Russo Ukrainian War. Day 263: Kherson at the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

The Russian troops launched 4 missile and 16 air strikes,  and more than 40 MLRS attacks, damaging more than 20 settlements in the Zaporizhzhia, Cherkasy, Kharkiv, and Donetsk Oblasts. Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson City causes discord in the Russian power elite. Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove. Ukrainian forces continued to liberate settlements on the right (western) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Russian forces continued offensive operations in the direction of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar. Belarus is indignant that Ukraine is strengthening its border. Satellite images of Sevastopol confirm a sharp decrease in the activity of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. The water supply in Mykolaiv will be restored no earlier than 10-15 days. Two bulk carriers with grain to leave Ukrainian ports for countries on brink of famine. The situation in Kherson is close to a humanitarian catastrophe. Netherlands to allocate additional 110 million euros to support Ukraine in winter.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 13

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591691467369627650

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 13, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two-hundred-sixty-third (263) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
Over the past day, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of the settlements of Stelmakhivka and Novoselivske in the Luhansk oblast and Torske, Bakhmut, Bilohorivka, Spirne, Toretsk, Krasnohorivka, Pervomaiske, Maryinka, Novomykhailivka and Pavlivka in the Donetsk oblast.
Stabilization measures are ongoing in the liberated settlements of the Kherson oblast. The enemy continues the fortification equipment of the defensive lines on the left bank of the Dnieper.
Over the past 24 hours, the enemy launched 4 missile and 16 air strikes, launched more than 40 MLRS attacks.
More than 20 settlements in the Zaporizhzhia, Cherkasy, Kharkiv and Donetsk regions 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 enemy shelled in such other directions:’
Kharkiv Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Slobozhanskyi direction – from mortars and barrel artillery, in the areas of Ternova, Bolohivka, Vilkhuvatka, Zelene, Kolodyazne, Ohirtseve and Starytsa settlements;
in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks and artillery of various calibres, in the areas of the settlements of Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Rozdolivka, Siversk, Kislivka, Nevske, Makiivka, Ploshanka and Tabaivka;
Donetsk Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source ISW.

in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery, in the areas of Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Mayorsk, Ozaryanivka, Ivanhrad, Verkhnokamianske, Zelenopillia, Spirne and New York;
in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks and the entire variety of artillery, in the areas of Avdiivka, Maryinka, Vodyanе, Kamianka, Krasnohorivka, and Novomykhailivka;
in the Novopavlivka direction – from tanks and artillery of various types, in the areas of the settlements of Vremivka, Vuhledar, Novoukrayinka, Pavlivka, Poltavka, Paraskoviivka, and Prechistivka;
in the Zaporizhzhia direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery, in the areas of the settlements of Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Shcherbaky, Malynivka, Novodanylivka, Novopil, Olhivske;’
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 12, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Tavriiskyi direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of Mylove, Zolota Balka and Mykhailivka settlements.
In the Brest region of the republic of belarus, especially in the areas where the incoming units of the armed forces of the russian federation are stationed, social tension is significantly increasing. In particular, local hospitals are overloaded with work with russian servicemen who are massively ill due to unsatisfactory conditions of detention in tent cities. Doctors are forced to refuse services to citizens of the republic of belarus who need treatment.
On November 12, another reinforcement from the number of mobilized russian citizens arrived in the occupied Melitopol of the Zaporizhzhia oblast. The specified category of enemy servicemen, after arriving in the city, buys food, civilian clothes and a large amount of alcoholic beverages.
According to the updated information, it has been confirmed that the Defence Forces hit the concentration area of ​​the occupiers in the Kherson oblast. In the area of ​​the settlement of Dnipryany, a high-precision strike was carried out on a building where up to 500 occupants were located. According to its results, two trucks of dead invaders were taken to Tavriysk. 56 seriously injured people were taken to the nearest hospital, of which 16 more died soon after. The final information on the losses of the occupants is being clarified.
During the past day, the aviation of the Defence Forces of Ukraine struck the enemy 13 times. 8 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 5 positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems, were damaged.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Belarus is indignant that Ukraine is strengthening its border. Read more here.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591627158874558464

Cluster munitions scattered in Zaporizhzhia as Ukraine shoots down Russian rocket – city council

Satellite images of Sevastopol confirm a sharp decrease in the activity of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, even near the coast, where the Russian ships used to be based regularly .

️The military administration has returned to Kherson.


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

  • On 9 November 2022, Education Minister Sergey Kravstov stated that military training will return to Russian schools, beginning in September 2023. This reprises a Soviet-era programme where students had mandatory military training, a programme which ended in 1993. This training included contingencies for a chemical or nuclear attack, first aid and experience handling and firing Kalashnikov rifles.
  • Russian officials attempted to revive this training in 2014 following Russia’s invasion of Crimea. It was hoped that the initiative would improve the quality of conscripts. Eight years later, little has changed, and the quality of Russian conscripts remains poor, with low morale and limited training. 
    A training programme is currently being drafted and will be completed by the end of 2022. It will then undergo an approvals process.
  • The Russian MOD supports this process, stating that no less than 140 hours per academic year should be devoted to this training.
  • This training likely intends to prepare students with military skills as they approach conscription age and to increase the take-up for mobilisation and conscription drives.

 

  • This initiative is also likely to be part of a wider project to instil an ideology of patriotism and trust in public institutions in the Russian population.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 13 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. MFA of Ukraine. ~

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

More than 80,200 Russian occupiers have already died in the war in Ukraine, Ukraine’s General Staff informed. The total combat losses of the Russian Federation from February 24 to November 12 approximately amounted to:

  • personnel – about 80,210 (+810) people were liquidated,
  • tanks ‒ 2838 (+24) units,
  • armored combat vehicles ‒ 5730 (+34) units,
  • artillery systems – 1,829 (+12) units,
  • multiple rocket launcher – 393 (+0) units,
  • air defense equipment ‒ 205 (+0) units,
  • aircraft – 278 (+0) units,
  • helicopters – 261 (+0) units,
  • UAVs of the operational-tactical level – 1506 (+1),
  • cruise missiles ‒ 399 (+0),
  • ships/boats ‒ 16 (+0) units,
  • automotive equipment and tank trucks – 4,279 (+20) units,
  • special equipment ‒ 160 (+1).

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Humanitarian 

Water supply in Mykolaiv will be restored no earlier than 10-15 days, said the head of the OVA Vitaly Kim.

The situation in Kherson is close to a humanitarian catastrophe, according to the mayor’s adviser Roman Golovnya. “There is a critical lack of water in the city, first of all, because there is practically no water supply in the city. Now there are not enough medicines, there is not enough bread, because it is not baked, there is no electricity. Well, and, accordingly, problems with food,” Golovnya said. However, he believes that the problems will be resolved soon, and humanitarian cargo is being formed ,in particular, from Nikolaev. No more than 80,000 people are left in the city, compared to the pre-war population of 320,000.

 

No place like home. Meet the Ukrainians living in the ruins of their houses destroyed by Russia

Environment

Two bulk carriers with grain to leave Ukrainian ports for countries on brink of famine, says Infrastructure Ministry. “2 bulk carriers chartered by the UN WFP entered Greater Odesa ports to be loaded with wheat for Ethiopia, Yemen and Afghanistan residents.”

The issue of extending the grain deal has not yet been resolved, said Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. The grain deal expires on November 18. Russia is trying to get the UN to unblock the export of Russian food and fertilizers. This has not been done due to sanctions. The Russian Federation continues consultations with the UN and insists on the implementation of this clause in order to extend the grain deal. LThe Netherlands, at the request of the UN, allowed the shipment to Africa of 20,000 tons of Russian fertilizers stuck in the port of Rotterdam due to sanctions.

Legal 

Russia loots 15 thousand artworks, medical equipment, and anything that can be plundered from Kherson oblast in Ukraine. Read more here.

Support 

Ukraine thanks Poland for equipment that enabled the return of Ukrainian TV, radio to Kherson.  Broadcasting of Ukrainian television resumed in Kherson on November 11: on channel 31 in T2 digital format, residents of the liberated city and nearby settlements now have access to one of the Ukrainian channels broadcasting the joint news telethon, Interfax Ukraine reported.

Netherlands to allocate additional 110 million euros to support Ukraine in winter. The funds will be used to provide housing, repair water pipes and houses, and purchase gas, food, and electricity and repair Ukraine’s energy network.

New Developments 

US expresses optimism over Russia’s retreat from Kherson. Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, expressed cautious optimism on 12 November over Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson, calling it a “big moment” for Ukrainian forces, The New York Times reported. He also reiterated that the Biden administration would not push for a diplomatic end to the war. Read more here.

US President Joe Biden, in opening remarks ahead of meetings with ASEAN leaders, said he was ready to discuss with them “Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and our efforts to address the war’s global impacts, including in Southeast Asia.”

Ukraine’s FM Dmytro Kuleba met US State Secretary Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Cambodia and reiterated Ukraine’s gratitude for US support.

The choice of the timing and content of any negotiations remains the decision of Ukraine, and the United States does not intend to exert any pressure on it. This was promised by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba on the sidelines of the ASEAN (Southeast Asian countries) summit. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken “discussed the United States’ unwavering commitment to helping Ukraine mitigate the impact of Russia’s ongoing attacks on critical infrastructure.” The parties also confirmed their support for the extension of the grain deal until its expiration on November 19.

Russia may massively strike Ukraine with missiles during G20 summit. Read more here.

Russian military department has ordered several dozen of latter-day hypersonic Zircon missiles from industry, according to a Russian propaganda media report. The Russian Ministry of Defense does not officially confirm this information. Read more here. 

World leaders will not take part in an official group photo session during the G20 summit meeting in Bali ‘out of discomfort with Russia’s presence at the summit.’

Assessment 

  1. On the war.

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 12 November, 2022:

Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson City is igniting an ideological fracture between pro-war figures and Russian President Vladimir Putin, eroding confidence in Putin’s commitment and ability to deliver his war promises. A pro-war Russian ideologist, Alexander Dugin, openly criticized Putin—whom he referred to as the autocrat—for failing to uphold Russian ideology by surrendering Kherson City on November 12.[1] Dugin said this Russian ideology defines Russia’s responsibility to defend “Russian cities” such as Kherson, Belgorod, Kursk, Donetsk, and Simferopol. Dugin noted that an autocrat has a responsibility to save his nation all by himself or face the fate of “king of the rains,” a reference to Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough in which a king was killed because he was unable to deliver rain amidst a drought. Dugin also downplayed the role of Putin’s advisors in failing to protect the Russian world and noted that the commander of Russian Forces in Ukraine, Army General Sergey Surovikin was not responsible for the political decision to withdraw from Kherson City. Dugin noted that the autocrat cannot repair this deviation from ideology merely with public appearances, noting that “the authorities in Russia cannot surrender anything else” and that “the limit has been reached.” He also accused the presidential administration of upholding a “fake” ideology because of its fear of committing to the “Russian Idea.” Dugin also made a reference to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, which he vaguely stated was “the end” and proceeded to note that overdue Russian changes to the military campaign have not generated any effect to change the course of the war.  He also suggested, however, that Russia must commit to the Russian Idea rather than pursuing the “stupid” use of nuclear weapons.

Putin is having a harder time appeasing parts of the highly ideological pro-war constituency due to his military’s inability to deliver his maximalist goals of overthrowing the Ukrainian government and seizing all of Ukraine, as ISW has previously assessed.[2] Putin’s nationalist-leaning propagandists such as Vladimir Solovyov are increasingly demanding that the Kremlin and higher military command to fully commit to their goals in Ukraine, and Solovyov even called for full mobilization and the firing of incompetent officials following the Russian surrender of Kherson City.[3] Select milbloggers have previously criticized Putin for his failure to respond to the attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge on October 9, while others noted that Putin has failed to uphold the ideology of Russian superiority since 2014.[4] Direct criticism of Putin within the pro-war community is almost unprecedented, and Dugin’s high-profile and unhinged attack on Putin may indicate a shift among the Russian nationalist ideologues.[5] Putin needs to retain the support of this community and has likely ordered some of his propagandists to suppress any critiques of the Russian withdrawal from Kherson City, since many state TV news programs have been omitting or downplaying the aftermath of withdrawal.[6] The ever-increasing doubts among extreme Russian nationalists about Putin’s commitment to Russian ideology reduce Putin’s appeal to the nationalist community, while mobilization and high casualties will likely continue to upset members of Russian society.

Wagner-affiliated channels are also turning on the Kremlin following the loss of Kherson Oblast, which may further elevate the influence of the siloviki faction. Some milbloggers implied that the Kremlin has betrayed Kherson City by “selling out,” while others noted that the Kremlin has consistently surrendered its territories without asking the Russian people.[7] Other milbloggers further questioned the legitimacy of the claimed 87% support rate for the Russian annexation of Kherson Oblast.[8] Wagner Group financier Yevheny Prigozhin and some milbloggers have previously discussed the possibility of “Russia’s civil society” stepping up to defend Russia.[9] The growing criticism of the decision to withdraw from western Kherson contrasts with the general support for the decision among the milblogger community before today.

Russian officials are increasingly normalizing the public and likely illegal deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia. Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova publicized the illegal kidnapping of 52 medically fragile Ukrainian children from Kherson Oblast to an unspecified “safe” area in Russia on November 12, likely under a medical relocation scheme that Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Ambassador to Russia Rodion Miroshnik confirmed had started on November 5.[10] High level Kremlin officials, including Lvova-Belova and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin have publicly acknowledged and praised the relocation of thousands of Ukrainian children to live with Russian families or in Russian facilities in recent weeks.[11] Russian Zaporizhzhia Oblast occupation officials have made public statements in recent weeks about the planned forced relocation of over 40,000 Kherson Oblast children to Russia and acknowledged on November 12 that their systems for caring for Ukrainian children are inadequate.[12] Russian and Ukrainian sources have previously reported that Russian and occupation officials have deported Ukrainian children to Russia under education, vacation, and other schemes within the past 10 days.[13] Such frequent and public acknowledgments are a stark contrast to the first Russian official confirmation of such actions on August 23, when Krasnodar Krai authorities deleted an announcement about the arrival of 300 adoptable Ukrainian children from Mariupol and denied ever issuing the statement.[14] As ISW has noted and will continue to observe, the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia represents a possible violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[15]

Russian military leadership is trying and largely failing to integrate combat forces drawn from many different organizations and of many different types and levels of skill and equipment into a more cohesive fighting force in Ukraine. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian officials stopped the distribution of Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) documents, including documents regarding the participation of DNR and LNR forces in combat, on November 11.[16] Russian authorities also ordered Southern Military District commanders to centralize payments to DNR and LNR fighters through Russian financial institutions and offered DNR and LNR soldiers the option to continue their service as contract servicemembers under Russian law.[17]  These efforts will likely increase friction between Russian officials and LNR and DNR officials due to the exclusion of DNR and LNR officials from the process. DNR and LNR servicemembers reportedly feel pressured to accept Russian contracts and have expressed fears that refusal of the new Russian contracts would lead to the annulment of their documents and termination of DNR/LNR benefits.[18] ISW has previously reported bureaucratic conflict between DNR, LNR, and Russian authorities over administrative structures in occupied areas.[19]

The lack of structure inherent in the combination of DNR forces, LNR forces, Russian contract servicemembers, Russian regional volunteer servicemembers, Russian mobilized servicemembers, and Wagner Group Private Military Company (PMC) forces creates an environment that fosters intra-force conflict. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 12 that tense relations between mobilized soldiers and Chechen volunteer soldiers triggered a brawl in Makiivka that injured three.[20]

Key Takeaways

  • Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson City is igniting an ideological fracture between pro-war figures and Russian President Vladimir Putin, eroding confidence in Putin’s commitment to and ability to deliver on his war promises.
  • Russian officials are increasingly normalizing the public and likely illegal deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
  • The Russian military leadership is trying and failing to integrate ad hoc military formations into a more cohesive fighting force in Ukraine. 
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to liberate settlements on the right (western) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations in the direction of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar.
  • Russian officials may be trying to avoid providing military personnel with promised payments.
  • Russian forces and occupation officials continue to endanger residents and subject them to coercive measures.

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