Russo Ukrainian War. Day 266: The largest missile strike against Ukraine since the start of the war

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Russian forces conducted the largest set of missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure since the start of the war. Polish officials announced that a likely “Russian-made missile” landed in Poland within six kilometers of the international border with Ukraine. Russian military commanders reportedly ignored existing plans for offensive operations in the Vuhledar direction. Russian officials set conditions to force the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to recognize Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensives in the direction of Svatove and Kreminna. Ukrainian forces continued targeting Russian logistics to the rear of Luhansk Oblast. Russian forces continued ground attacks near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar. Russian army units leaving Skadovsk and Henichesk districts and heading towards Crimea. 10 Russian missiles reach Lviv Oblast airspace.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 16

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 16, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

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“Russian forces are trying to restrain the actions of the Defence Forces in certain directions and continue to equip defensive lines on the left bank of the Dnieper. At the same time, it does not stop offensive operations in the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions.

Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian soldiers have repelled attacks by Russian invaders in the areas of Bilohorivka, Kurdyumivka, Novokalynivka, Vesele, Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Vodyane, Novomykhailivka, and Vremivka settlements in the Donetsk oblast.

Over the past day, the Russian Federation launched a massive missile attack on the military and civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. Residential buildings of citizens and objects of critical infrastructure in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsya, Poltava, Lviv, Khmelnytskyi and other regions of our country were affected.

Russian forces fired more than 90 Kh-101 and Kalibr missiles and more than ten attack UAVs. According to detailed information, 77 cruise missiles, 10 Iranian attack drones “Shahed-136” and one UAV “Orion” were destroyed by the units of the Defence Forces. Additional information is being clarified.

In addition, Russian forces do not stop shelling the positions of our troops and settlements along the contact line. So, during the past day, the occupiers carried out 43 airstrikes and more than 40 MLRS attacks.

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

Russian forces shelled in such other directions:

  • in the Siversky direction – from artillery of various types, in the areas of Krasnopilla, Ryzhivka, Kindrativka and Slavhorod settlements of the Sumy oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Slobozhansky direction – from mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of the settlements of Vovchansk, Kamianka, Starytsa, Strilecha, Hlyboke, Ternova, Kozacha Lopan and Hoptivka;
  • in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions – from tanks and artillery of various calibres, in the areas of the settlements of Berestove, Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Nevske, Terny, Ploshanka, Kislivka, Makiivka, Zarichne, Bilogorivka, and Spirne;
Donetsk Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Bakhmut direction – from tanks and the entire range of artillery, in the areas of Soledar, Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Kurdyumivka, Ozaryanivka, Zelenopillia, Yakovlivka, New York and Opytne;
  • in the Avdiivka direction – from tanks, mortars, artillery and MLRS, in the areas of Avdiivka, Vodyane, Maryinka, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, Novokalynove settlements;
  • in the Novopavlovsk direction – from tanks and artillery of various types, in the areas of the settlements of Bohoyavlenka, Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Pavlivka, Prechystivka;
  • in the Zaporizhzhia direction – from tanks and artillery, in the areas of Zaliznychne, Shcherbaky, Temyrivka, Stepnohirsk, Bilohirya, Dorozhnyanka, Malynivka, Olhivske, Novopil, Hulyaipole settlements;
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • in the Kherson direction – from the entire spectrum of artillery, in the districts of Illinka, Dudchany, Kachkarivka, and Prydniprovskyi.

[And in the city of Kadiivka, in the Luhansk region, the occupiers go from house to house and carry out forced mobilization of the local population. In some areas of the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast, there are cases of extortion of money for the possibility of avoiding mobilization. Thus, in the Starobilsky district, representatives of local so-called “force structures” offer to avoid “mobilization” for a monetary reward of up to 15 thousand dollars.]

In connection with significant losses in the course of hostilities, in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, cases of desertion in units of the occupying forces increased and the moral and psychological state deteriorated significantly. Thus, after the battles in the area of ​​the settlement of Mayorsk, the 1st Horlivka territorial battalion lost its combat capability. Losses in it amounted to over 50 percent killed and wounded, and the moral and psychological condition of servicemen is unsatisfactory. Russian forces command disbanded the unit. The remaining personnel are distributed among other military units.

[As a result of fire damage in the area of ​​the Kreminna settlement of Luhansk oblast, the Russian invaders lost control of individual units. The personnel of these units plans to escape from their borders and retreat to the city.]

[The results of enemy fire damage have been confirmed. Thus, in the area of ​​the settlement of Blagovishchenka, Zaporizhzhia oblast, the occupiers lost up to 10 dead. Also, 5 units of military equipment, a warehouse of ammunition were destroyed, and 35 invaders were wounded. In Melitopol, Russian forces lost more than 50 people wounded.]

[In the Skadovsk and Henichesk districts, separate occupation units are leaving the settlements and leaving in the direction of the temporarily occupied Crimea.]

During the past day, the aviation of the Defense Forces of Ukraine struck Russian forces 14 times. 11 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 3 positions of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems were hit.

Soldiers of the Ukrainian missile forces and artillery over the past day struck 3 areas of concentration of manpower, weapons and military equipment, a radio-electronic warfare station and an ammunition warehouse of the occupiers.“

Military Updates

Russian army units leaving Skadovsk and Henichesk districts and heading towards Crimea, Ukrinform reports. “Separate units of the Russian troops are leaving the temporarily captured settlements in Kherson region and are heading towards Crimea; the personnel of units located near Kreminna in Luhansk region are planning to retreat from their positions.”

Russia fired roughly 100 missiles in what Ukraine’s energy minister called the largest coordinated strike on the country’s power system since the war began, The New York Times reports. “Russia fired roughly 100 missiles at targets across Ukraine on Tuesday, one of the broadest aerial attacks since the invasion began, causing blasts in at least six regions including Kyiv, the capital, just days after Moscow retreated from a key city in the south.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in a video posted on Telegram that most of the strikes targeted the country’s energy systems. Fifteen pieces of energy infrastructure were damaged, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior official in the president’s office. Officials in communities across the country reported power outages […].

The attacks — the largest coordinated strikes on the energy system since the start of the war, according to Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko — also caused explosions in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, the western city of Lviv and other cities, officials said on Telegram. Air raid sirens also sounded in the southern city of Mykolaiv.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said roughly 100 missiles had been fired, a salvo that surpassed the 84 rockets that Russia launched on Oct. 10, the first day of an assault on Ukrainian infrastructure that went on for weeks. But Ukraine’s air defence systems appeared to have knocked out a substantial number of the missiles, as in other recent attacks. Seventy of the missiles fired by Russia on Tuesday had been shot down, the country’s air force wrote on Twitter.

The fresh attacks followed one of Ukraine’s most triumphant moments of the war: the recapture of Kherson, a strategically important city in southern Ukraine. After Russian forces withdrew last week, Mr. Zelensky made an unannounced visit to the city, telling residents that the moment signalled “the beginning of the end of the war.”

10 Russian missiles reach Lviv Oblast airspace, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Early on 16 November, Maksym Kozytskyi, Head of the Lviv Oblast Military Administration, announced that more than 10 Russian missiles reached Lviv Oblast airspace. In the aftermath of the strikes, one person was injured and 700,000 subscribers had their electricity supply cut off.

Fact Check: Has Ukraine Taken Half of Territory Back Since Russia Invaded, Newsweek asked 8 November? “Claims on social media suggest that Ukraine’s advances have amounted to half of the gains that Russia made since February. A tweet posted on November 7, 2022, states that Ukraine has “taken back 50% of what Russians newly occupied in 2022 and 37% of what Russia has taken since 2014.” Additional tweets provide detailed maps of these occupations, repeating the same claim. Newsweek has reached out to DefMon3 for comment.

To verify this figure, Newsweek spoke to the Institute for The Study of War (ISW) which has been meticulously cataloguing the map of conflict in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion. Based on its intelligence, ISW said that, at present, Ukrainian total counteroffensives had led to the retaking of 43,500 sq km of land. At the peak of its territorial control on March 26, 2022, Russia occupied around 133,137 sq km, with an additional 28,615 sq km of ongoing advances at the time.

However, total land occupied by Russia included breakaway regions in the Donestk People’s Republic (DPR) and Crimea, which it had taken before the start of its new invasion on February 24, 2022.”

Hans Petter Midttun: Most analysts have a land-centric focus, overlooking the fact that Ukraine also has territorial waters and a maritime economic exclusive zone vital for both the security, stability and economic viability of the state. If these areas are taken into account, the present status is as follows:
Ukraine Territory: 603 700 km²
Ukrainian EEZ: 147,318 km²
Total: 751,018 km²
Occupied territory: 113,752 km² 18.8%
EEZ controlled by RUS: 147,318 km² 100%
Total: 261,070 km² 34,8%
Occupied or controlled by RUS: 34,8%

The Black Sea Fleet does not have Sea Control over the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Ukraine has developed an impressive Sea Denial capability consisting of UAV, sea drones, Surface to Surface missiles (Neptune and Harpoon missiles), mines and combat aircraft. Its loss of control of its EEZ is a reflection of Ukraine being denied access to the sea and its maritime resources. It is unable to import and export through its ports (exempt from the UN-brokered grain agreement that is due to expire on 19 November). As a consequence, Ukraine needs 3-5 billion USD in monthly financial support critical for its survival.

Kherson Oblast: Russians retreating 15-20 kilometres inland on the left bank of Dnipro River, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Nataliia Humeniuk, Head of the joint press centre for Operational Command South. “The Russian occupation troops are moving 15-20 kilometres inland from their constructed frontiers on the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast in order to avoid attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, the south defence forces are taking the Russians’ logistics under their fire control.

Ukrainian forces open fire on invaders on the left bank of Dnipro River, near Kinburn Spit, Ukrinform reports, citing Operational Command South, “The rocket and artillery units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine on November 15 opened fire on the positions of the Russian occupiers, areas of concentration of manpower, equipment and weapons on the left bank of the Dnipro River and in the area of the Kinburn Spit.

In total, the military completed more than 50 fire missions., killing 17 Russian occupiers, destroying and damaging 15 armoured vehicles, two self-propelled artillery pieces and an Orlan-10 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle. In addition, two ammunition depots in Nova Kakhovka and Oleshky were destroyed. The remaining losses of the enemy are being clarified.”

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

  • The Kakhovka Dam on the Dnipro River is the site of major hydroelectric power plant as well as providing one of the two main road crossing points of the lower reaches of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian precision strikes have targeted the site since August, successfully disrupting Russian military resupply.
  • On 11 November 2022 the site suffered further significant damage, almost certainly because of controlled demolitions by retreating Russian forces. This was likely done in an attempt to hinder future Ukrainian advances.
  • Three spans of both the road and rail bridges on the northern end of the dam were destroyed, rendering the crossings impassable. However, the three spillway gates below this section of the dam remained largely intact. The current level of damage is unlikely to result in major flooding downstream.
  • By 12 November 2022, the Russian military had almost certainly completed the withdrawal of forces which 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 Wednesday 16 November, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel – about 82710 (+630),
  • Tanks – 2871 (+10),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5797 (+24),
  • Artillery systems – 1860 (+10),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 393 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 209 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 278 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 261 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4360 (+9),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1525 (+14),
  • Special equipment – 160 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 474 (+75)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Lyman, Avdiyivka and Bakhmut directions.

Humanitarian 

The situation is critical: Residents of Kyiv Oblast are being prepared for long blackouts, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Due to massive missile strikes in Kyiv Oblast, there is a critical situation with electricity supply, as reported by Oleksii Kuleba, Head of Kyiv Oblast Military Administration.”

About ten million Ukrainians are without electricity now – Zelenskyy, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reported that approximately 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity at the moment due to Russian attacks. There are problems with communication and Internet connection all over the country. As a result of the strikes, automation disabled several nuclear units at two stations today – these are calculated consequences, and Russian forces knew exactly what he was doing.

Ten million people are somewhere between a third and a quarter of Ukraine’s current population (accounting for  many people who have fled abroad).”

Over 500 miners were trapped underground in Kryvyi Rih because of the Russian attack, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Oleksandr Vilkul, the Mayor of Kryvyi Rih (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast), has reported that 566 miners have been rescued from mines in Kryvyi Rih, where they had been trapped as a result of Russian missile strikes on 15 November.”

No power in Kharkiv and Kharkiv Oblast at least until the next morning, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Oleh Syniehubov, Head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration. “There is no power in either the city of Kharkiv or any of the other cities, towns and villages in [Kharkiv] Oblast… We are analysing how much time is needed to restore the power supply in the oblast. There will be no power at least until the next morning.”

The head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration added that the water supply has not been affected so far. However, if power is not restored within the next 10-12 hours, water pumps will have to operate in emergency mode.”

90% of Ternopil Oblast left without power, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Volodymyr Trush, Head of Ternopil Oblast Military Administration. “As of now, 90% of Ternopil Oblast is without power supply, Thrush wrote. He reiterated that rolling emergency blackouts can be expected throughout Ukraine and urged the residents of the oblast to make sure they have access to power banks and other power sources.”

OHCHR recorded 16,631 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of November 14. 6,557 were killed (including 408 children) and 10,074  injured (including 750 children).

Environment

Reactors at Ukrainian nuclear power plants shut down after Russian strikes, Reuters reports. “Several reactors at two Ukrainian power plants automatically shut down as a result of Russian missile strikes on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, adding that millions of people were left without electricity.

As a result of the strikes, automation today disabled several nuclear units at two stations – these are calculated consequences, and the enemy knew exactly what he was doing, Zelensky said in his nightly video address.”

IAEA concern over conflicting instructions for Zaporizhzhia staff, World Nuclear News reports.” Ukrainian staff at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are now “faced with conflicting instructions on how to run the plant”, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s director general says, “exacerbating” the pressure they are having to work under and potentially having a “negative impact on nuclear safety and security”.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that although the Ukrainian staff continue to operate the plant, which has been under Russian military control since February, there were now “open contradictions regarding the chain of command” and the decision-making process.

It follows the creation of a Russian state operating organisation for the six-reactor plant and Russia’s announcement that it had annexed the plant and the region it sits in – a move Ukraine has rejected. The IAEA says that there has since been an increase in Russian technical staff present at the site, although the Ukrainian staff continue to undertake day-to-day operations “under high and relentless stress”.

Four of the plant’s reactors are in cold shutdown, while the two others are in hot shutdown to provide steam for the plant and also heating for people living in nearby Enerhodar, including workers at the plant and their families.”

Germany backs security zone around Ukraine nuclear power plant, Reuters reports. “Germany supports the establishment of a security zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday after talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi.

Grossi said that the Zaporizhzhia power facility, held by Russia, was right by the front line and that it was almost impossible to create a security zone there, but we don’t give up, he said.”

Legal 

Kremlin Does Not Recognise UN Resolution To Pay Ukraine War Reparations, European Pravda reports. “Russia categorically opposes the UN General Assembly resolution on compensation for damage caused by its aggression. The press secretary for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, has stated this, as Interfax reports. Naturally, the organisers of this process are trying to complete the robbery of our gold and currency reserves, which were completely illegally frozen. Actually, this is the formalisation of this robbery, using the UN platform. This decision is not legally binding. And we will treat it respectively. We strongly oppose it, said Peskov. […]

The UN General Assembly adopted Monday a resolution supporting a mechanism for Russia to pay reparations for human and property destruction from its invasion of Ukraine. 14 countries together with Russia voted against the resolution, including China and Serbia.

Back in September, it became known that Ukraine was Ukraine lobbying the UN and allies to clear a legal path for extracting Russian compensation for war damage, creating an international compensation mechanism to seize Russian state assets abroad worth up to $300 billion.”

Russian forces injured 835 children in Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office. “As of the morning of November 16, a total of 1,266 children were affected in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s full-scale armed aggression. According to the official information provided by juvenile prosecutors, 431 children were killed and more than 835 received injuries of various degrees of severity, the report says.”

Support 

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister urges NATO to provide Ukraine with modern aircraft and anti-aircraft defence so that it can shoot down all types of Russian missiles, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Ukraine reaffirms its full solidarity with Poland and stands ready to provide any necessary support. Collective response to Russian actions must be tough and principled, [Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro] Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

As an immediate response, Kuleba urged holding a NATO summit with Ukraine’s participation to craft further joint actions which will force Russia to change its course on escalation, as well as provide Ukraine with modern F-15 and F-16 aircraft and air defence systems, so that we can intercept any [incoming] Russian missiles. Today, protecting Ukraine’s skies means protecting NATO, Kuleba stressed.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also previously called on the Alliance to act, calling the Russian missile strike in Poland a very significant escalation.”

US targets supply of Iranian drones to Russia in new sanctions, Reuters reports. “The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on companies and people it accused of being involved in the production or transfer of Iranian drones that have been used by Russia in attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. The United States is seeking to increase pressure on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which has reduced cities to rubble and killed or wounded thousands. […]”

Biden requests $37.7 bln for Ukraine from Congress -officials, Reuters reports. “The Biden administration is asking Congress for […] an additional $37.7 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia as part of a supplemental funding request, US officials said on Tuesday. […] The funding for Ukraine for the duration of the fiscal year would go to defence equipment, humanitarian assistance, and nuclear security support, the White House said.”

Estonia calls for increasing aid to Ukraine to 1% of EU GDP, Ukrinform reports, citing Estonian national broadcaster ERR. “At an EU foreign ministerial in Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Urmas Reinsalu, proposed to change the model of support to Ukraine, increasing it fivefold from 0.2 to 1% of GDP.

European countries should apply a different approach, a different paradigm of supporting Ukraine. The current pace is not enough. Let’s look at the situation in perspective: the GDP of Ukraine is 1% of the GDP of the European Union. In essence, this whole fighting is now going on in Ukraine. Most of the expenses go for this fighting. And Europe in general supported them with about a fifth of a percent (0.2% – ed.) of its GDP. We will already change the situation if we can raise support for armaments and financial aid to one percent of our GDP, Reinsalu said.”

More Than 1,400 Ukrainian Patients Have Been Transferred to EU Hospitals Since March, European Pravda reports. “Since March 2022, with the support of the European Union, more than 1,400 Ukrainian patients have been transferred across Europe to provide them with specialised healthcare in hospitals. [The] patients were transferred to hospitals in 18 EU countries.”

New Developments 

  1. At least two dead after Russian missiles land in NATO state Poland on Ukraine border, Express According to EuroNews, “the Polish government raised its army’s level of readiness after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an emergency meeting of the country’s top national security and defence officials due to a “crisis situation” […]. The government is also mulling whether to invoke the NATO founding treaty’s Article 4, calling for a meeting of all NATO Member States after an ally’s territorial integrity or security has been breached.
  • Poland raises its army’s readiness level after an urgent meeting of the government committee for national security and defence affairs
  • Moscow rejects reports of stray Russian missiles as ‘deliberate provocation’
  • Poland’s foreign ministry said it had confirmed that the missile was Russian-made and that it had summoned the Russian ambassador “with a demand for an immediate detailed explanation,” according to a statement. Polish President Andrzej Duda, who spoke with Biden, was less definitive, saying that the missile was “probably” Russian-made, cautioning: “We do not have conclusive evidence at this time of who launched the missile.” (Politico)
  • USofficials have said the missile that hit Poland on Tuesday evening was fired by Ukrainian forces in their attempts to shoot down an incoming Russian projectile. Three US officials cited preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces during the Russian bombardment of energy infrastructure across Ukraine. (Independent)
  • NATO secretary-general says ‘all facts’ need to be established, the alliance is ‘monitoring the situation
  • NATO secretary general will chair an emergency alliance meeting on Wednesday (CNN)
  1. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry rejects Russia’s statements about missiles falling in Poland, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba. “Russia now promotes a conspiracy theory that it was allegedly a missile of Ukrainian air defence that fell on Poland, which is not true. No one should buy Russian propaganda or amplify its messages. This lesson should have been long learned after the downing of MH17. […] The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that it “had nothing to do” with the alleged missiles falling on the territory of Poland.”
  2. Moldova suffers power cuts following Russian missile strikes across Ukraine, CNNMoldova has suffered “massive power cuts” following a series of Russian missile strikes across Ukraine that targeted energy facilities, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu said Tuesday. Spinu said that the Russian aggression against Ukraine directly affects Moldova, warning that the risks of power cuts remain high.
  3. G20 summit deplores war in Ukraine ‘in strongest terms’, ReutersLeaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations deplored Russia’s aggression in Ukraine “in the strongest terms” on Wednesday and demanded its unconditional withdrawal in a declaration adopted at the end of a two-day summit. “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” the declaration said, signalling that Russia, which is a member of G20, opposed the wording. However, at least three diplomats said the statement, which recognised that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions”, was unanimously adopted. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the declaration also said.
  4. EC chief says G7 and NATO behind Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes, ReutersEuropean Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said G7 and NATO representatives at a meeting condemned brutal acts by Russia in Ukraine and stood united behind Kyiv, for as long as it takes“.
  5. Zelenskyy outlined Ukraine’s 10-point “formula for peace” at the G20 summit, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing President Zelenskyy’s G20 address. “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has outlined 10 proposals that comprise Ukraine’s “formula for peace” in his video address to the G20 summit in Bali. […] Zelenskyy said that Ukraine has put forward a set of solutions “that need to be implemented” and that he wants the conversation about those solutions to be public, rather than take place behind closed doors. […] He stated that he wants “this aggressive Russian war to end justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law,” and not hastily or haphazardly. Ukraine should not be offered to compromise its conscience, sovereignty, territory, and independence. […] It is obvious that Russia’s words cannot be trusted, and [that is why] there will be no Minsk-3 agreement, which Russia would violate immediately after signing. If no concrete actions to restore peace are undertaken, it means that Russia simply wants to deceive all of you again, to deceive the world and freeze the war just as its defeats have become particularly apparent. We will not allow Russia to wait it out, build up its forces, and then start a new series of terror and global destabilisation. I am convinced that now is the time when the Russian destructive war must, and can be, stopped.”
  6. Lavrov was offended that Zelenskyy does not listen to the advice of the West, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the press conference on 15 November. “Regarding signals to Zelenskyy from the West. Rumours are spreading that the US administration is telling Zelenskyy to be more compliant. I have drawn one conclusion from Zelenskyy’s speech at the G20 Summit, that he is not listening to any advice from the West [regarding negotiations with Russia – ed]. I won’t go into detail, but his rhetoric was bellicose, Russophobic, and aggressive. […] He called Ukraine’s conditions for negotiations deliberately unrealistic and inadequate in this situation“.

Commander-in-Chief says the Ukrainian military will not accept any negotiations or compromises, Ukrainska Pravda reported Monday. “Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has pointed out that Ukraine will not stop on the path towards liberating its territories under any circumstances, and will not make any compromises.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 15 November, 2022:

Russian forces conducted the largest set of missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure since the start of the war. Ukrainian Air Force Command spokesperson Yuriy Ignat reported on November 15 that Russian forces launched about 100 Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles at targets in Ukraine, primarily against Ukrainian critical infrastructure facilities. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces targeted Ukrainian infrastructure with ten drones. Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces struck targets in Kyiv as well as in Rivne, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Volyn, and Kharkiv oblasts.

The Russian military likely used a substantial portion of its remaining high-precision weapon systems in the coordinated missile strikes on November 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 73 Russian cruise missiles and all drones on November 15. Ukrainian air defenses had previously shot down 43 cruise missiles out of 84 and 13 drones out of 24 during the October 10 coordinated Russian missile strikes. Ukraine‘s increased shoot-down percentage illustrates the improvement in Ukrainian air defenses in the last month, and the Ukrainian General Staff attributed this improvement to the effectiveness of Western-provided air defense systems. ISW also assesses that Russian forces are greatly depleting their stock of high-precision weapons systems and will likely have to slow the pace of their campaign against critical Ukrainian infrastructure. Russian missile strikes continue to pose a threat to the Ukrainian civilian population with Ukrainian Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko stating that the energy situation is rather “critical” in Ukraine. Damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is unlikely to break Ukrainians’ spirit, however, given Ukraine’s improving air defenses and recent ground victories in Kherson Oblast.

Polish officials announced that a likely “Russian-made missile” landed in Poland within six kilometers of the international border with Ukraine. Western officials have yet to make definitive statements regarding the incident. The Polish Foreign Ministry stated on November 15 that a “Russian-made missile” killed two Polish citizens in the border village of Przewodow. Polish President Andrzej Duda noted that Poland does not currently have information regarding the actor responsible for firing the missile but noted that the missile was “most probably Russian-made.” The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) denied Russia’s involvement in striking any targets near the Ukraine-Polish border and claimed that the incident is a “provocation.” Russian forces, however, did target energy infrastructure in Lviv City, about 72km south of Przewodow. US President Joe Biden stated that according to preliminary information it is unlikely that the missile was fired from territorial Russia but emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing as of the time of this publication. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of staging a “serious provocation” on NATO territory. ISW will continue to monitor the situation.

The Kremlin had prepared today’s massive missile campaign before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy presented his 10-point peace proposal at the G20 summit on November 15. Zelensky reiterated that Ukraine will negotiate with Russia if the Kremlin totally withdraws its forces from Ukraine, restores Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and ensures punishment for war crimes among other provisions on nuclear, energy, and food security. The Kremlin likely deliberately planned a massive missile strike campaign on Ukraine in anticipation of Zelensky’s speech at the G20 summit given that a multi-direction missile campaign requires significant military preparation. The Russian pro-war community on Telegram claimed that the Kremlin retaliated for Zelensky’s “Russophobic” statements shortly after his speech, but the impossibility of launching such a massive attack on short notice highlights the Kremlin’s disinterest in setting the stage for negotiations with Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s official narrative surrounding the G20 summit further confirms Russia’s disinterest in the prospect of peace negotiations with Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear at the summit and instead signed numerous decrees granting honorary titles to Russian-occupied Ukrainian cities.  Putin’s Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia will continue its “special military operation” in Ukraine, accusing Zelensky of unwillingness to negotiate with Russia. Lavrov called Ukraine’s conditions “unrealistic and inadequate,” which has been the Kremlin’s recurrent position throughout the war. Peskov also made a point to emphasize that Russia will still treat liberated Kherson City as the capital of Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast, and Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev repeated the original false narratives used to justify the invasion that Russia needs to defend Donbas and that Ukrainian “Nazis” failed to comply with the Minsk agreements.

Russian military commanders reportedly ignored existing plans for offensive operations in the Vuhledar direction and committed poorly trained reinforcements to costly assaults on Pavlivka out of impatience. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) military commander Aleksandr Khodakovsky claimed on November 15 that Russian forces initially planned to attack in the Vuhledar area from two directions but that he and other commanders realized that the poor training of reinforcements and their inability to contact brigade commanders made such plans impossible. Khodakovsky claimed that brigade commanders changed the plan completely and committed all Russian forces in the area to an attack on Pavlivka, Donetsk Oblast. ISW had previously reported that Russian forces prematurely impaled an insufficient concentration of mobilized personnel on offensive pushes aimed at seizing Pavlivka leading to extensive losses, particularly among the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Pacific Fleet. Russian military officials likely abandoned their initial plans and committed poorly trained reinforcements to the assault on Pavlivka due to a sense of politically-driven urgency to restart the Donetsk offensive campaign before the planned Russian withdrawal from Kherson City.

The high costs associated with the Russian offensive push on Pavlivka continue to generate criticism of Russian military leadership. Khodakovsky claimed that Russian military leadership is trying to blame the “miserable results” on the commander of the 40th Separate Naval Infantry Brigade of the Pacific Fleet for not properly supporting the Russian 155th Naval Infantry Brigade. Khodakovsky argued that the brigade commanders are guilty of the high costs of the assault and that the commander of the Russian forces in Ukraine, Army General Sergey Surovikin, should not allow an “innocent” commander to take the blame for the poor planning of Russian military leadership. […] 

Russians are increasingly turning to various platforms on social media to express their dissatisfaction with mobilization problems, a phenomenon that has the ingredients to ignite organized online-based movements in Russia. Sixteen anti-war groups in Russia launched a petition demanding that Russian President Vladimir Putin demobilize all mobilized Russian men. The petition has already garnered almost 38,000 signatories as of the time of this publication. About 1,500 mothers of disabled children and mothers with more than three children in their households also petitioned Putin to exempt their husbands from mobilization. Russian opposition and non-governmental organizations such as Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg had voiced concerns with the Russian Armed Forces prior to the start of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine but did not receive significant attention within the Russian information space. Grievances over mobilization issues, however, reached the milblogger community that was already critical of the Russian Ministry of Defense and that has been discussing issues with the execution of mobilization since the second day of the order. These grievances are increasingly influencing both the opposition and the pro-war communities, which is a new phenomenon. While Russian police have consistently suppressed small-scale protests throughout the country the Kremlin has yet to regulate platforms such as Telegram that allow Russians across the country to share their discontent and demand action from local officials with the backing of prominent milbloggers.

Russian officials continued to set conditions to force the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to recognize Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and thereby de facto recognize the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine. The IAEA announced on November 14 that Russian ZNPP authorities rejected a Ukrainian proposal to bring two reactors to a low power state from a hot shutdown state and that Russian officials are increasingly making “significant operational decisions,” noting that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi expressed concern at “open contradictions” in decision making at the ZNPP. The IAEA and Ukraine’s Resistance Center reported that Russia is increasingly importing technical staff from Russian nuclear power plants to the ZNPP. The IAEA’s reporting and concerns about the decision-making hierarchy at the ZNPP is an inflection in the IAEA’s usual communications and suggests that Russian physical control and operational authority over the plant is increasing to a point that is alarming the IAEA.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces conducted the largest set of missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure since the start of the war, likely using a substantial portion of their remaining high-precision weapon systems.
  • Polish officials announced that a likely “Russian-made missile” landed in Poland within six kilometers of the international border with Ukraine.
  • Russian military commanders reportedly ignored existing plans for offensive operations in the Vuhledar direction and committed poorly trained reinforcements to costly assaults on Pavlivka out of impatience, generating continued criticism of Russian military leadership.
  • Russian officials continued to set conditions to force the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to recognize Russian control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and thereby de facto recognize the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine.
  • Russians are increasingly turning to various platforms on social media to express their dissatisfaction with mobilization problems, which could ignite organized online anti-war movements in Russia.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensives in the direction of Svatove and Kreminna, and Ukrainian forces continued targeting Russian logistics to the rear of Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar.
  • Premature reports of Ukrainian forces capturing territory on the left bank of the Dnipro River provoked backlash in the Russian information space.
  • Russian logistics routes from Crimea into southern Ukraine are likely highly degraded.
  • Russian forces are continuing to supply their diminishing supplies with Belarusian military equipment.

Russian officials continued to minimize the role of proxy officials in occupied territories in favor of Russian officials.“

Chechen leader’s and “Putin’s chef’s” armies created to suppress uprisings in Russia – Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Andrii Cherniak, representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, in an interview to RBC-Ukraine. “Prigozhin and Kadyrov are people who, in the service of protecting Putin’s power, have been given the right to create their own private armies. These armies were initially created mainly to suppress any potential uprisings inside Russia.”

According to Cherniak, the Kadyrovites [Chechen soldiers – ed.] are used as “barrier detachments” in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Their main task is to prevent conscripts and contract servicemen from desertion of  the battlefield.”

Russia not inclined to withdraw from other occupied areas of Ukraine, heavy battles ahead – Pentagon, Ukrinform reports. “The liberation of Kherson from the Russian invaders was a significant achievement for Ukraine, but the Russian Federation is not going to voluntarily depart from the rest of the occupied territories, so tough fighting is ahead. That’s according to a US senior defense official, Ukrinform reports citing the Pentagon’s press release.

The most significant development over the weekend was the Russian military’s withdrawal from Kherson City and the west bank of the Dnipro River, the official said. While we continue to monitor, we do assess that Russian forces have relocated onto the eastern side of the river and established their defensive lines, thus ceding a significant amount of territory to the Ukrainians to include your Kherson City, the official said.

The Pentagon official noted that, despite the successes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the front lines, the Russian Federation is not going to pull out from the remaining territories it has occupied.

The Russians don’t appear inclined to depart the rest of occupied Ukraine, [and] there’s undoubtedly still tough fighting ahead, the official said. But the liberation [of] Kherson City is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the grit, determination and tenacity of the Ukrainian people and their armed forces as they fight to defend their nation.

According to the official, as winter approaches, fighting in Ukraine might slow, but plans for US support are not predicted to slow, as this support is not predicated on weather, but on what the Ukrainians say they need. We will continue to work with them, alongside our international allies and our partners, to ensure that they have what they need to succeed on the battlefield, the official said. We’re prepared to do that for as long as it takes.” 

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

WTO warns of ‘real’ recession risk in some major economies, Reuters reports. “The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned on Wednesday that several major economies face a real risk of sliding into recession as the war in Ukraine, rising food and fuel costs, and soaring inflation cloud the global outlook.

It may not happen everywhere, but several key countries risk sliding into recession, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters on the sidelines of the G20 leaders meeting in Bali, Indonesia.”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: Imagine yourself being the first to arrive at the site of a car crash. The cars are on fire and some of the passengers are trapped inside. Some are laying injured on the side of the road. Now imagine yourself turning away and doing nothing because the victims are not your family or friends.

Imagine the police standing idle observing serious crime being conducted, turning away and doing nothing to help because the victims are not citizens or members of the community.

Imagine the fire service standing idle as the fire spreads and intensifies, turning away and doing nothing to help because the victims haven’t paid their taxes or are foreigners.

Now imagine the world’s biggest military Alliance watching a war unfolding without responding; seeing the preparations for a full-scale invasion and war without trying to stop it; watching men, women and children being killed, tortured, raped, executed, forcibly displaced without trying to intervene; witnessing critical infrastructure being destroyed without trying to stop the perpetrator; watching the world being held hostage to a terrorist while asking for dialogue and negotiations; standing idle while 15 million are forced to flee for fear of genocide.

Imagine the Alliance arguing that it couldn’t help because the victims weren’t members of the “club” and it feared the response of the aggressor (despite the one being far weaker than the alliance of thirty). Imagine it shrugging off the multiple repercussions for the world community as not its responsibility, and arguing that it is not its task to defend international law and our core values and principles.

The first part – the inaction in the face of an accident, a crime or a fire – is, luckily, mostly imagination. It is hard to imagine simply because society would find it utterly unacceptable from both a moral and legal point of view. We would be condemned for our ethical shortcomings.

The second part – inaction in the face of murder, torture, rape, execution, displacement by force, hunger, destruction, destabilisation, subversion, and the destruction of a nation – is, unfortunately, all too real.

NATO has decided to act in conflict with its past commitment and has chosen to be a bystander to a war and atrocities at its borders.

The sad fact is that after the war started on 20 February 2014 and escalated into a full-scale invasion eight years later, NATO has done nothing to stop it, despite that it is threatening the security and stability of its member states, despite calls from many of its member states to do more, despite the atrocities listed above, and despite the multiple calls for help.

Worse still, Russia has continued to escalate the war ever since without triggering any countermeasure from the Alliance. Some of the escalations observed since 24 February includes:

  • War crimes of Bucha, filtration and concentration camps, and the forced eviction of Ukrainians as a part of its attempt to exterminate the Ukrainian nation.
  • The devastation of cities (Mariupol, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv).
  • Escalating the Russian hybrid war against the West to destabilise and weaken Europe.
  • Weaponizing of food at the cost of increasing famine.
  • Massive destruction of critical civilian infrastructure in Ukraine to spark a humanitarian catastrophe and another refugee wave at the onset of winter.
  • Nuclear Blackmail, including it’s actions at and around Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power plants increasing the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe.

And still, NATO does nothing. Many of its member states have responded decisively in support of Ukraine recognising that their security is at stake. Some have decided to do nothing. But all of them limited their actions to support short of “boots on the ground”. NATO – as an Alliance – remains idle.

Why is this important?

Its inaction is consistent with its “Modus of Operandi” during the last 15 years which led Russia to believe that it would get away with a war in Europe. NATO’s much too obvious lack of will – not military capability, but political will – and the blatant cynicism demonstrated by many of its heads of state, led to the fatal strategic miscalculation by President Putin.

Today, Putin continues to escalate for the exact same reason. He still believes escalation to be the only way forward. And NATO still believes that being a bystander will bring peace.

Maybe – just maybe – stray missiles hitting allied territory will serve as a wake-up call. Or maybe not.

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