. Strike drones were also used;
  • in the Slobozhanskyi direction – with the use of mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of Vilkhuvatka, Budarka, Shevchenkove, Strilecha and Dvorichna settlements;
  • in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Berestove, Pershotravneve, Nevske, Bilohorivka, Serhiivka, and Spirne;
  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Ivanhrad, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Mayorsk, and Odradivka;
  • in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks and artillery of various types, in the areas of Novomykhailivka, Pervomaiske, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Nevelske, and Novokalynove settlements.

On the Novopavlivskyi and Zaporizhzhia directions, the enemy shelled positions of the Defence Forces and civilian infrastructure in the areas of Vremivka, Vuhledar, Zaliznychne, Novopil, and Poltavka settlements.
More than 15 settlements along the contact line were hit by fire in the South Buh direction. To conduct aerial reconnaissance, the enemy made up to 20 sorties of UAVs of various types.

In the Russian Federation, the search for additional sources of replenishment of combat losses is underway. Work with servicemen discharged due to injuries continues. They are offered to retrain for accounting specialties that involve less physical work.

According to detailed information, as a result of point strikes by the artillery of the Defence Forces, an ammunition warehouse and more than 10 so-called “Kadyrovtsy” were destroyed in the settlement of Novoivanivka, Luhansk oblast. Up to 10 occupiers and about 5 trucks with ammunition were also destroyed in the settlement of Svatove.

Aviation of the Defence Forces carried out 21 strikes during the past 24 hours. It was confirmed that 17 areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, 2 strongholds, as well as 2 positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems were hit. Air defense units shot down 5 enemy UAVs.

Units of rocket troops and artillery hit the command post, two areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, a radar station, and other important military objects of the occupiers.

Military Updates

  • Mobilized Russians will wear Iranian body armor and helmets – Ukraine intel
  • A senior Ukrainian official predicted “the heaviest of battles” to come for the partially Russian-occupied strategic southern province of Kherson and said Moscow’s military is digging in to face advancing Ukrainian forces.
  • In Moscow, covert mobilization is underway – Ukraine intel
  • Ukraine liberates four villages in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts – General Staff
  • Ukrainian troops destroyed three Russian strike helicopters in Kherson Oblast – Air Force Command
  • Journalists reveal Russia’s secret group of engineers responsible for missile attacks on Ukraine
  • The confidant who vented to Russian President Putin recently about his military’s handling of the war in Ukraine was Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the founder of a Russian mercenary group that is playing a critical role on the battlefield, according to two US officials familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
  • Russians likely prepare Kherson City defense, not fully withdraws from upper Kherson Oblast – ISW
  • Ukraine’s Armed Forces hit 20 areas of concentration of Russia’s manpower, weapons – Genstaff
  • Russia is set to begin annual nuclear exercises on 26 October involving large-scale drills of its strategic forces. While the drills are routine, President Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons since the war in Ukraine began. Moscow notified the United States of its planned nuclear drills, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday
  • Putin justified the invasion of Ukraine with claims of the need to “denazify” the country. Yesterday, Russia’s security council pivoted from “denazification” to “desatanisation”, with Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the security council of the Russian Federation, claiming there were “hundreds of sects” in Ukraine where citizens have abandoned Orthodox values.
  • Liberation of Petropavlivka village in Kharkiv Oblast visually confirmed, only handful of Kharkiv settlements remain occupied

According to British Defence Intelligence

  • On 24 October 2022, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region announced that an explosive device had damaged the railway near the village of Novozybkovo, approximately 15km from the Russia-Belarus border. The line is the main rail link between Russia and southern Belarus.
  • The Russian anti-war group ‘Stop the Wagons’ (STW) claimed responsibility for the incident. This is at least the sixth incident of sabotage against Russian railway infrastructure claimed by STW since June, This is part of a wider trend of dissident attacks against railways in both Russian and Belarus. The Russian authorities have previously clamped down on STW’s online presence.
  • The Russia military primarily relies on rail transport for deploying forces to Ukraine, but with a network extending to over 33,000km, largely transiting isolated areas, the system is extremely challenging to secure against physical threats. The Russian leadership will be increasingly concerned that even a small group of citizens has been sufficiently opposed to the conflict to resort to physical sabotage.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 26 October, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast ~~

Humanitarian 

  • Ukraine’s Reintegration Minister called on Ukrainian refugees not to come back for winter
  • Ukrainian law enforcement officers rescue 8-year-old Bohdan from Bakhmut
  • Two killed, including pregnant woman, in Russian strike on central-Ukrainian Dnipro, Oblast authorities report
  • Law enforcement officers have discovered four bodies of civilians, who were killed in the Donetsk region’s urban-type settlement of Drobysheve during Russian occupation, Ukrinform says.

Environmental 

  • The European Union’s financial assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression against the country has reached $19 billion, including $7 billion in direct budget support, however the process of approving such assistance is still complicated and the issue should be tackled in order to ensure regular allocation of $1.5 billion per months in 2023, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said.
  • Putin’s war in Ukraine destabilized energy markets around world – new British PM
  • New British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke with Zelensky in a phone call Tuesday “to underline the United Kingdom’s steadfast support for Ukraine,” according to a statement from Sunak’s office. On Twitter, Zelensky said the two “agreed to write a new chapter” in British-Ukrainian relations. “But the story is the same — full support in the face of Russian aggression,” he wrote.
  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus rescinded a letter, signed by 30 House liberals and sent to the White House on Monday, that urged President Biden to negotiate directly with Russia to bring an end to the war in Ukraine. The withdrawal comes a day after the letter, led by caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), triggered fierce pushback from many Democrats.

Legal 

  • Ukrainian ombudsman: Russia should be expelled from the International Red Cross Movement
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has met with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, and thanked him for his willingness to amend Polish legislation to seize Russian assets.
  • SBU detains Russian agents in Ukraine who worked for RIA Novosti
  • Norway‘s counterespionage service has arrested a man who worked on a research project at a Norwegian university on suspicion that he is a Russian spy. The man was arrested in the Arctic town of Tromsoe on October 24, public broadcaster NRK reported on October 25, citing the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST).
  • Return of Crimea to restore real peace – Zelenskyy
  • This is what genocide looks like: Russian torture chambers in Kharkiv Oblast
  • Israeli President Yitzhak to show evidence of Russia’s use of Iranian drones in war in Ukraine to US officials

Support 

  • Investing in Ukraine means investing in a future EU member state, Scholz says
  • US President Joe Biden has held his first phone call with Italy’s new Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. The White House said this in a press release on the readout of the two leaders’ call, Ukrinform reports. “The leaders… discussed their commitment to continue providing assistance to Ukraine, holding Russia accountable for its aggression, addressing the challenges posed by China, and ensuring sustainable and affordable energy resources,” the readout reads.
  • German, EU leaders call for Ukraine Marshall Plan
  • Germany to supply two MARS MLRS, 4 howitzers to Ukraine – President of Germany
  • Ukrainian Jews slam Israel for “passive position of pseudo-neutrality,” call for air defense
  • World Bank disburses next $500 mn tranche to Ukraine; its economy to contract by 25% this year

Assessment 

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast ~~

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment on 25 October 2022:

Key Takeaways

  • Russian siloviki factions continue to voice dissatisfaction with the Russian war effort in Ukraine, likely indicating that President Vladimir Putin will struggle to appease the pro-war faction.
  • Direct confrontations between Putin and siloviki members regarding the war in Ukraine illustrate the significance of siloviki factions in Russian power structures.
  • Russian officials are likely rhetorically realigning the war in Ukraine with religious ideals ostensibly accessible to both Christians and Muslims to cater to religious and ethnic minorities.
  • Russian occupation officials continue to claim that the evacuations in Kherson Oblast are a part of a larger resettlement program.
  • Levada polling surveys suggest that the Russian public’s sentiments toward the Russian government have not fundamentally changed despite societal pressures associated with the war in Ukraine.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks west of Svatove and on Kreminna on October 25.
  • Russian forces continued to establish fallback and defensive positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
  • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast.
  • The Russian military continues to mobilize personnel in violation of recruitment policies. Russian mobilization efforts also are placing strains on the Russian labor market.
  • Ukrainian partisans conducted an attack targeting the occupation head in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Eastern Ukraine: (Oskil River-Kreminna Line)

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops conducted limited ground attacks west of Svatove on October 25. Russian sources claimed that Russian artillery fire repelled Ukrainian forces  during an attempted attack on Kuzemivka, 15km northwest of Svatove. A Russian milblogger also claimed that Ukrainian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive operations along the Raihorodka-Kovalivka line, about 10km southwest of Svatove. Various Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops are grouping forces west of Svatove for future counteroffensive operations and that Russian forces are strengthening their defensive positions around Svatove. Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai noted that Russian troops mined the entire bank of the Krasna River near Svatove, apparently in anticipation of potential Ukrainian advances.

Russian sources additionally claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted an unsuccessful frontal assault on Kreminna on October 25. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian troops repelled the attack. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Bilohorivka, about 10km south of Kreminna, suggesting that Russian troops are continuing efforts to retake lost positions along the Donetsk-Luhansk Oblast border.

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast ~~

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Russian forces continued to establish fallback positions near the Dnipro River on October 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are preparing defensive positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River and are mining the coastline near Hornostaivka, about 40km northeast of Nova Kakhovka. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Russian forces are leaving small passages for a potential retreat and are attempting to repair destroyed pontoon crossings. Russian milbloggers claimed that the Russian military command has not decided on the fate of Kherson City, given the ongoing situation in Kherson Oblast. Other milbloggers argued that Russian forces will be unable to hold Kherson City and that the Russian government can prevent a “Battle of Stalingrad” by fully withdrawing to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukrainian and Russian sources provided limited insight into the situation on the frontlines in Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian forces repelled two small-scale assaults by a platoon and a detachment in two unspecified areas on October 24. Ukrainian military officials also reported that Russian forces continued to shell Ukrainian positions along the line of contact and struck Nova Kamianka in northern Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces also reportedly shot down two Iranian-made Shahed-131 drones in Kherson Raion. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Russian forces continued to establish fallback positions near the Dnipro River on October 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are preparing defensive positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River and are mining the coastline near Hornostaivka, about 40km northeast of Nova Kakhovka. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Russian forces are leaving small passages for a potential retreat and are attempting to repair destroyed pontoon crossings. Russian milbloggers claimed that the Russian military command has not decided on the fate of Kherson City, given the ongoing situation in Kherson Oblast. Other milbloggers argued that Russian forces will be unable to hold Kherson City and that the Russian government can prevent a “Battle of Stalingrad” by fully withdrawing to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukrainian and Russian sources provided limited insight into the situation on the frontlines in Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian forces repelled two small-scale assaults by a platoon and a detachment in two unspecified areas on October 24. Ukrainian military officials also reported that Russian forces continued to shell Ukrainian positions along the line of contact and struck Nova Kamianka in northern Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces also reportedly shot down two Iranian-made Shahed-131 drones in Kherson Raion. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks in the direction of Ishchenka and Bruskinske in northern Kherson Oblast. Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian artillery striking a Russian tank in Kalynivske, approximately 47km northwest of Nova Kakhovka.

Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian positions and logistics in Kherson Oblast. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that a recent precision strike on Kairy (about 27km northeast of Nova Kakhovka) killed up to 30 Russian servicemen and left over 100 troops under the rubble. Recent combat footage seems to confirm this report and indicates that the strike likely hit Chechen forces. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Ukrainian forces also destroyed an ammunition depot in Hornostaivka. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted that Ukrainian forces struck three ammunition depots in Beryslav and Kakhovka raions, and shot down three Russian attack helicopters. Ukrainian sources published footage of explosion sounds in Khakovka Raion on October 25.

Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks in the direction of Ishchenka and Bruskinske in northern Kherson Oblast. Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian artillery striking a Russian tank in Kalynivske, approximately 47km northwest of Nova Kakhovka.

Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian positions and logistics in Kherson Oblast. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that a recent precision strike on Kairy (about 27km northeast of Nova Kakhovka) killed up to 30 Russian servicemen and left over 100 troops under the rubble. Recent combat footage seems to confirm this report and indicates that the strike likely hit Chechen forces. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Ukrainian forces also destroyed an ammunition depot in Hornostaivka. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted that Ukrainian forces struck three ammunition depots in Beryslav and Kakhovka raions, and shot down three Russian attack helicopters. Ukrainian sources published footage of explosion sounds in Khakovka Raion on October 25.

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast ~~

Russian Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort—Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces continued to conduct unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast on October 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Bakhmut itself; northeast of Bakhmut near Bakhmutske (11km northeast of Bakhmut), Soledar (13km northeast of Bakhmut), Bilohorivka (23km northeast of Bakhmut), Verkhnokamianske (33km northeast of Bakhmut), and Spirne (30km north of Bakhmut); and south of Bakhmut near Ivanhrad (4km southeast of Bakhmut) and Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks southwest of Avdiivka near Mariinka (28km southwest of Avdiivka) and Nevelske (15km south of Avdiivka). The Donetsk Peoples Republic (DNR) People’s Militia announced on October 25 that the “battle for Avdiivka is in full swing” and Russian forces intend to encircle Avdiivka. Russian forces are unlikely to encircle Avdiivka given the poor performance of Russian offensives near Avdiivka since the beginning of the war. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian operational encirclements of Avdiivka and Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast are impossible as recent Russian offensives in the areas illustrate that Russian forces are unable to make rapid advances. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued to conduct indirect fire along the line of contact in Donetsk Oblast on October 25.

Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen units continue to play an outsized role in Russian operations in Donetsk Oblast. Kadyrov claimed on October 25 that Chechen State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov has directly coordinated the actions of Chechen forces fighting in Donetsk Oblast since the start of the Russian offensive campaign in Ukraine. Kadyrov also claimed that “Akhmat” special forces are directly responsible for more than 100km of territory in Donetsk Oblast. Kadyrov repeated claims that the Russian military leadership routinely praises Chechen elements for their fighting in eastern Ukraine. Kadyrov and associates will continue to try to frame Chechen elements as significant formations among the Russian forces fighting in Donetsk Oblast.

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 245: Russia continues unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast ~~

Supporting Effort—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Russian forces continued to conduct routine air, missile, and artillery strikes west of Hulyaipole, and in Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv oblasts on October 25. Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces struck Nikopol in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and Ochakiv and Bereznehuvate in Mykolaiv Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces also conducted drone attacks on Nikopol and Bashtanka Raion in Mykolaiv Oblast on October 25. Ukraine’s General Staff reported that Russian forces did not conduct any ground attacks in the Zaporizhzhia direction on October 25.

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

The Russian military continues to mobilize Russian men—including those from ethnic minority republics—in violation of published Russian recruitment policies. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported that Russian authorities mobilized 200 fathers with multiple children who are legally eligible for mobilization deferral in the Republic of Bashkortostan. The report found that local Russian military commissariats flatly ignore or find legal arguments to circumvent deferment eligibility criteria. Mobilized men from Bashkortostan fighting near Enerhodar reportedly did not receive proper training, are running low on food, and are sleeping in a dirty granary with grain, mice, and pools of standing water. A Moscow man legally entitled to mobilization deferment due to being the parent of three children was reportedly mobilized anyway on October 23 despite Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s announcement that mobilization in Moscow ended on October 17.

Russia’s military mobilization is causing workers to flee Russia, placing stress on the Russian labor market. Russian independent outlet Verstka reported on October 25 that Russian officials from local Moscow government offices are fleeing Russia en masse to avoid mobilization. Verstka reported that between 20 to 30 percent of male IT employees from some departments within the Moscow City Hall fled Moscow, depriving Moscow local government departments of IT support for days. Verstka reported that employees from the Russian Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Digital Development, and the Central Bank are similarly fleeing Russia. Russian business newspaper RBK reported that demand for temporary employees working under fixed-term contracts increased by 52 percent in the first half of October 2022. RBK reported that temporary employees replaced mobilized workers so that mobilized workers (such as couriers, sales managers, and drivers) do not lose their positions while serving. A Russian source reported that the mobilization of dozens of bus drivers in Voronezh is placing stress on public transit, with wait times between bus services increasing. A large Russian agrobusiness in Tyumen Oblast reported losing a significant portion of its workers to mobilization and announced incentives to recruit more laborers.

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied and annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian civilians into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)

Ukrainian partisans conducted a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack against a building owned by the head of the Zaporizhzhia occupation administration in Melitopol on October 25. Russian media and Ukrainian sources reported that a car exploded near the headquarters of the Russian propaganda channel ZaTV where a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) branch was reportedly deployed. Various sources reported that the building belongs to Zaporizhzhia occupation head Yevheny Balitsky, who was not present at the time of the attack. Russian milbloggers called the event a “terrorist attack” and called for more stringent law enforcement protections in occupied areas.

Russian occupation officials continued to move personnel, equipment, and occupation assets to the east bank of the Dnipro River on October 25. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian officials are continuing to move bank equipment and personnel and occupation administrators, as well as civilians, across the Dnipro River to Henichesk and Skadovsk, 175km and 60km southeast of Kherson City, respectively. The Ukrainian General Staff additionally noted that medical personnel are subject to evacuation and that Russian officials have pulled funding and are no longer providing meals for school children who remain on the west bank. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that mobilized servicemen are arriving in Lvove (40km east of Kherson City) to replace evacuated collaborators. Kherson Occupation Deputy Kirill Stremousov claimed that Russian occupation officials have evacuated over 22,000 people from the west bank of the Dnipro River as of October 25. Russian milbloggers noted that the decision to leave Kherson City is a chiefly political one and claimed that the evacuations are voluntary.

Russian occupation officials are struggling to enforce the use of rubles in occupied territories, despite long-standing efforts to conduct rubleization measures. Stremousov reprimanded those who “refuse to accept rubles” in a video address on October 25 and claimed that after the situation in Kherson Oblast stabilizes, those who refuse to use rubles will be forcibly expelled from Kherson Oblast, which he claimed will adhere exclusively to the laws of the Russian Federation. Stremousov’s statement reflects frustration on the part of Russian occupation officials in the face of recent reports that Ukrainian residents of Russian-occupied areas in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblast are refusing to use rubles and that Russian soldiers are exchanging their rubles for hryvnias in order to make purchases. ISW previously reported that Russian authorities in occupied areas had escalated efforts at rubleization in early August, and Stremousov’s statements suggest that Russian occupation officials have struggled in their efforts to economically integrate occupied areas into systems of the Russian Federation.

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