Russo Ukrainian War. Day 265: Zelenskyy visits liberated Kherson

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian forces are intensifying operations in Donetsk Oblast and claimed to have gained territory around Bakhmut and southwest of Donetsk City. Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to regain positions in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast. Russian troops are conducting offensive actions in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Novopavlivka directions and continue to equip defensive lines on the left bank of the Dnipro. They launched 4 missiles and 23 air strikes, launched more than 70 attacks from rocket salvo systems. With the abandonment of Kherson city, Russia has made the Azov Sea port town of Henichesk a ‘temporary capital’ of the occupied region. Putin signed additional decrees refining mobilization protocols and expanding military recruitment provisions, likely in an ongoing effort to reinforce Russian war efforts.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 15

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 15, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two-hundred-sixty-fifth (265) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
russian occupiers are trying to keep the temporarily captured territories, are concentrating their efforts on restraining the actions of the Defence Forces of Ukraine in certain areas, and are continuing to equip defensive lines on the left bank of the Dnieper. At the same time, they are conducting offensive actions 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 settlements: Novoselivske, Luhansk oblast; Belogorivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Vremivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Novokalynivka, Novomykhailivka, Pervomaiske of the Donetsk oblast.
The enemy does not stop shelling populated areas and positions of units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine along the contact line, conducts aerial reconnaissance. It continues to strike critical infrastructure and civilian homes in violation of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war.
During the past day, the enemy launched 4 missile and 23 air strikes, launched more than 70 attacks from rocket salvo systems.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation remains without significant changes. The republic of belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, providing it with infrastructure, territory and airspace.
There is still a threat of the enemy launching missile and air strikes, in particular with the use of attack UAVs from the territory and airspace of the republic of belarus.
The enemy shelled in such other directions:
in the Siversky direction – from mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Vorozhba, Mykolaivka, Romashkove, Stepok, Yunakivka settlements of the Sumy oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Slobozhansk direction – from artillery of various types in the areas of Hlyboke, Ohirtseve, Okhrimivka, Riznykove, Starytsa, Strilecha, Ternova settlements of the Kharkiv oblast;
on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of the settlements of Dvorichna, Zahryzove, Kyslivka, Kolodyazne, Kopanky, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka of the Kharkiv oblast; Berestove, Ivanivka, Donetsk region; Makiivka, Nevske, Novoselivske, Ploshanka, Stelmakhivka of the Luhansk oblast;
in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks and artillery of various types in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Bilohorivka, Verkhnyokamianske, Hryhorivka, Ozaryanivka, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Serebryanka, Soledar, Spirne, Toretsk, Yakovlivka settlements of the Donetsk oblast;
Donetsk Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Avdiivka, Vodyane, Maryinka, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, Novoselivka Druha, Pervomaiske settlements of the Donetsk oblast;
in the Novopavlivskyi direction – from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Bohoyavlenka, Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, Neskuchne, Novopil, Pavlivka, Paraskoviivka, 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 Bilohirya, Dorozhnianka, Zaliznychne, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanilivka, Novopokrovka, Temyrivka;
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 14, 2022. Source: ISW.

in the Kherson direction – from mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Vyshchetarasivka, Dobra Nadiya, Illinka settlements of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast; Dudchany, Novooleksandrivka, Odradokamyanka and Tomaryne of the Kherson oblast.
In the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast, the enemy is looking for abandoned private houses to house servicemen who arrived to replace the losses of the occupying units. In the settlement of Novoaidar, the russian invaders, in order to clarify the information about the abandoned housing, distributed notices to local residents with the demand to come to the so-called “administration” to clarify the data.
It has been confirmed that enemy units were defeated in the occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast in the previous days. Thus, in the settlement of Miluvatka, the Defense Forces of Ukraine destroyed the headquarters of a unit of the russian occupation forces. Currently, it is known about 30 dead and more than 20 wounded russian invaders.
In the temporarily occupied Crimea, the gradual restoration of road traffic through the Kerch bridge is noted. Drivers of passenger cars are allowed to drive through it after a thorough inspection. The rest of the transport connection is carried out via ferry crossings.
During the past day, the aviation of the Defence Forces of Ukraine struck the enemy 21 times. 18 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 3 positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems, were affected.
Over the past day, the Defence Forces of Ukraine shot down 2 UAVs of the “Orlan” type.
Over the past day, units of missile forces and artillery of the Defence Forces hit 3 control points, 19 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, an air defence position and 2 ammunition depots of the Russian invaders.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

The activity of the Russian Black Sea Fleet decreases after the drone attack on Sevastopol in October. The majority of Russian ships that stayed near the walls of Sevastopol Bay were not recorded either on the raid of Sevastopol or in the patrol zone. On Oct. 29, Russian occupation governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev said that air defense repelled “the most massive drone attacks since the start of the special operation” and accused Ukraine and Britain’s military of launching strikes on military facilities of the Black Sea Fleet. Read more here.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1591996844560699394

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

British Intelligence map ~

British Intelligence map

  • By 12 November 2022, the Russian military had almost certainly completed the withdrawal of forces that had been holding territory west of the Dnipro River.

 

  • With the abandonment of Kherson city, Russia has made the Azov Sea port town of Henichesk a ‘temporary capital’ of the occupied region. Russia will likely also redeploy military command units to the Henichesk area.

 

  • The choice of this area as a command node hints at the priorities and concerns of Russian commanders as they consolidate their defences in southern Ukraine. It is well positioned to coordinate action against potential Ukrainian threats from both Kherson city in the west, or via Melitopol to the north-east, and to receive reinforcements from Crimea. Above all, it is currently out of range of Ukrainian artillery systems which have inflicted heavy damage on Russian field command posts.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 15 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 Ukraine. ~

Losses of the Russian Army in Ukraine. MFA Ukraine.

Humanitarian 

Ukraine’s teachers in Kherson Oblast who collaborated with occupiers will be dismissed, others will receive salaries for months of occupation. Salaries will be paid to teachers in the liberated settlements of Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast as soon as the work of the banks resumes. However, the educational collaborators with occupiers will be dismissed, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Andriy Vitrenko said during the all-Ukrainian TV marathon, Unian reports.

Environment

Undermining the economy and political stability of Moldova by leveraging energy resources, the Kremlin expands hybrid warfare. Read more here.

Legal 

No end to Russia’s brutal reprisals against the 66-year-old historian of the Soviet Terror Yury Dmitriev. Yury Dmitriev, world-renowned Russian historian, head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society and political prisoner, is spending his fourth term in a punishment cell in the space of just two months.  Having defied widespread national and international protest over evidently fabricated charges, the Russian authorities are now using a harsh-regime prison colony and absurd pretexts to step up the pressure on a courageous historian who refused to be silenced. Read more here. 

Ukrainian court ruled to imprison for 12 years a T-72 tank operator called guilty of firing at civilian houses in Mariupol. He was detained by Ukrainian forces in April when his tank was damaged. He signed contracts with the Russian proxy DNR since 2014. Read more here.

Support 

Lithuania sent to Ukraine another 12 units of M113 armored personnel carriers (ten 120mm self-propelled mortars & two fire control tanks), ammunition.

NATO countries have transferred 1.4-3.6% of their heavy weapons systems to Ukraine. The US has given the most, but its stocks are the largest, too. Czech Republic is Ukraine’s most loyal ally in terms of the proportion of items given. While initially hesitating, Germany’s role is greater and greater. But some well-armed NATO countries are not in a hurry to supply anything. Read more here. 

New Developments 

President Zelenskyy visits Kherson with a “surprise visit” for a flag-raising ceremony. Zelenskyy awarded Ukrainian soldiers who participated in the liberation of Kherson. “We are ready for peace, but peace for our entire country,” Zelenskyy said. “We are not interested in territory of other countries. We are only interested in de-occupation of our territories. Thus, I don’t know what will happen next, but it will.”

Ukraine may appeal to the G20 states to exclude the Russian Federation from the group The relevant resolution was registered in the parliament today by coauthors from all parties which makes it likely it will be passed quickly. The Verkhovna Rada, Parliament of Ukraine, may appeal to the G20 states to exclude the Russian Federation from the composition of this influential group. The draft resolution No. 8203 on the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the countries of the Group of Twenty regarding the exclusion of the Russian Federation from this group was registered on November 14.

European Parliament will consider recognizing Russia as a terrorist state. Ahead of the start of the G20 Summit in Bali, the European People’s Party Group (EPP) has voiced its strong disapproval of the presence of Russia in the talks of the G20 leaders, EPP reports. Read more here.

UN adopted a resolution calling for Russian reparations to Ukraine The vote in the 193-member world body was 94-14 with 73 abstentions. 

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 14 November, 2022:

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) escalated claims of Russian territorial gains in Donetsk Oblast on November 13 and 14, likely to emphasize that Russian forces are intensifying operations in Donetsk Oblast following withdrawal from the right bank of Kherson Oblast. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces completed the capture of Mayorsk (20km south of Bakhmut) on November 13 and of Pavlivka (45km southwest of Donetsk City) on November 14 after several weeks of not making claims of Russian territorial gains.[1] As ISW assessed on November 13, Russian forces will likely recommit troops to Donetsk Oblast after leaving the right bank of Kherson Oblast, which will likely lead to an intensification of operations around Bakhmut, Donetsk City, and in western Donetsk Oblast.[2] Russian forces will likely make gains in these areas in the coming days and weeks, but these gains are unlikely to be operationally significant. The Russian MoD is likely making more concrete territorial claims in order to set information conditions to frame Russian successes in Donetsk Oblast and detract from discontent regarding losses in Kherson Oblast.

Russian milbloggers seized on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s November 14 visit to Kherson City to criticize Russian military capacity more substantively than in previous days during the Russian withdrawal from the right bank of Kherson Oblast. Russian milbloggers largely complained that Zelensky arrived in Kherson City and was able to move around with relatively little concern about Russian strikes in his vicinity and questioned why Russian forces did not launch strikes on Zelensky.[3] One prominent milblogger noted that this shows that Russia does not want to win the war and criticized Russian forces for allowing Zelensky to step foot on “Russian territory.”[4] Russian milbloggers have notably maintained a relatively muted response to the Russian loss of the right bank in the past days, as ISW has previously reported.[5] The clear shift in rhetoric from relatively exculpatory language generally backing the withdrawal as a militarily sound decision to ire directed at Russian military failures suggests that Russian military leadership will likely be pressured to secure more direct gains in Donetsk Oblast and other areas.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin continues to establish himself as a highly independent, Stalinist warlord in Russia, becoming a prominent figure within the nationalist pro-war community. Prigozhin commented on a Russian execution video of a reportedly exchanged Wagner prisoner of war, Yevgeniy Nuzhin, sarcastically supporting Nuzhin’s execution and denouncing him as a traitor to the Russian people.[6] Most sources noted that Wagner executed Nuzhin following a prisoner exchange on November 10, but a few claimed that Wagner kidnapped the serviceman via Prigozhin’s connections to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Russian General Staff.[7] Prigozhin claimed that Nuzhin planned his escape to free Ukraine and used the opportunity to compare Nuzhin to Russian elites who disregard the interests of the Russian people and fly away from Russia‘s problems in their personal business jets.[8] The Russian nationalist community overwhelmingly welcomed the public punishment of the supposed deserter, noting that the Wagner command is undertaking appropriate military measures to discipline its forces.[9] Some milbloggers even compared the execution to Joseph Stalin’s “heroic” execution of Russian Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky who had also fled Bolshevik Russia, further confirming Prigozhin’s appeal among the proponents of Stalin’s repressive legacy.[10] Prigozhin is taking actions that will resonate with a constituency interested in the ideology of Russia’s national superiority, Soviet brutalist strength, and distasteful of the Kremlin’s corruption, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has used as a political force throughout his reign.

Prigozhin is steadily using his participation in the Russian invasion of Ukraine to consolidate his influence in Russia. One milblogger voiced a concern that the integration of Wagner mercenaries into Russian society is “the destruction of even the illusion of legality and respect for rights in Putin’s Russian Federation.”[11] The milblogger added that Prigozhin is seizing the initiative to expand Wagner’s power in St. Petersburg while Russian security forces are “asleep.” Such opinions are not widespread among Russian nationalists but highlight some concerns with Prigozhin’s rapid expansion amid the Russian “special military operation” and its implications on the Putin regime. Prigozhin, for example, has requested that the FSB General Prosecutor’s office investigate St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov for high treason after St. Petersburg officials denied a construction permit for his Wagner Center in the city.[12] He had also publicly scoffed at the Russian bureaucracy when asked if his forces will train at Russian training grounds, likely to further assert the independence of his forces.[13] Prigozhin’s unhinged antics in the political sphere are unprecedented in Putin’s regime.

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) escalated claims of Russian territorial gains in Donetsk Oblast on November 13 and 14, likely to emphasize that Russian forces are intensifying operations in Donetsk Oblast following their withdrawal from the right bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian milbloggers seized on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s November 14 visit to Kherson City to criticize Russian military capacity more substantively than in previous days during the Russian withdrawal from the right bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin continues to establish himself as a highly independent, Stalinist warlord in Russia, becoming an even more prominent figure within the nationalist pro-war community.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on the Svatove-Kreminna line and clashed with Russian troops near Bilohorivka.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to regain positions in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian forces intensified offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast and claimed to have gained territory around Bakhmut and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops launched an unsuccessful raid onto the Kinburn Spit.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed additional decrees refining mobilization protocols and expanding military recruitment provisions, likely in an ongoing effort to reinforce Russian war efforts.
  • Russian occupation officials continued to drive the “evacuation” and forced relocation of residents in occupied territories and took efforts to move occupation elements farther from the Dnipro River.

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