Russo Ukrainian War. Day 258: 1,500 new graves discovered near Mariupol

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukrainian troops are massing in the Kherson Oblast direction. Russian forces depleted their arsenal of high-precision weapons systems and suffered significant aviation losses. Russian occupation authorities likely began a new phase of evacuations from Kherson Oblast. Russian troops continued efforts to fix Ukrainian troops against the international border in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast. Ukrainian troops continued counteroffensive operations in the Svatove direction. Russian troops conducted limited counter-attacks to regain lost positions west of Kreminna. Russian troops continued offensive operations in western Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian forces conducted limited interdiction efforts against Russian concentration areas in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russia has started constructing defensive structures around the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Russia deploys Kalibr carrier in the Black Sea. Two Russian warships denied entry into the Black Sea. Russians have only 120 Iskanders left. Russia requests ballistic missiles from Iran. A group of mobilized Russian soldiers surrender to Ukrainian forces. Over 4.5 million households remain without power as Russia plans new large-scale attacks. More than 1,500 new graves discovered near Mariupol. NASAMS and Aspide anti-aircraft systems arrive in Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 8

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1589742078506192897

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

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

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

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“Russian forces are trying to keep the temporarily captured territories, concentrating efforts on restraining the actions of the Defense Forces in certain areas. Conducts offensive actions in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions.

Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces have repelled attacks by the occupiers in the areas of the settlements of Krasnohorivka, BakhmUt, Ivanhrad, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Maryinka, Pavlivka, Vodyane and Mayorsk in the Donetsk oblast and Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast.

Russian forces are shelling units of the Defense Forces along the contact line, carrying out border fortification equipment in separate directions and conducting aerial reconnaissance.

It continues to strike critical infrastructure and civilian homes in violation of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war.

Over the past day, Russian forces launched 9 missile strikes, 37 airstrikes and more than 100 MLRS attacks.

Areas of more than 25 settlements of the Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv oblasts were hit by Russian forces.

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, providing the Russian Federation with infrastructure, territory and airspace. The formation of the Russian-Belarusian grouping of troops on the territory of the Republic of Belarus continues. There is still a threat of Russian forces launching airstrikes using strike drones from the territory and airspace of this country.

Russian forces shelled in such directions:

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

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

  • in the Slobozhansky direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of the settlements of Udy, Starytsa, Chuhunivka, Fiholivka, and Dvorichanske;
  • on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from artillery of various types, in the areas of Kislivka, Berestove, Stelmakhivka, Myasozharivka, Hrekivka, Makiivka, Nevske, Yampolivka and Lyman settlements;
  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of Rozdolivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, BakhmUtske, BakhmUt, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Andriivka, Kurdyumivka, Ozaryanivka and Mayorsk settlements;
Donetsk Battle Map. November 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

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

  • in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks and the entire range of artillery, in the areas of Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka settlements;
  • in the Novopavlivsk direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of the settlements of Vuhledar, Pavlivka, Prechystivka, Vremivka, Novosilka, Neskuchne, and Novopil;
  • in the Zaporizhzhia direction – from artillery of various calibres, in the areas of Temyrivka, Olhivske, Uspenivka, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Charivne, Novodanylivka and Stepove settlements.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

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

  • In the Pivdennyy Buh direction, areas of populated areas bordering the contact line were affected by enemy fire. The settlements of Vyshchetarasivka, Illinka and Marhanets of the Dnipropetrovsk region were directly affected by the fire from the anti-aircraft missile system.

Russian forces continue to suffer losses. The fire damage to the area of ​​concentration of military equipment, which is about 20 units, was confirmed on November 5 in the city of Hola Prystan, Kherson oblast. The destruction of ammunition warehouses of the occupiers on November 5-6 in the settlements of Horlivka in the Donetsk oblast and Svatove in the Luhansk oblast was also confirmed.

[Russian forces continue to suffer losses. According to detailed information, on the night of November 6 of this year, the fuel reserves of the occupiers were destroyed in the city of Hola Prystan.]

In the city of Enerhodar, the Russian invaders continue to strengthen administrative and counterintelligence measures. Occupiers collect personal data of local residents, check smartphones, go around private residences, and illegally detain Ukrainian citizens.

[Russian servicemen do not stop looting and robbing the local population and infrastructure facilities, the export of material resources, food products and means of transportation to the territory of the Russian Federation continues.]

In the area of ​​Novosofiivka, Kherson oblast, the group of occupation troops was reinforced by a unit from the territory of the Chechen Republic, which participated in the robbery of local residents and their homes.

[The Russian occupiers continue to forcibly remove civilians from the temporarily occupied Kherson region to the territory of the Russian Federation. Thus, according to the available information, about a hundred children with disabilities were taken out of the psychoneurological boarding house in Dnipryany, Kakhovsky district. The children and staff of the Oleshkiv Children’s Boarding Home are being prepared for the forced “evacuation” to the Moscow region. Patients of a boarding house for the elderly have been relocated from the city of Kakhovka. The occupiers stationed personnel on the territory of this facility.]

[The occupying authorities of the Kherson oblast, in order to force them to leave the region, are taking measures to artificially create unacceptable living conditions for local residents, disconnecting electricity and communication.]

Aviation of the Defense Forces during the past day struck Russian forces 24 times. 17 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 7 positions of Russian anti-aircraft defences, were affected.

Over the past day, the Defense Forces shot down an enemy Su-25 aircraft, a Lancet-3 UAV and four Orlan-10 drones in different directions.

Over the past day, soldiers of the missile troops and artillery hit 5 control points, 2 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, 2 ammunition depots, 2 anti-aircraft missile complexes and the area of ​​firing positions of the occupiers’ artillery.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Two Russian warships denied entry into the Black Sea by Türkiye- media, Ukrinform reports, citing BBC. “Russian Pacific Fleet’s warships had been waiting for Türkiye’s permission to cross the Bosphorus into the Black Sea since early February, but Ankara never allowed them to enter. The Varyag missile cruiser and the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs of the Russian Pacific Fleet were spotted on Sunday, November 6, in the Singapore Strait on the way back to their base in Vladivostok.

According to Andrii Klymenko, the chief of the Black Sea Strategic Research Institute’s monitoring group, the Varyag and Admiral Tributs had been waiting for clearance in the Mediterranean since February 2, preparing to cross into the Black Sea to attack Ukrainian territory.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1589762121264406528

Russia deploys Kalibr carrier in the Black Sea, Ukrinfrm reports, citing the press service of Operational Command South. “In the Black Sea, Russian forces strengthened the grouping of three warships with an additional missile carrier with eight Kalibrs on board. But in the stormy sea, all four vessels remain near the southern Crimean coast: away from Ukrainian weapons, closer to their base points,” the statement says.

The press service also reported that the mine threat is increased by stormy weather, but this is more related to the mines floating to the water cut. The grain corridors continue to operate according to the schedule coordinated by the Istanbul Center.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1589784506877505537

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

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1589561631192875008

  • Russia has started constructing defensive structures around the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Two plants are producing concrete pyramidal anti-tank structures, known as dragon’s teeth, for this purpose.
  • Dragon’s teeth have likely been installed between Mariupol and Nikolske village; and from northern Mariupol to Staryi Krym village. Mariupol forms part of Russia’s ‘land bridge’ from Russia to Crimea, a key logistics line of communication. Dragon’s teeth have additionally been sent for the preparation of defensive fortifications in occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
  • Russia is fortifying its lines throughout areas of occupation. On 19 October 2022, Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed the construction of a fortified ‘Wagner Line’ of defences in Russian-occupied Luhansk Oblast. This activity suggests Russia is making a significant effort to prepare defences in depth behind their current front line, likely to forestall any rapid Ukrainian advances in the event of breakthroughs.
  • On 03 November 2022, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, stated that Russia had lost over twice the number of aircraft in Ukraine than in the Soviet-Afghan War. This amounts to 278 aircraft lost in Ukraine compared to 119 in Afghanistan
  • Whilst we cannot independently verify these figures, Russia’s continued lack of air superiority is likely exacerbated by poor training, loss of experienced crews, and heightened risks of conducting close air support in dense air defence zones.
  • This is unlikely to change in the next few months. Russia’s aircraft losses likely significantly outstrip their capacity to manufacture new airframes. The time required for the training of competent pilots further reduces Russia’s ability to regenerate combat air capability.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 8 November, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – about 77170 (+710),
  • Tanks – 2786 (+15),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5654 (+24),
  • Artillery systems – 1791 (+9),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 391 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 203 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 278 (+1),
  • Helicopters – 260 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4216 (+17),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1476 (+4),
  • Special equipment – 159 (+2),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 399 (+0)

Russians have only 120 Iskanders left, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Vadym Skibitskyi, representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “The terrorist country [Russia – ed.] has used about 80 percent of its modern missiles in strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. This means that Russia has 120 Iskanders left, according to the Main Intelligence Directorate.

In addition, Skibitskyi said that Ukrainian military intelligence has become aware of the Kremlin’s plans to purchase Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from Iran and send them to Crimea by air and to Russian Caspian Sea ports by sea. We know that agreements have already been reached, the representative of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate said.”

Russia requests ballistic missiles from Iran, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing The Economist (referring to Vadym Skibitskyi, the Deputy Head of DIU) and Yurii Ihnat, spokesman of the Air Force of Ukraine. “The Ukrainian government is aware of Russia’s plans to buy ballistic missiles Fateh-110 and Zolfagar from Iran and ship them by air to Crimea and by sea to Russian ports on the Caspian Sea. We know arrangements are already being made.

Ihnat also stated that Russia agreed not only on 2400 Iran-made drones but also on ballistic missiles. […] It is a fact that Russia will be supplied with these missiles with a 300 and a 700 km range…This is a new threat, just like Shahed drones. […] They must be destroyed, maybe, where they are launched because we have no effective protection from the ballistic missiles besides their physical annihilation during the launch phase. […]

Both Skibitskyi and Ihnat admit that Ukraine has no effective protection against the Iranian missiles, which strike targets at much higher speeds than cruise missiles or drones, or against the similar Iskander missiles Russia has already used in Ukraine. Skibitskiy told The Economist that Russians launched 25 Iskanders in October. Ukraine was able to intercept only three. The country is equally defenceless against the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles Russia has mounted onto some of its warplanes.

So far Russia’s use of such missiles has been restrained only by scarcity. […] Mr Skibitskiy estimates that Russia has just 120 Iskanders left. Other sources put the number of Kinzhals at around 40. With its stocks replenished by the Iranians, however, Russia could double its attacks.

Now more than ever, Kyiv-based dignitaries say, Ukraine needs weapons capable of shooting down ballistic missiles, such as America’s Patriot system. They say Ukraine also needs longer-range rockets such as America’s ATACMS, which they hope to use to strike command centres located hundreds of kilometres behind enemy lines.”

Russian marines complain to their governor about losing 300 people in 4 days, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Meduza. “Servicemen from the 155th Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet have sent a letter to the Governor of Primorsky Krai, Oleg Kozhemyako, complaining that they had suffered heavy losses near the village of Pavlivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The Grey Zone Telegram channel [pro-Russian military channel, allowing posts to be made anonymously – ed.] posted the full text of the letter. Medusa could not verify the authenticity of the text. […] Grey Zone reported that the marines claimed in their letter that they had lost “about 300 people killed, wounded and missing in action” in four days during an “inexplicable attack” on the village of Pavlivka near Vuhledar (Donetsk Oblast).”

Russia issues rare denial of “pointless losses” by marines in Ukraine, Reuters reports. “Russia’s defence ministry took the rare step on Monday of denying allegations that a naval infantry unit had suffered disastrous losses of men and equipment in a futile offensive in eastern Ukraine.”

A group of mobilized Russian soldiers surrender to Ukrainian forces. Ukrinform reports. “This was reported by the Armed Forces of Ukraine Operative. In the Svatove direction in the Luhansk region, a group of mobilized soldiers surrendered to the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade named after Kish Otaman Ivan Sirko. Twenty-one servicemen from Moscow and the Moscow region, the post reads.”

50,000 Russian conscripts are currently fighting against Ukraine – Putin, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax. “We currently have 50,000 [conscripts – ed.] in combat units [on the territory of Ukraine – ed.]. According to Putin, there are up to 80,000 drafted soldiers in the occupied territories of Ukraine, and the rest of the conscripts are undergoing military training at test sites.”

Humanitarian 

Over 4.5 million households remain without power as Russia plans new large-scale attacks, Ukrainska Pravda reported on Sunday. “As of Sunday evening, more than 4.5 million consumers remain disconnected from the electrical grid in Ukraine, most of them in Kyiv city and Oblast, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy [said] in his evening address

As of this evening, rolling power outages are continuing in Kyiv and six oblasts. More than 4.5 million customers are without electricity. Now, most of them are in Kyiv and Kyiv Oblast. It’s really difficult.

Grid operator tells Ukrainians to brace for more blackouts, Reuters reports. “Ukraine’s grid operator told consumers to brace for more blackouts in Kyiv and other regions on Monday as it seeks to reduce the strain on energy infrastructure damaged by Russian missile and drone attacks. Rolling blackouts are becoming increasingly routine in the capital of 3 million after a wave of Russian attacks on power facilities that have damaged 40% of energy infrastructure since Oct. 10.”

Residents of borderline Chernihiv Oblast urged to evacuate deeper into Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Viacheslav Chaus, Head of Chernihiv Oblast Military Administration, has called on the residents of the border settlements to move deeper into the oblast, away from the shelling of the occupiers.

Over the past week, 234 strikes have been recorded in the oblast. For comparison, a week earlier, 87

Environment

Energoatom analyses the impact of a possible explosion at the dam of Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on ZNPP, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of Energoatom. “Energoatom, Ukraine’s national nuclear energy generating company, is analysing an impact of a possible explosion at a dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) on safety of work at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). […]

It is noted that blowing up the KHPP can lead to an irreversible lowering of water levels in the Kakhovka Reservoir from which cooling water for the ZNPP is being supplied. Energoatom will send the results of the analysis and a list of priority measures to provide work safety of power units of the ZNPP in case there is no cooling water from the Kakhovka Reservoir to the State Inspectorate as of no later than 9 November.”

Legal 

Occupiers abduct more than 6,000 Ukrainian children, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Olena Vykhor, Head of Secretariat Management of the Ombudsman. “Over the period of the full-scale invasion, the occupiers have taken 6,032 Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation and temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. 

I must clarify: those are not only the children who were deported to the territory of the Russian Federation but also the territories, not controlled by the Ukrainian government. In fact, those are Ukraine’s children, abducted by Russian soldiers and taken to the territory where neither Ukrainian nor humanitarian laws are applied.”

More than 1,500 new graves discovered near Mariupol, Ukrinform reports. “An analysis of new satellite images shows that more than 1,500 new graves have been dug at a mass burial site near Mariupol, which has been under Russian occupation since May. According to BBC, recent satellite images from Maxar show that three mass burial sites near Mariupol located at Staryi Krym, Manhush and Vynohradne, have been steadily growing since the spring.

The Centre for Information Resilience analysed the images of Staryi Krym for the BBC’s Panorama programme and concluded that 1,500 new graves had been dug there since it last analysed images at the site in June. It now estimates that more than 4,600 graves have been dug there since the beginning of the war, although it says it cannot know how many bodies are buried at the site, the report says.”

Support 

NASAMS and Aspide anti-aircraft systems arrive in Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Oleksii Reznikov, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, has reported that anti-aircraft systems NASAMS and Aspide arrived in Ukraine.

The USA promised to supply Ukraine with eight air defence systems NASAMS in total. Two of them were supposed to be deployed in Ukraine shortly.

Earlier in November, media reported that Spain would provide Ukraine with a new military aid package, which would include a battery of anti-aircraft systems Aspide, air defence systems Hawk, anti-tank rocket launchers, tubed artillery and ammunition for them.”

Ukrainian Army compatible with NATO, defence reform is still needed, Ukrinform reports, citing Interfax-Ukraine. “The decision on Ukraine’s accession to NATO is related to the institutional reform of defence mechanisms, while the requirement for the Armed Forces’ compatibility with the Allied armies had been fulfilled even before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

I think that there’s a close relationship between the need for essential reforms and the political decision because if you don’t make progress on those essential reforms, you provide a very convenient reason for those who may be less interested in expanding membership not to continue, Simmons said.

According to her, the war proved that the level of training of the Armed Forces meets the standards of NATO Allies. […] But we did already know the interoperability was not the issue […]. The issue was institutional reform of defence mechanisms, defence procurement, defence human resources, etc., where we all know there’s quite a lot of work still to be done, the ambassador noted. […]

As reported, on September 30, President Volodymyr Zelensky, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal signed Ukraine’s application to join NATO under the streamlined procedure.

The presidents of Central and Eastern European nations, which are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in a joint statement on October 2 strongly condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine and supported Ukraine’s intention to join the Alliance. In particular, Ukraine’s accession was supported by the presidents of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Montenegro, and Slovakia.”

Even as challenges mount, Europeans stick by Ukraine, The New York Times reports. “Inflation and anxiety over nuclear weapons may be eating into some popular support for the war, but key governments remain insulated from the pressures for now.

The high cost of living is provoking strikes, protests and widespread grumbling. Talk about nuclear weapons has heightened anxieties and encouraged some to demand rapid negotiations. And President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is wooing politicians, including many from populist parties on the right and the left who have flirted with him in the past.

But while Mr. Putin may have bet on European fatigue and intolerance for hardship to divide the alliance and buckle its weakest members, more than eight months into Russia’s war on Ukraine, the scale of the challenges has been leveraged effectively by leaders to stiffen the public spine and Europe is holding firm.

Many analysts believe that commitment will last as long as the United States holds the line, but gains in Tuesday’s midterm elections by Republicans, some of whom have questioned the cost of the war, could alter those expectations.

Despite some kicking and screaming, governments across the ideological spectrum and the continent — in Western and Eastern Europe, in the Baltics and along the Mediterranean — are maintaining support for Ukraine and tough sanctions on Russia.

While recent polls show a slight dip in popular support for Ukraine across Europe, backing still remains strong, and the leaders of Germany, France and Italy — the continent’s three largest economies — seem insulated against external and internal pressures to cave for the foreseeable future, as they have all recently had elections. Most of those pushing for immediate peace or a re-embrace of Mr. Putin are for now sequestered in the political opposition.

Of course we want to achieve peace, that’s the goal for everybody, but it’s impossible to achieve this goal, peace, without justice, Antonio Tajani, Italy’s new foreign minister, said in a brief interview in his office on Wednesday. If you want peace, he added, you need to strengthen Ukraine.

How long such resolve will last remains the lingering question, especially with the uneasy realization that the war will stretch through winter, and most likely beyond, pushing Europeans into a new world of security threats and economic uncertainty. But many Europeans are girding themselves for the challenge. […]

A new survey by eupinions, a platform for European public opinion by the polling foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung, found that 57 percent of Europeans, down from 60 percent in the summer and 64 percent in March, still support sending arms to Ukraine. […]

But there are still signs that European resolve could yet soften under the weight of the economic toll and fears of a wider war or the use of nuclear weapons. Calls for peace have been a prominent feature of protests organized by the far right over high energy prices and inflation in Germany, where 60 percent of the population believes there is a need for more diplomatic initiatives. […]

Rolf Mützenich, the head of the party’s parliamentary group, accused the foreign minister of not doing more to find a diplomatic solution and argued that there needed to be a “balance” between the Ukrainian right to self-defense and the need for diplomacy. That feeling is simmering around Europe, though for now, it is relegated to the opposition. […]

New Developments 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1589728561598173184

  1. Ukrainians will not stop until they reach 1991 borders – Yermak, Ukrinform reports, citing Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. “Yermak said that efficiency works for Ukrainians and quantity for Russians. Not to count the dead and to forget about them is the whole essence of the Russian war. But quantity will never win over quality. And we will not stop until we reach the borders of 1991, he said.”
  2. Germany: Ukraine should decide when to hold peace talks with Russia. ReutersA spokesperson for the German government on Monday said it is up to Ukraine to decide when to hold peace talks with Russia, adding that Moscow has also been reluctant to participate in them.”
  3. Zelenskyy’s Office Reminded Conditions When Ukraine Would Agree To Open Negotiations with Kremlin, European PravdaMykhailo Podoliak, the adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, reminded that Ukraine has never completely refused negotiations with Russia but has a clear condition – the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine. […] On September 30, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was ready for negotiations with Russia but only with another president of the Russian Federation, not with Vladimir Putin. On that day, President Zelenskyy alsoput into effect the decision of the National Security and Defence Council about the impossibility of negotiating with […] Putin.”
  4. Ukraine church leader: No deal with Russia if they see us as a colony, ReutersThe head of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic Church met Pope Francis on Monday and said there can be no dialogue with Russia as long as Moscow considered the neighbour it invaded a colony to be subjugated. The war in Ukraine is a colonial war and peace proposals by Russia are proposals of colonial pacification, he said after meeting the pope at the Vatican.”
  5. White House’s Sullivan has talked to Russians about risk aversion -source, ReutersWhite House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has been engaged in confidential talks with senior Russian officials aimed at lowering the risk of a broader war over Ukraine, a source familiar with the conversations said on Monday. The source, who asked to remain unidentified, said the talks are ongoing.”
  6. Kremlin declines to comment on reported Ukraine talks with Biden aide, ReutersAccording to the [Wall Street Journal] report, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held talks with aides to President Vladimir Putin in the hope of reducing the risk that the war in Ukraine spills over or escalates into a nuclear conflict.”
  7. Russia’s Prigozhin admits interfering in US elections, ReutersIn comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia’s Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said: We have interfered (in US elections), we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”
  8. Ukraine seizes stakes in strategic companies under wartime laws, ReutersUkraine said on Monday it had invoked wartime laws to take control of stakes in a top engine-maker and four other strategic companies from some of the country’s richest men. It was the first time the government had used martial law for such a move since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. […] The companies included engine maker Motor Sich, energy companies Ukrnafta and Ukrtatnafta, vehicle maker AvtoKrAZ and transformer maker Zaporizhtransformator.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

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

Eastern Ukraine: (Eastern Kharkiv Oblast-Western Luhansk Oblast)

Russian forces likely continued efforts to fix Ukrainian troops on the international border in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast by conducting minor cross-border attacks on November 6. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 6 that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian attack on Zybyne, a settlement in northern Kharkiv Oblast about 3km south of the Russian border. Geolocated footage posted to social media on November 6 additionally depicts Russian troops digging trenches near the international border in Belgorod Oblast. As ISW has previously reported, such actions are likely intended to fix Ukrainian troops against the northern international border but do not presage a major Russian offensive (that Russian forces do not have the capacity to conduct), preventing some Ukrainian troops needed to screen the border from pursuing offensive operations elsewhere in Ukraine.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops continued counteroffensive operations in the Svatove direction on November 6 and 7. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on November 7 that Ukrainian forces attacked Nizhnya Duvanka, about 15km north of Svatove along the R66 Svatove-Kreminna highway. Russian sources, including the Russian MoD, additionally reported that Ukrainian troops attempted to advance towards Novoselivske, 14km northwest of Svatove […] A Russian milblogger noted on November 7 that fighting in the area northwest of Svatove has taken on a “positional nature” characterized by episodic and unsuccessful attempts by both Ukrainian and Russian troops to break through the frontline. Another Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army are holding defensive positions around Svatove. […] 

Russia forces conducted limited counterattacks to regain lost positions west of Kreminna on November 6 and 7. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled Russian assaults in the direction of Yampolivka (17km west of Kreminna) on November 6 and in the direction of Yampil (18km southwest of Kreminna) on November 7. Russian sources also reported that Russian troops launched limited counterattacks west of Kreminna towards Yampolivka and Makiivka on November 7. The Russian MoD and Russian milbloggers claimed […] that Ukrainian troops continued counteroffensive attacks northwest of Kreminna and unsuccessfully attempted to advance on Ploshchanka and Chervonopopivka, 10km and 5km northwest of Kreminna, respectively. […] 

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Russian forces continued defensive preparations in Kherson Oblast on November 6 and 7. Ukrainian military sources reported that Russian troops are attempting to hold occupied lines in the Kherson direction. Russian and Ukrainian sources continued to claim that Russian troops are facilitating the evacuation of civilians from the west bank of the Dnipro River, indicating continued concern over Ukrainian advances. Geolocated satellite imagery from October 29, November 3, and November 4 shows Russian defensive lines in Kakhovka (70km east of Kherson City), Hola Prystan (8km southwest of Kherson City), and Ivanivka (60km southwest of Kherson City) — all of which lie on the east bank of the Dnipro River.

Russian sources widely claimed on November 6 and 7 that Ukrainian forces are amassing in the Kherson direction. […] The Russian MoD and other Russian sources additionally claimed that Ukrainian troops attacked Russian positions along the current frontline in northern Kherson Oblast and in western Kherson Oblast near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border on November 6 and 7. […]

Ukrainian forces continued their interdiction campaign against Russian concentration areas throughout Kherson Oblast on November 6 and 7. Geolocated footage posted on November 6 shows the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on the “Golden Pheasant” hotel in Radensk (about 23km southeast of Kherson City), where Russian troops reportedly resided. Ukrainian military sources confirmed that Ukrainian strikes successfully targeted a large Russian concentration area in Radensk, as well as in the Beryslav Raion and Hola Prystan. […]

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) issued a rare statement on November 7 in response to extensive Russian milblogger outcry on November 6 about reported extensive losses and poor command within the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Pacific Fleet. Russian milbloggers published and circulated a letter that claimed Russian military leadership “threw” the brigade into an “incomprehensible offensive” near Pavlivka, Donetsk Oblast, where it suffered losses amounting to over 300 killed, wounded, and missing and lost half of its equipment, all within four days. The letter explicitly blamed Eastern Military District Commander Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov, 155th Naval Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Zurab Akhmedov, and Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov for the brigade’s losses and called on Primorsky Krai Governor Oleg Kozhemyako to conduct an independent review of the actions of the officers involved in planning and conducting the recent Russian offensive push in western Donetsk Oblast. The tone of many Russian milblogger responses to the letter resembles the response following the destruction of a Russian motorized rifle brigade crossing the SIverskyi Donets River on May 11, after which many pro-war milbloggers increased their direct criticism of the Russian military.

The Russian MoD issued a rare response on November 7 to the outcry on and claimed that less than one percent of the brigade was killed and less than seven percent was wounded within the past 10 days, and that Ukrainian forces suffered high losses instead. Kozhemyako also sought to address the outcry and claimed that the brigade’s losses are greatly exaggerated and (without providing evidence) speculated that the letter was a product of Ukrainian special services. Kozhemyako stated that he contacted the brigade’s command and referred the case to the Russian military prosecutor. Some Russian milbloggers agreed, claiming that Russian losses could not be as high as the brigade claimed, even calling the brigade’s letter exaggerated or fake. The Russian MoD has remained remarkably tight-lipped about milblogger critiques of Russian failures throughout the war in Ukraine — unlike the Kremlin, which will occasionally indirectly address milblogger narratives. The MoD’s public response to milblogger outcry indicates that some Russian milbloggers have considerable leverage to shape MoD interactions in the information space and additionally suggests that the situation in Pavlivka is dire enough to warrant a response.

Discourse regarding the widespread failures of the Russian military establishment has pervaded beyond the milblogger information space and is increasingly coloring social dynamics. Russian milbloggers stated that women, presumably relatives of Russian military and mobilized personnel, have been calling attention to the failing state of the war by reaching out to milbloggers and local government officials. ISW has observed multiple instances of Russian military personnel’s wives and mothers advocating for their relatives serving in the military by reaching out to local officials and prominent Russian milbloggers since the beginning of partial mobilization in late September. The Russian MoD’s failure to properly address these systemic issues and their root causes will likely exacerbate these societal tensions throughout the war.

The Russian pro-war siloviki faction is increasing its influence in part to advance personal interests in Russia and occupied Ukraine, not strictly to win the war. […] Prigozhin’s Unity Day media appearances also captured the same notion of cooperation between the Russian government and business, which likely indicates that he is attempting to grow his Wagner-focused power base in Russia while undercutting unified Russian operations in Ukraine. Prigozhin also started construction of an independent fortification dubbed the “Wagner Line” in Belgorod Oblast in late October. Prigozhin consistently defames St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov, and the recent grand opening of the Wagner Center in St. Petersburg on Unity Day may suggest that Prigozhin is attempting to infiltrate the city’s business sphere.

Another member of the siloviki party, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, is also reportedly attempting to secure business opportunities on the back of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Resistance Center noted that Kadyrov and his field commanders are growing business networks in the occupied territories, and Ukrainian officials previously claimed that Kadyrov’s men received loot from Mariupol for their participation in the seizure of the city in March­–April. ISW cannot independently verify the validity of these Ukrainian statements, but Kadyrov is behaving in line with Prigozhin by advertising enlistment into his forces and undermining the formal Russian Armed Forces. Kadyrov, for example, advertised his provision of military equipment to a proxy unit in occupied Donetsk Oblast on November 7; and Prigozhin similarly provided equipment to a Russian unit prior.

Both Prigozhin and Kadyrov remain independent figures within Russia due to Putin’s dependency on their forces in Ukraine. Russian journalists often ask Prigozhin about his ambitions for the Kremlin, which despite his repeated denials, show that he has created a public perception of his possibly entering a position of power. Such discussions deviate from Putin’s decades-long positioning of himself as the only viable leader for Russia.[…]

Prigozhin is continuing to pose himself as a Russian strongman within foreign affairs by promoting his own engagement in election interference. Prigozhin sarcastically acknowledged Bloomberg reports regarding his involvement in the US 2022 midterm elections, telling US government–funded outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: “Gentlemen, we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere.” Prigozhin’s admission to a US publication a day prior to US elections on November 8 likely intends both to undermine public perception of the validity of election results and promote Prigozhin to a Russian audience as a capable actor — in line with Prigozhin’s previous public admittance that he finances the Wagner Group, which he previously denied for years. […]

Russian occupation authorities are likely beginning a new phase of evacuations from Kherson Oblast. Kherson occupation deputy Kirill Stremousov stated that November 7 will be the last day of organized evacuations from the west bank of the Dnipro River. A Russian milblogger similarly noted that November 7 is the end of centralized evacuations in Kherson Oblast and that private evacuates will continue from November 8. Russian sources reported that the last boat transporting civilians from Kherson City to the east bank of the Dnipro departed on November 8 due to concerns of “increased threats to the civilian population.” The purported shift from centralized to privatized evacuation efforts suggests that Russian occupation officials have completed evacuation under formal guidelines and will increasingly continue evacuations from areas in Kherson Oblast on a more ad hoc and case-by-case basis. Russian officials may also be setting further information conditions to accuse Ukrainian forces of endangering civilian life by framing the end of centralized, administration-led evacuations as necessary to protect civilians.

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) issued a rare statement on November 7 in response to extensive Russian milblogger outcry about reported extensive losses and poor command within the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Pacific Fleet.
  • The Russian pro-war siloviki faction (including Yevgeny Prigozhin and Ramzan Kadyrov) is increasing its influence in part to advance personal interests in Russia and occupied Ukraine, not strictly to win the war.
  • Russian forces have greatly depleted their arsenal of high-precision weapons systems and have suffered significant aviation losses and will likely struggle to maintain the current pace of the Russian military’s coordinated campaign against Ukrainian critical infrastructure.
  • Russian occupation authorities likely began a new phase of evacuations from Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian troops continued efforts to fix Ukrainian troops against the international border in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops continued counteroffensive operations in the Svatove direction.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian troops conducted limited counter-attacks to regain lost positions west of Kreminna.
  • Russian sources widely claimed that proxy and Wagner Group troops entered the outskirts of Bilohorivka.
  • Russian sources reported that Ukrainian troops are massing in the Kherson Oblast direction.
  • Russian troops continued offensive operations around Bakhmut, in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area, and in western Donetsk Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted limited interdiction efforts against Russian concentration areas in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to make public statements and signed additional decrees to portray himself as taking steps to fix fundamental problems with partial mobilization in Russia.

Russian and occupation officials continue to abduct Ukrainian children, intimidate civilians, and escalate filtration measures.

Why Kherson, bracing for battle, matters so much to Russia and Ukraine, The New York Times reports. “In the face of a Ukrainian advance, Russian forces are making the occupied city of Kherson increasingly unlivable, in apparent preparation for a major battle there that has been looming for months. Both sides have given great weight to what happens in Kherson, the only regional capital seized by Moscow’s forces in their invasion this year; President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reportedly refused a request from his military to pull back from the city to more defensible positions.

The Russian flag has been taken down from administrative buildings, military checkpoints have been abandoned, most of the population and the Kremlin-appointed occupation government have fled, and essential services have stopped working. But so far there is no sign of Moscow’s military giving up on Kherson, in southern Ukraine, with Ukrainian forces saying that Russia has amassed 40,000 troops there. […]

But recent events have fueled speculation about what is happening and what comes next. A Russian pullback? A pitched battle for control of the battered city? A feigned withdrawal by the Russians to lure the Ukrainians into a trap? […]

The people remaining in the largely depopulated region report that Russians are cutting power supplies and drinking water not only to the city of Kherson but also to towns and villages all along the western bank of the Dnipro. {…] Ukrainian officials say that Russians, who have told civilians to evacuate, fear that those left behind could feed intelligence to the advancing Ukrainian forces or sabotage the Russian military. The Kremlin-appointed governor of the region has warned that any civilians still there could be treated as hostile.

Some 250,000 people lived in the city before the war. Ukrainian activists estimate that 30,000 to 60,000 people remain, but it is impossible to know how accurate such guesses are. […]

When Russian forces stormed across the Antonivsky Bridge over the Dnipro River in March and into Kherson city, a major port and a former shipbuilding center, it marked their biggest success of the early days of the war. Mr. Putin hoped to use the wider Kherson region as a bridgehead for a drive farther west, to the port city of Odesa, but that effort failed. If the Russian forces are driven back across the Dnipro, it would represent a deep symbolic and practical blow for the Kremlin, and its ambition to conquer all of southern Ukraine. The city of Kherson and surrounding country are the only Russian foothold remaining west of the river.

After Russia illegally seized the Crimean peninsula, to the south, Ukraine cut off a canal from the Dnipro that had been Crimea’s main fresh water supply. The invasion earlier this year allowed Russia to resume the flow of water, but further setbacks in Kherson could allow the Ukrainians to interrupt it again.With his refusal so far to retreat, Mr. Putin has signaled the prestige and strategic value he attaches to the region. […]

The Kherson region’s wide-open fields, crisscrossed by irrigation canals that make for excellent defensive positions, have slowed the Ukrainian approach, and the arrival of fall has turned much of the ground to mud. Analysts say that Russia has dispatched some of its most seasoned fighters to the region and stockpiled ammunition and other supplies there.

Ukraine’s military says that, despite the withdrawal of checkpoints, there is no evidence of a withdrawal of Russian forces. Both sides have issued public statements signaling a battle ahead.

If Moscow chooses to defend the city, military experts say it could be a bloody, street-by-street battle. Ukrainian forces are still far from the city limits, reportedly facing stiff resistance. […] Top officials in Kyiv have said that Moscow might be trying to create the illusion that its forces are leaving Kherson to draw Ukrainians into a fight.

Prigozhin is in conflict with Shoigu and wants to punish him, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing National Resistance Center. “Yevgeny Prigozhin, “Putin’s chef” and founder of the Wagner Group private military company, has been strengthening his position in the Russian Federation; he wants to punish Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Defence Minister because of the defeats of Russian occupiers on the battlefield in Ukraine. The available information says that contradictions are growing among the top military leadership of the Russian Federation.

Prigozhin blames the failures of Shoigu and [Valeriy] Gerasimov [Chief of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces], and they, in turn, blame Putin. At the same time, [Chechen leader Ramzan] Kadyrov and his field commanders are forming their business network in the temporarily occupied territories, gaining more and more power. […]

National Resistance Center notes that Russia is rapidly losing the military personnel of regular troops, but Kadyrovites [the troops controlled by Ramzan Kadyrov] are gaining more and more power. In addition, the size of Wagner Group private military company […] is getting bigger rapidly. If a few years ago Wagner Group acted exclusively as a private company providing services, now Prigozhin is creating a full-fledged army, which he himself manages. […]

The National Resistance Center believes that the degradation of Russian political elites leads to the return of feudal traditions in the Russian state administration. Thus, some political players in the Russian Federation are strengthening their own positions.”

The number of supporters of war decreases in Russia, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Meduza. “According to the survey data, peak support in Russia for the military intervention in Ukraine came during March-April 2022, and by autumn it had begun to gradually decrease. According to the results of the Russian Field poll for September, the “party of war” has significantly decreased in Russia (from 25% to 16%) and the “party of peace” has increased slightly (from 23% to 27%).

The results showed that women, young people and those on low incomes were the most critical towards the war. In addition, the majority of Russians expressed their trust in the country’s leadership and were ready to support them both in a new offensive operation and at the end of hostilities. According to the Russian poll, among those who support the invasion, only half believe that the war was necessary.

Most Ukrainians see Ukraine as a prosperous EU state in 10 years, European Pravda reports. “The absolute majority of surveyed Ukrainians believe that in 10 years Ukraine will be a prosperous EU member state. The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology reports about their survey. […] 88% of Ukrainians believe that in 10 years Ukraine will be a prosperous EU country. […] Only 5% of respondents have pessimistic expectations that in 10 years Ukraine will be a devastated country with an outflow of people. […]

In all regions, the absolute majority see the future of Ukraine with hope (from 90% in the West to 76% in the East). It should be taken into account that the current region of the East is the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, where the level of destruction and shelling is particularly intense. Despite this, 76% believe in a better future (and only 14% see ruin in the future). It is also important to pay attention to the South, which is also experiencing intense hostilities, but where 89% see Ukraine as successful after 10 years (with only 7% pessimists), sociologists note.

Among all age categories, the absolute majority optimistically assess the future of Ukraine. In particular, among 18-29-year-olds, the figure is 94%.»

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

Kuleba on brands still working in Russia: They directly funding genocide of Ukrainians, Ukrinform reports. “Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba repeated his call to boycott international companies that remain working in the Russian Federation and funding Russian war crimes.

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 258: 1,500 new graves discovered near Mariupol ~~

International companies which remain working in Russia are directly funding Russian war crimes and the genocide of Ukrainians. I reiterate my call on their customers and partners to boycott these brands until they stop making blood profits and pull out of Russia reads the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine posted on Twitter.

 

Hans Petter Midttun: “The Centre for Information Resilience analysed the images of Staryi Krym for the BBC’s Panorama programme and concluded that 1,500 new graves had been dug there since it last analysed images at the site in June. It now estimates that more than 4,600 graves have been dug there since the beginning of the war, although it says it cannot know how many bodies are buried at the site, the report says.”

Mariupol is a perfect example of our knowledge – or rather the lack of insight – into the scope of Russian atrocities.

As of 7 November the OHCHR had recorded 16,462 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 6,490 killed and 9,972 injured. Already three months ago, however, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that the number of civilians killed exceeded 7,000.

Unnamed Ukrainian officials believe that at least 25,000 people were killed in the fighting in Mariupol alone and that 5,000-7,000 of them died under the rubble after their homes were bombed. In early June, another unnamed Ukrainian official told The New York Times that at least 40,000 Ukrainian civilians had been killed or injured since the war began, but offered no further details.

According to an insider, Mariupol morgues are claimed to have documented 87,000 people killed during the Russian siege of the Ukrainian seaside city. In addition, the Novoazov Prosecutor’s Office has allegedly a database of unidentified killed people that contains 26,750 entries. Bodies of these people are buried and reburied in mass graves. That indicates that a staggering 113,750 might have died during the Russian siege. The problem is that even these numbers might prove to be inaccurate and conservative.

Experience has shown that the closer one gets to the site of atrocities, the higher the numbers.

Information from locations where there have been “intense hostilities” in Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts are lacking because most are still occupied by Russian forces.

The recent liberation of the Kharkiv oblast has repeatedly revealed the presence of previously unknown mass graves and torture chambers. Russia’s attempt of eradicating the Ukrainian nation has resulted in the systematic and massive killing of civilians, the extent of which will not be known before Ukraine is fully liberated.

I fear that – based on the unconfirmed numbers from various sources – that as many as 150-200,000 Ukrainians might have lost their lives after the full-scale invasion started.

Both systematic and indiscriminate killing will continue as long as the war lasts. The killing will not stop before the West intervene militarily to change the balance in favour of Ukraine, collapsing the Russian military efforts. The psychological effect alone could be sufficient to end the war.

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