Russo Ukrainian War. Day 262: Ukrainian defense forces liberate Kherson city

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukrainian defense forces liberate Kherson city. Ukrainian Armed Forces liberate around 3,000 square km in southern Ukraine in 24 hours. All of Mykolaiv Oblast except Kinburn Spit was liberated. Ukrainian forces strike Russian HQ in the Kherson region. Ukrainian forces reach the right bank of Dnipro in certain areas of the Kherson region. Abandoned Russian soldiers disguise themselves as civilians and hide weapons in Kherson. Ukrainians are advised not to return to the liberated Kherson region. Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence to the Russian military in Kherson: the only way to survive is to surrender. Antonivka Bridge is completely destroyed. Security Forces shut down a bot farm that was spreading Kremlin propaganda. Another 45 Ukrainian soldiers are freed from Russian captivity.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 12

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 262: Ukrainian defense forces liberate Kherson city ~~

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 12, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine, Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine, Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW.

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“[Defense forces continue to liberate Ukrainian lands in the Kherson direction. In the course of successful offensive actions, advanced units of our troops have already reached the right bank of the Dnieper in some places. Measures to identify and destroy Russian forces in a number of settlements are ongoing. Due to the safety of the operation, the official release of the results will be provided at a later date.]

In the liberated settlements of the Kherson region, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine are carrying out stabilization measures.

Russian forces are improving the fortification equipment of the defensive lines on the left bank of the Dnieper and are trying to hold the temporarily captured territories. At the same time, it conducts offensive operations in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions.

Over the past 24 hours, units of the Defence Forces repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of Masyutivka and Orlyanka settlements of the Kharkiv oblast; Novoselivske, Myasozharivka, Makiivka and Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast and Soledar, Bakhmut, Krasnohorivka, Verkhnokamianske, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Maryinka and Pavlivka in the Donetsk oblast.

Russian forces do not stop shelling units of the Defense Forces along the entire contact line and conduct 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 4 missile strikes, 23 airstrikes and more than 70 MLRS attacks. More than 25 settlements in the Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Vinnytsia, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts were hit.

The situation in the Volyn and Polissya directions has not changed significantly. The formation of the Russian-Belarusian grouping of troops on the territory of the Republic of Belarus continues. The threat of missile and air strikes by Russian forces remains. [The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, providing it with infrastructure, territory and airspace.]

Russian forces shelled in such other directions:

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Slobozhansky direction – from mortars and artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Bolohivka, Vilkhuvatka, Krasne, Ohirtseve and Staritsa of the Kharkiv oblast;
  • on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks and artillery of various calibres, in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Kislivka, Krokhmalne, Makiivka, Nevske, Novoselivske and Stelmakhivka of the Luhansk oblast; Berestov, Kupyansk and Tabaivka in Kharkiv oblast and Serebryanka and Terny in Donetsk oblast;
Donetsk Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks and the entire range of artillery, in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Verkhnyokamianske, Zalizne, Klishchiivka, Mayorsk, Opytne, Soledar and Yakovlivka settlements of the Donetsk oblast;
  • in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of Avdiivka, Vesele, Vodyane, Kamianka, Kostyantynivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Nevelske and Novomykhailivka settlements in Donetsk oblast;
  • in the Novopavlivskyi direction – from tanks and artillery of various types, in the areas of Bohoyavlenka, Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Neskuchne, Pavlivka and Prechystivka settlements of the Donetsk oblast;
  • in the Zaporizhzhia direction – from tanks and the entire range of artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Dorozhnyanka, Hulyaipole, Zeleny Hay, Malynivka, Olрivske, Stepove, Charivne, Chervone and Shcherbakн of the Zaporizhzhia oblast;
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 11, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Pivdennyy Buh direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of the settlements of Vyshchetarasivka in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast and Havrylivka, Dudchany, Zolota Balka, Mykhailivka and Novooleksandrivka in the Kherson oblast.

In the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblastі, Russian forces continue to use the buildings and territory of religious organizations, educational and health care institutions for the accommodation of military personnel, military equipment and the equipment of firing positions of mortars and artillery.

In the temporarily occupied territory of the Donetsk oblast, relations between the mobilized servicemen and the occupiers from the territory of the Chechen Republic remain tense. Thus, another skirmish in the city of Makiivka, Donetsk oblast resulted in the injury of 3 people.

It has been confirmed that the Defense Forces hit the concentration area of ​​the occupiers in the Zaporizhzhia region on November 10 of this year. As a result, Russian forces lost more than 100 people wounded. Information about the dead is being clarified.

[According to detailed information, the destruction of an enemy Mi-8 helicopter was confirmed in the area of ​​the settlement of Dniprovka, Zaporizhzhia oblast.]

[In the area of ​​the city of Enerhodar, an enemy control post was hit – more than 50 occupants were killed and more than 40 were wounded. A Ka-52 helicopter was also destroyed.]

[As a result of accurate strikes by the Defense Forces on the headquarters of the Russian occupying forces in the settlement of Chervony Mayak, Kherson oblast, more than 30 occupants were killed, 2 tanks and 4 trucks were destroyed.]

During the past 24 hours, Ukrainian aviation made 16 strikes against Russian forces. 13 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 3 positions of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, were affected.

Over the past day, our soldiers shot down at least one enemy UAV “Orlan”.

Units of missile forces and artillery of the Defense Forces hit 2 control points, 9 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment and 2 other important military objects of the occupiers.“

Military Updates

Ukrainian defense forces already in Kherson city, Ukrainska Pravda reported Friday afternoon. “Videos of Ukrainian soldiers entering Kherson on the afternoon of 11 November have appeared on social media; a Ukrainian flag is already flying over the building of the Main Police Department.

The video clearly shows a civilian in plain clothes assisting a soldier in attaching and raising a yellow and blue flag over the Main Police Headquarters in Kherson Oblast.

On 11 November, residents of Kherson went out into the streets with Ukrainian flags, waiting for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to enter the city.”

Ukrainian Armed Forces liberate around 3,000 square km in southern Ukraine in 24 hours, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Yesterday we reported about 260 square kilometres and today over 3,000 square kilometres have been liberated. Though there are still areas where enemy forces might linger.”

All of Mykolaiv Oblast except Kinburn Spit was liberated, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing “Vitalii Kim, the Head of the Mykolaiv Oblast Military Administration. “Now it’s official: the whole of Mykolaiv Oblast (except the Kinburn Spit) has been liberated. According to Kim, the water pipeline from the Dnipro River is under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, although it needs to be demined. Kim said he would soon announce the timeline for the potential restoration of the drinking water supply in Mykolaiv.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591234320710205441

Ukrainian forces strike Russian HQ in the Kherson region, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukraine’s Operational Command South. “The situation in the Tavriisk operational area is tense, but under control. Russian forces are taking up the defence along the left bank of the Dnipro River. But countermeasures continue on the right bank too. Russian forces, after its main units withdrew from the right bank, blew up the Antonivka [road and rail] bridges in order to complicate the further movement of our troops, the report reads.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591131179524456449

According to the report, Ukraine’s Defense Forces continue to take measures to de-occupy settlements in the Kherson direction. Due to successful offensive operations, advanced units of Ukrainian troops reached the right bank of the Dnipro River. Measures to identify and destroy Russian forces in a number of settlements are ongoing. Work has also begun in the regional centre. […]

Ukrainian aircraft twice struck concentrations of enemy equipment in the Beryslav and Kherson districts. The rocket and artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck 34 times at areas of concentration of enemy manpower and equipment. Confirmed losses of Russian forces include 25 soldiers, three Msta-S self-propelled howitzers, and six vehicles. Russian ammunition depot in the Kakhovka district was destroyed.

As a result of precision strikes by the Defense Forces on the headquarters of the Russian occupying forces in the settlement of Chervonyi Maiak, Kherson region, more than 30 occupiers were killed, and two tanks and four trucks were destroyed.”

Ukrainian forces reach the right bank of Dnieper in certain areas of the Kherson region, Ukrinform reports. “As a result of successful offensive actions in the Kherson direction, Ukraine’s Defense Forces have already reached the right bank of the Dnieper in certain areas. The relevant statement was made by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook”.

Abandoned Russian soldiers disguise themselves as civilians and hide weapons in Kherson, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Ukraine’s National Resistance Center.
The Center believes that the Russians may be trying to create the impression that there is “heroic resistance” against Ukraine’s Armed Forces. According to our underground movement, people in civilian clothes with weapons have been seen in different areas of the city. Also, Russian uniforms, helmets and bulletproof vests have been hidden in rubbish bins and separate building blocks.

The Russians may be trying to create the impression that the local residents are fighting back against the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In fact, these soldiers are just dead men walking to whom the command had promised a ‘way out’.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591118773758877698

Ukraine’s Defence Intelligence to the Russian military in Kherson: the only way to survive is to surrender, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “Russian servicemen! As expected, after the retreat of the main group of Russian army troops from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, your commanders abandoned you to your fate. Your commanders urge you to change into civilian clothes and try to escape from Kherson on your own. Obviously, you will not succeed.

Ukraine is taking Kherson back under its control, and units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are entering the city. The retreat routes of the Russian occupiers are under fire control by the Ukrainian army. Any attempts to oppose the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be stopped. Every Russian serviceman who resists will be killed. You have only one chance to avoid death: to surrender immediately. In the case of voluntary surrender, Ukraine guarantees your life and safety.

The [DIU[ has given assurances that Ukrainians adhere to the Geneva Conventions and guarantee prisoners of war food, medical care and the possibility of being exchanged for servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces captured by Russia.”

Antonivka Bridge is completely destroyed, propagandists say it was blown up by occupiers, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Russian media have published photos and videos of the destroyed Antonivka Road Bridge near Kherson, claiming that it had been blown up by the occupiers when they left the city for the left bank of the Dnipro River.

The Kherson media outlet Most has reported that the Russians had begun to destroy the infrastructure of Kherson before retreating; the occupiers had already blown up boiler houses, a TV tower and a facility belonging to Oblenergo [public energy supplier in Kherson Oblast – ed.]. 

According to [Yurii Stelmashenko, a member of Kherson City Council], during the retreat, the occupiers also blew up a water utility. A TPP (a thermal power plant) was also blown up. A TPP, an Oblenergo facility and a water utility. That is, now, after the arrival of the Ukrainian forces, we need very serious stabilisation measures to ensure such priority needs.

Security Forces shut down a bot farm that was spreading Kremlin propaganda, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the Security Service of Ukraine. “The Security Service of Ukraine has uncovered and blocked a bot farm which was working for the Russian secret services. It was created by people living in Vinnytsia Oblast and the city of Kyiv.

The bot farm was reported to have been spreading disinformation about the situation at the front on a massive scale and justifying Russia’s armed aggression. The propaganda was spread on behalf of “ordinary” citizens who are allegedly living in Ukraine, specifically in the temporarily occupied territories.”

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

  • On 11 November 2022, Russia’s Ministry of Defence claimed their withdrawal from Kherson had been completed. Russian forces highly likely destroyed road and rail bridges over the Dnipro River as part of this process.
  • The completion of the withdrawal came only two days after its announcement. It is likely that the withdrawal process had already started as early as 22 October 2022 when Russian-installed figures in Kherson urged civilians to leave the city. There is a realistic possibility that Russian military equipment and forces in civilian attire had been evacuating in conjunction with the 80,000 stated evacuated civilians in recent weeks.
  • Kherson was the only regional capital city captured since February by Russian forces so the withdrawal brings significant reputational damage. The withdrawal is a public recognition of the difficulties faced by Russian forces on the west bank of the Dnipro river.
  • It is likely that Ukraine has retaken large areas of Kherson oblast on the west bank of the Dnipro River, and that its forces are now largely in control of Kherson city itself. It is likely that Russia is still attempting to evacuate forces from other areas of the oblast across the river to defensible positions on the east bank.
  • Since 10 October, Russia has attacked Ukraine with a campaign of strikes targeting electric power infrastructure. To date, this action has come in waves. The most recent intense strikes were on 31 October, which involved targeting hydroelectric dam facilities for the first time. The strikes have resulted in widespread damage to transmission stations and power plants. Scheduled and emergency blackouts have become routine in parts of Ukraine, with Kyiv notably impacted.
  • Recoverability varies, and the impacts of strikes are unlikely to be felt uniformly. Continued degradation of networks by Russian strikes will almost certainly have consequences for interlinked water and heating systems, that will be most significantly felt by the civilian population during winter, as demand increases.
  • Russian strikes on power generation and transmission are having a disproportionate effect upon civilians in Ukraine, indiscriminately impacting critical functions such as healthcare and heating. The continued prioritisation of critical national infrastructure over military targets strongly implies Russian intent to strike at civilian morale.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 12 November, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Losses of the Russian Army in Ukraine. Source: MFA. ~

Losses of the Russian Army in Ukraine. Source: MFA.

  • Personnel – about 80210 (+810),
  • Tanks – 2838 (+24),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5730 (+34),
  • Artillery systems – 1829 (+12),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 393 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 205 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 278 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 261 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4279 (+20),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1506 (+1),
  • Special equipment – 160 (+1),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 399 (+0)

Ukrainian military describes the first batch of “Russian Lend-Lease” in Ukraine’s south, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Nataliia Humeniuk, head of the press centre of Operational Command South. “We discovered some equipment [abandoned by the occupiers – ed.]. It is dispersed. They tried to evacuate the bulk of it and moved it even across those alternative crossings that are not suitable for this. Our units recorded abandoned artillery installations, tanks, and armoured vehicles. We are gathering abandoned pieces in the fields. We will definitely send back in the opposite direction[to Russian units-ed.] those pieces that are in working order – send them in the form of projectiles.”

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591167039259181056

Ukrainians are advised not to return to the liberated Kherson region, for now, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Ukrainians are being advised to wait before going back to the liberated Kherson Oblast because Russians are launching attacks on this territory and local power facilities.

The settlements in the Beryslav district which have been liberated from Russian forces are now under constant attack, and the situation there is worsening. Infrastructure and communications are being damaged. We do not recommend going back there. Winter is coming and [it will likely] be impossible to repair communications and provide services to the population.”

Another 45 Ukrainian soldiers are freed from Russian captivity, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. “Another prisoner exchange took place: we were able to free 45 soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including soldiers and sergeants who had defended our country in battles. We were additionally able to bring back the bodies of two fallen soldiers. We will bring all Ukrainians home.”

Another swap has just ended, and 45 Ukrainian defenders have returned home, which means that a total of 1,183 Ukrainians have returned home within swaps since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale aggression, and we continue to prepare next swaps, Andriy Yusov, a representative of the press service of the [Defence Intelligence of Ukraine], said.”

Environment

Christmas illuminations prohibited in Ukraine’s Kyiv Oblast to save electricity.

U.N. nuclear watchdog says Ukraine research facility damaged, no material missing, Reuters reports. “The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog on Friday said a probe of a research facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv found it was badly damaged, but there were no signs of a radiological release or diversion of nuclear material.

An International Atomic Energy Agency team visited the Kharkiv Institute of Technology from Nov 8 to 10, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in a statement. In June, Ukraine said Russia had shelled the facility. Although radiation levels were normal, the extent of damage to this nuclear research facility is dramatic and shocking, even worse than expected, Grossi said.”

Huge areas across the Kherson region have been mined by Russians, Ukrinform reports, citing Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. “In terms of infrastructure, they destroy everything that can be destroyed. And unfortunately, we can confirm today that a huge area has been mined. Moreover, we don’t rule out that the large explosives have been planted. And that is why the population should be very careful about the issue.

And until the time when our Armed Forces, our soldiers give the go-ahead to return to those settlements that they liberate every day, we recommend that the people not return home, unfortunately. That’s because the territory must be cleared of mines and explosives. This is a big job for our boys and girls who are engaged in this work, Danilov emphasized.”

Huge parts of Ukraine need to be demined, Ukrinform reports. “At the peak of mine contamination in Ukraine, we had 300,000 square kilometres of dangerous territory. Today, thanks to the true heroism of Ukrainian sappers and explosives technicians, our rescuers and everyone who helps them, the area of land contaminated by mines and munitions has been reduced. Now about 170,000 square kilometres remain for demining. In particular, this is also the case in the most difficult areas – where hostilities are still ongoing, where Russian forces will add mines before his retreat, as it is now in Kherson…” the President said.

Zelensky thanked international partners who implement mine clearance assistance projects: the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Austria, Poland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, and UN agencies.”

Legal 

Bodies of civilians killed by occupiers were found in liberated Kherson Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Office of the Prosecutor General. “Law enforcement officers have discovered the remains of bodies of three civilians in liberated territories of Kherson Oblast. The information available indicates that their skulls had been fractured.

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 262: Ukrainian defense forces liberate Kherson city ~~

430 children were killed, 829 children injured, 11,028 deported by foe forces, and 279 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of November 12.

2,719 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 332 of them are destroyed fully.

46,269 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 18,861 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Funds for Ukraine’s first sea drone “Kherson” raised in less than an hour – Zelensky, Ukrinform reports, citing President Zelensky. “On our platform United24, funds are being raised to create a fleet of naval drones. I announced what it would be like. So, now everyone – and not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries – can participate in setting up the world’s first fleet of sea drones, something that can provide security to our marine water area. The first sea drone, for which funds were raised in less than an hour, was named ‘Kherson’.”

Lithuanians raise $250,000 for a naval drone for Ukraine – Fedorov, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov. “We have another naval drone! Lithuanian journalist Andrius Tapinas and the people of Lithuania collected 250,000 dollars. They will be transferred through UNITED24, Fedorov wrote, adding that the Lithuanian friends of Ukraine will choose a name for the drone themselves.

A drone boat is a unique and classified Ukrainian development. One such drone costs UAH 10 million. The price includes a drone equipped with an autopilot system, video subsystems, including night vision systems, special communications protected from the influence of hostile electronic warfare equipment, backup communication modules and a warhead, as well as a ground-based autonomous control station, transportation and storage systems, and a data center.”

Germany allocates extra 1 bln euros to Ukraine cyber-defence, documenting war crimes, Reuters reports. “The German government has earmarked an extra 1 billion euros ($1.03 billion)from its 2023 budget to support Ukraine, with money allocated to defending against Russian cyberattacks and collecting evidence of war crimes, a document showed.

The extra allocation comes amid rows over whether Germany should step up its provision of military aid to Ukraine, which says it needs offensive battlefield weapons, including tanks, to take the fight to the Russian army. The earmark is a win for the Greens, the coalition party which has been the strongest advocate of military support for Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion in February.

Germany is the third largest military donor to Ukraine, though far behind the United States, whose weapons deliveries have been crucial to the Ukrainian armed forces’ battlefield successes.”

European Commissioner: 40% Of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is not functional, EU to help with restoration, European Pravda reports. “The European Union will help Ukraine repair and replace energy infrastructure damaged in waves of Russian attacks. The damage is significant. 40% of the infrastructure is not functional. So the winter will be very tough. Step by step we can repair the damage. Also, Ukraine has been connected to our electricity grid since March. So Europe can also provide additional electricity flows to replace part of the lost electricity production from Ukrainian land, Kadri Simson, European Energy Commissioner, told in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

She reminded about the creation of the Ukraine Energy Support Fund with the Energy Community, so that countries both from the EU and from outside could support Ukraine.

In many cases, it’s not a question of funding, but a need for very specific machinery and equipment, which is the problem. The energy community and my services are reaching out to companies that may have this equipment in stock. We’ve already had some positive responses. So the first transformers are on the way to replace those that were damaged in waves of Russian attacks by drones or missiles, Simson said.

New Developments 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591217664692666369

  1. Kremlin states that goals of “special operation” can be achieved through negotiation, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian President, said that the goals of the so-called ” special operation” [the official term used by Russians to describe the ongoing war with Ukraine – ed.] can be achieved through peaceful negotiations with Ukraine.
  2. Russian Defence Ministry said that Russian troops have completely withdrawn from Kherson, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “During the transfer to the left bank of the Dnipro, not a single unit of military equipment and weapons was left on the right bank, all Russian servicemen have crossed over, and no Russian weapons, equipment and material resources belonging were lost. RIA Novosti reported that the withdrawal of the Russian invaders ended at 5 am on 11 November.”
  3. Medvedev calls on Russians not to panic over Kherson: he hopes to capture it again, Ukrainska PravdaDmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, has announced to Russians that they need not panic over the retreat of the Russian army from Kherson, and assured them that all of the annexed territories would eventually be Russian.
  4. Peskov says Russia has not withdrawn its claims to the entire Kherson Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Dmitry Peskov, the Russian President’s spokesperson. “Russia continues to consider Kherson, which it occupied and annexed, its territory, despite the retreat of troops to the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.”
  5. There will be no “freezing” of war – Secretary of National Security Council of Ukraine, Ukrainska PravdaOleksii Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, has stated that Ukraine is not planning to “freeze” the war after liberating Kherson.”
  6. N. and Russian officials met to discuss the Black Sea grains deal, Reuters reports. “Senior United Nations officials met with a Russian delegation in Geneva on Friday to discuss Moscow’s grievances about the Black Sea grains export initiative and address the need for unimpeded food and fertilizer exports, a U.N. spokesperson said. The negotiations come eight days before the deal brokered by the U.N. and Turkey in July is due to be renewed. The accord has helped stave off a global food crisis by allowing the export of food and fertilisers from several of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.”
  7. Kremlin: Work underway to address Russia’s concerns on grain deal, ReutersRussia’s agricultural exports have not been explicitly targeted by Western sanctions, but Moscow says blocks on Russia’s payments, logistics and insurance industries were a “barrier” to Russia being able to export its own grains and fertilisers.”
  8. Ukraine minister urges ASEAN to stop Russian ‘hunger games’, ReutersUkraine’s foreign minister on Saturday urged Southeast Asian countries to take all measures possible to stop Russia from playing “hunger games” over a Ukrainian Black Sea grain deal, which could expire next week.”

Ukraine, Czechia to create joint defense cluster. Read more here. 

After the war, joining NATO to become Ukraine’s priority – Deputy PM for European, Euro-Atlantic Integration. Read more here.

Assessment 

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-november-11*

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 11 November, 2022:

Ukrainian forces are completing the liberation of the western (right) bank of Kherson Oblast after the Russians retreated from it. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces completed the withdrawal to the eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River at 5 am local time on November 11. While contingents of Russian soldiers likely remain on the west bank, they are likely scattered throughout the Oblast and attempting to retreat as Ukrainian forces push towards the Dnipro River, although some may have remained behind to attempt to conduct partisan activities in small groups. It is unclear how many Russian soldiers remain on the west bank at this time. Russian sources noted that the withdrawal lasted three days and claimed that 20,000 Russian personnel and 3,500 units of military equipment moved across the Dnipro River.

Satellite imagery corroborates statements made by both Ukrainian and Russian sources that Russian troops destroyed the Antonivsky Bridge and Railway Bridge (near Kherson City) and the Nova Kakhovka dam bridge (east of Kherson City near Nova Kakhovka) over the Dnipro River and the Darivka Bridge (northeast of Kherson City) over the Inhulets River in a final attempt to block Ukrainian advances towards central Kherson Oblast. Geolocated satellite imagery also indicates that Russian troops have prepared first and second lines of defense south of the Dnipro River and will likely continue efforts to consolidate positions on the left bank in the coming days.]

Ukrainian troops made major territorial gains throughout Kherson Oblast on November 11 and will continue consolidating control of the western bank in the coming days. Geolocated footage and imagery shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced into Kherson City likely along the T1501 highway from the west and M14 from the north and have taken control of Kherson City and several surrounding settlements along these roads. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) notably confirmed that Ukrainian troops advanced into Kherson City, and geolocated social media footage shows civilians greeting Ukrainian troops in the center of Kherson City. Ukrainian troops also notably took control of Kyselivka and Chornobaivka, two critical settlements along the M14 northwest of Kherson City. Geolocated social media additionally shows that Ukrainian troops have advanced south along T1505 highway from positions in Snihurivka (northeast of the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border) and liberated several settlements on this line, including Lymanets and Inhulets. Ukrainian forces entered Beryslav (60km east of Kherson City), and social media footage provides evidence of Ukrainian troops in settlements along the P47 highway that runs westward from the Beryslav area towards Kherson City. Footage posted to Telegram notably shows Ukrainian troops in Tiahynka, a settlement between Kherson City and Beryslav, directly on the western shore of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces will continue to drive down major roads towards the Dnipro River and liberate additional settlements in the coming days.

ISW has recoded all western Kherson Oblast as liberated based on our high confidence assessment that the Russians have deprived themselves of the ability to hold terrain on the right bank of the Dnipro. Ukrainian forces will complete the liberation of any areas not yet under their control rapidly.

Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian MoD’s statements about the Russian withdrawal to the left bank but generally took a more muted attitude to Ukrainian gains on November 11. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces did not leave a single piece of equipment behind during the withdrawal period, which certain milbloggers directly refuted as blatantly untrue. Many milbloggers, however, presented a relatively matter-of-fact overview of the situation in Kherson Oblast, largely confirmed Ukrainian gains, and emphasized that the retreat itself was a militarily-sound and necessary choice. As ISW previously reported, Russian military leadership, namely Commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, Army General Sergey Surovikin, have been developing informational cover to set conditions for the loss of the right bank. The generally muted milblogger response to such a massive Russian defeat is consistent with ISW’s previous observations of informational mitigations carried out by Surovikin and suggests that milbloggers will continue to focus their discontent on the Russian MoD establishment while backing Surovikin — at least for now.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove on November 11.[…] A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted assaults on Russian strongholds in Kuzemivka (13km northeast of Svatove) and rotated personnel on the Pishchane-Stelmakhivka line. […] A video posted on November 11 shows a Russian servicemember claiming that Ukrainian forces are amassing in Chervonopopivka. A Russian milblogger claimed on November 11 that Russian forces fired on Ukrainian forces rotating personnel into the Nevske-Terny area west of Kreminna. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults within 15km northwest of Svatove near Novoselivske and Miasozharivka, 22km northwest of Kreminna near Makiivka, and 12km south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka. The Luhansk Oblast Administration reported that heavy fighting is occurring in areas near Lysychansk. Russian forces conducted counterattacks in eastern Kharkiv and western Luhansk oblasts likely intending to constrain the actions of Ukrainian forces instead of regaining limited territory.

Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian logistics in Luhansk Oblast on November 11. The Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) People’s Militia claimed on November 11 that Ukrainian forces struck Kadiivka, Artemivsk, Krinichne, Svatove, and Lysychansk with 18 HIMARS rockets. A BARS-13 (Russian combat reserve) representative amplified a claim from an LNR People’s Militia officer stating that Ukrainian forces intensified shelling on industrial enterprises in Luhansk Oblast, including a coal mine in Krinichne, a construction company in Kadiivka, and a concrete plant in Svatove.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian forces are completing the liberation of the western (right) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian troops have made major territorial gains throughout Kherson Oblast on November 11 and will continue consolidating control of the western bank in the coming days.
  • Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian MoD’s statements about the Russian withdrawal to the left bank but generally took a more muted attitude to Ukrainian gains.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations towards Kreminna and Svatove, Luhansk Oblast, and Ukrainian forces targeted Russian logistics in rear Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued ground assaults around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian force concentrations in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Wagner Group financer Yevgeny Prigozhin continued to form parallel military structures in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts, even though there is no threat of a Ukrainian ground invasion into Russian territory.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) subpar conduct of partial mobilization continues to generate social tension.

Ukrainian partisans continued to target Russian occupation authorities.“

What’s Next After Kherson, The New York Times asks? “Ukrainian forces were greeted by cheering crowds as they entered Kherson today after Russia withdrew its forces from the southern city. Residents raised the Ukrainian flag in the main square in celebration. The loss of Kherson, the only regional capital to be captured by Russia in nearly nine months of war, is a humiliation for Putin. Six weeks ago, he announced that Russia was annexing Kherson and three other regions of Ukraine and vowed that they would “forever” belong to Russia.

For Ukraine, the return of Kherson is one of its most significant victories of the war. President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was a “historic day.” So what happens now? Despite this blow to Russia, analysts agree that the war is far from over. Here’s a look at what might lie ahead.

A flare-up in fighting: Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, said the withdrawal would free up troops — thought to be among his army’s best trained and battle-hardened — to fight elsewhere on the front line. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister, expects an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine. The only way Surovikin could realistically sell the idea of the Kherson retreat to Putin was by offering the promise of assured success in the east, wrote Zagorodnyuk, now a fellow at the Atlantic Council, a research organization based in Washington. Ukraine must therefore brace for a major escalation in the Donbas region in the coming weeks.

A winter war: Some US officials have suggested that the fighting could slow down over the winter because conditions would be more difficult. That appears to be a point of contention among some analysts, who say that it is not in Ukraine’s interests to ease up. Winter weather could disproportionately harm poorly equipped Russian forces in Ukraine, but well-supplied Ukrainian forces are unlikely to halt their counteroffensives due to the arrival of winter weather and may be able to take advantage of frozen terrain to move more easily than they could in the muddy autumn months, the Institute for the Study of War wrote. Ukraine is about to receive an additional $400 million in US military aid that includes air defense systems and cold weather gear.

Peace talks: Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in, and should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table, reports Peter Baker, our chief White House correspondent. Other advisers to President Biden disagree. Some US officials say that peace talks remain a distant prospect and that both sides think continued fighting will strengthen their eventual negotiating positions.

The endgame: Western and Ukrainian officials are starting to envisage what a stable conclusion to the war might look like, The Economist reports. Will Ukraine become a new Finland, forced to cede land and remain neutral? Or another West Germany, with its territory partitioned and its democratic half absorbed into NATO? Another template is Israel, which has been able to defend itself against hostile neighbors with extensive US military support. Last night, Biden told reporters that the conflict would not be resolved “until Putin gets out of Ukraine.

Top US General urges diplomacy in Ukraine while Biden advisers resist, The New York Times reports. “A disagreement has emerged at the highest levels of the United States government over whether to press Ukraine to seek a diplomatic end to its war with Russia, with America’s top general urging negotiations while other advisers to President Biden argue that it is too soon.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made the case in internal meetings that the Ukrainians have achieved about as much as they could reasonably expect on the battlefield before winter sets in and so they should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table, according to officials informed about the discussions.

But other senior officials have resisted the idea, maintaining that neither side is ready to negotiate and that any pause in the fighting would only give President […] Putin a chance to regroup. While Mr. Biden’s advisers believe the war will likely be settled through negotiations eventually, officials said, they have concluded that the moment is not ripe and the United States should not be seen as pressuring the Ukrainians to hold back while they have momentum.

The debate, which the officials described on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss sensitive deliberations, has spilled out into public in recent days as General Milley made public comments hinting at his private advice. “Seize the moment,” he said in a speech in New York on Wednesday. He elaborated in an interview on CNBC on Thursday. We’ve seen the Ukrainian military fight the Russian military to a standstill, he said. Now, what the future holds is not known with any degree of certainty, but we think there are some possibilities here for some diplomatic solutions.

The White House, however, made a point of distancing itself from any perception that it is pushing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to cede territory to Russian invaders even as Moscow pulls forces back from the strategic city of Kherson.

The United States is not pressuring Ukraine, Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters on Thursday. We’re not insisting on things with Ukraine. What we are doing is consulting as partners and showing our support not just through public statements or moral support but through the tangible, physical support of the kind of military assistance I mentioned before.

Russia and Belarus prolong joint military exercises, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Belaruski Hajun. “Russia and Belarus have prolonged training of the regional joint force of the so-called Union State [Russia and Belarus] at least until 21 November. The monitoring outlet reported that the total number of prolongations has been 29 weeks (from 29 April).”

Ukraine Army calls on Russian and Belarusian soldiers to surrender, Ukrinform reports. “The appeal was posted by the General Staff press service on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.

In the video clip, the Ukrainian military asks Belarusians not to follow the criminal orders of their command, calling on them to turn off the engines of their combat vehicles, discharge weapons, and raise white flags. In return, the Belarusian army will receive guarantees of a dignified stay in specially equipped military bases, while their equipment and weapons will be stored in proper conditions, and the soldiers will be able to return home, taking back their weapons once the war is over.

At the same time, the General Staff recalled that Russian forces fighting against Ukraine have two options: surrender, which would save their lives, or die on the battlefield.”

Ukraine is building a wall on its border with Belarus, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. “In the north, another type of work is underway; here a wall on the border with Belarus is being built. 

A ditch, an embankment, a reinforced concrete wall with barbed wire: these are the engineering barriers being built in Volyn Oblast. About 3 km of the border has thus already been covered, and the work is ongoing. This is not all, but we will not reveal the details. Works are also being carried out in Rivne and Zhytomyr oblasts”.

Tymoshenko stated that fortifications are being built in an oblast bordering Russia. He added that Ukrainian border guards have all the necessary equipment to see Russian forces far in the rear”.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591128623750299648

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

EU proposes cyber defence plan as concerns about Russia mount, Reuters reports. “The European Commission proposed on Thursday two action plans to address the deteriorating security situation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to bolster cyber defence and to allow armed forces to move faster and better across borders. The EU executive said Russian cyber attacks on European Union countries and their partners were a “wake-up” call. More action was needed to protect citizens and armed forces, and cooperation with NATO should be stepped up, it said. […]

Separately, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned of growing cyberspace threats, noting recent attacks against satellites, critical infrastructure and government departments, especially as part of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Cyber is a constantly contested space and the line between peace, crisis and conflict is blurred, the head of the US-led defence alliance said in a speech in Rome. […]

The policy proposed by the European Commission would boost EU cyber defence capabilities and strengthen coordination and cooperation between the military and civilian cyber communities.

The initiative is part of a series of measures proposed by the Commission to strengthen EU cybersecurity amid a spate of cyberattacks on governments and businesses worldwide. Last week EU cybersecurity agency ENISA said the invasion of Ukraine had led to more damaging and widespread cybersecurity attacks in the EU in the year to July.

A separate Action Plan on Military Mobility proposed by the Commission aims to help EU countries and their partners to transport troops and equipment more efficiently, work towards “better connected and protected infrastructure” and reinforce cooperation with NATO. “… for military forces to make a real difference on the ground, they must move fast. They must not be blocked over bureaucracy or a lack of adapted infrastructure,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager told Thursday’s news conference.”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: What’s next after Kherson? A flare-up in fighting? A winter war? A temporarily lull in fighting? Peace talks? Several options are being discussed.

The questions are: Are any of the parties about to collapse and be defeated? Have they achieved their strategic aim and objectives? If not, do they believe them to be within reach?

To the first two questions, the answers are a resounding NO.

Russia is nowhere close to defeating Ukraine as a part of its ambition for Great Power status at the cost of the US, NATO, and the EU. As previously stressed, having started a war in Europe and become the most heavily sanctioned country in history, this is a now-or-never moment for the Russian Federation. It either continues in the hope of a victory or it will see its “imperialistic” ambitions crushed for decades to come.

Ukraine has not yet liberated all occupied territories. It knows perfectly well that if Russia stops fighting there will be peace, but if Ukraine stops, Ukraine will cease to exist.

Its fight is not only about territory but also about the future security, stability, and prosperity of Ukraine. As long as Russia occupy parts of its territory, its “imperial” ambitions are kept alive. The territory will constitute the launch pad for the next offensive. Equally important, if the present territories remain occupied – parts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, and the Crimean Peninsula – Ukraine will have forever lost the economic foundation as an independent state. It will have both forlorn tremendous mineral, gas and oil resources at sea and on land, as well as the freedom to export and import goods over the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It will also remain unattractive to international investors crucial for the rebuilding of the country.

Ukraine has no other option than to continue fighting until the Russian forces are fully evicted.

The answer to the last question – do Russia and Ukraine believe the strategic aim and objectives to be within reach – is an equally resounding YES.

Unfortunately, Russia still believes that success is very much possible. The decision to withdraw from the west bank has freed up some of its best forces and established a robust defensive line on the east bank of the Dnipro River. It will allow Russia to redeploy and strengthen its efforts elsewhere or open new fronts. It will also enable it to hold the line as “King Winter” works its magic across Europe. The “tsunami of ripple effects” will continue to influence Western resolve, resilience and unity.

It gives Russia a respite while its force generation efforts make progress. It has mobilised 300,000 – 1,000,000 (exact numbers are not known) of its citizens for renewed efforts to defeat Ukraine. The great majority of these are still being trained and equipped (admittingly sparingly and with old equipment) for the next push. It is also in the process of building a joint Russian-Belarusian force.

It will continue destroying critical Ukrainian infrastructure in the hope to bring society to a standstill, break the (unbreakable) Ukrainian spirit and further weaken the economic viability of the state.

Russia is likely to escalate its hybrid war against the West. European pipelines and communication/internet cables will be under increasing threat as Russia seeks to weaken Western resolve and resilience. These are critical vulnerabilities that are extremely hard to protect.

For anyone familiar with Ukrainian recent history – from its War of Independence (1917-21), Holodomor (1932-33), the Great Terror (1937-38), World War 2 (Ukraine being the main target of Nazi-Germany’s assault), Chornobyl (1986) to the present-day war (2014-ongoing) – knows that Ukraine cannot be broken. It will continue fighting for its right to exist even when all hope is lost. At this juncture in history, its tremendous spirits and efforts are supported by massive Western defence, humanitarian and financial support and far-reaching sanctions reducing Russia’s ability to wage war.

Recent success has boosted their resolve and hopes to defeat Russia.

Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom, while Russians don’t even know what they are fighting for. Ukraine has built one of the best armies in the world, while Russia lost most of its elite units. Ukraine was able to build a reliable supply chain, while HIMARS and Russian ineptitude weaken the supply lines of Russia. Ukraine shows ingenuity, while Russia seeks inspiration from its past. Ukraine demonstrates leadership, while Russian forces suffer from indifference and lack of leadership.

The liberation of Kherson city and the west bank of the oblast serves as an enormous boost of morale for Ukraine. It also serves as a reminder that the toughest part of the war lies ahead of it.

The fall of Kherson was inevitable after the introduction of HIMARS allowing Ukraine to target the very vulnerable Russian ground lines of support. The bridges constituted a unique vulnerability that has been brilliantly explored by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. That advantage, however, has been used once and for all. The area east of the Dnipro River does not offer similar obvious features.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv in September took Russia by surprise. As a consequence, it has mobilised hundreds of thousands to deny Ukraine the possibility of future routs. It is even building the capacity to renew its offensive, possibly forcing Belarus to join its efforts.

Consequently, the war will continue unabated. Being superiorly prepared, motivated, and equipped for winter war, the upcoming months will, however, offer Ukraine a unique opportunity to break the will of the Russian Armed Forces.

This is not the time for peace talks to “cement Ukrainian gains at the bargaining table”. It is time to join forces with King Winter to evict the Russian forces. This is, therefore, also the moment the West needs to supply Ukraine with the tools they need to win.

Ukraine needs German Leopard and American Abrams tanks. They need long-range fire capable of destroying Russian logistics far behind the front line, including on Russian territory.

But most of all – and I might have made the point 262 times before – Europe desperately needs a Western military intervention in support of Ukraine.

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