UN human rights chief says Russian strikes plunge millions into hardship. More than 70% of Ukraine’s electricity needs are covered. Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants reconnected to the grid.
Daily overview — Summary report, November 26
A map of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 UTC 26/11/22.
There have been no notable changes to control since the last update. pic.twitter.com/Ol6m0Xo9Sa
— War Mapper (@War_Mapper) November 26, 2022
The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 26, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:
“Russian forces continue armed aggression against our state and do not stop striking civilian objects. Focuses efforts on deterring the actions of units of the Defence Forces. The regrouping of enemy troops with the aim of strengthening the groups in the Lyman, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions is underway.
Over the past 24 hours, units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka and Nevelske settlements of the Donetsk oblast.
Russian forces launched 11 missile strikes, 7 air strikes and more than 50 MLRS attacks. Kupiansk and Chuhuiv of the Kharkiv oblast were hit by rockets; Bilenke in Donetsk oblast and Komyshuvakha and Kushugum in Zaporizhzhia oblast.
In the Volyn, Polissya, and Siverskyi directions, the situation has not changed significantly, and no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groups have been detected.
[In the Siverskyi region, in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions, Russian forces continue to carry out the task of covering the section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, conducting demonstrations and provocative actions.]
[The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, providing it with infrastructure, territory and airspace.]
- In the Slobozhanskyi direction, Russian forces carried out artillery fire on the areas of Kozacha Lopan, Strilecha, Lypka, Starytsa, Ohirtseve and Dvorichna settlements of the Kharkiv oblast.
- On the Kupiansk and Lyman directions, Russian forces are conducting an active defence, shelling the areas of the settlements of Kupiansk, Berestove, Kislivka and Tabaivka of the Kharkiv oblast with tanks and artillery; Stelmakhivka, Makiivka and Ploshchanka in the Luhansk oblast and Yampolivka and Torske in the Donetsk oblast.
- In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, the occupiers continue to focus their main efforts on conducting offensive actions. Shelling was recorded in the areas of Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Krasnohorivka, Vesele, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodyane, Nevelske and Mariinka settlements of Donetsk oblast.
- Russian forces are conducting active defensive operations in the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions. Fired tanks and the entire range of artillery in the areas of the settlements of Vuhledar, Prechystivka, Neskuchne, Vremivka, Novopil, Zelene Pole of the Donetsk oblast and Olhivske, Hulyaipole, Hulyaipilske and Charivne in Zaporizhzhia oblast.
- In the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson directions, Russian forces are carrying out fortification of positions along the coastline and in the depth of the defence, improving the logistical support of advanced units, and does not stop artillery shelling of the positions of our troops and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River. The cities of Ochakiv and Kherson were directly affected by enemy fire.
A large number of losses in enemy units operating in the Luhansk region is noted. In general, the number of civilian hospitals used by Russian forces to treat exclusively Russian military personnel increased in the temporarily occupied territory of the region. For the civilian population of the region, medical services are becoming less and less accessible. The hospitals of Krasnyi Luch, Anthracite and Lutugine settlements are full of wounded occupiers, and morgues are filled with the bodies of dead invaders.
Enemy losses for November 24 in the temporarily occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region have been confirmed. In the city of Melitopol, the ammunition depot of the occupiers was destroyed, about 50 people were injured of various degrees of severity. Two warehouses were destroyed in the Vasylivskyi district. Here, up to 130 occupiers were wounded, and 7 units of military equipment of various types were also destroyed. The number of liquidated enemy personnel is being specified.
[Russian forces continue to suffer losses, in particular in training centres before being sent to the area of hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. So, in particular, in the village of Derevnaya, Brest region of the Republic of Belarus, on November 22, as a result of violations of security measures at night, one occupant died and one was injured.]
[In the village of Chaplinka, Kherson oblast, the invaders are looking for relatives of servicemen who participated in the anti-terrorist operation and security forces. In addition, the search for abandoned residential buildings for housing the personnel of units of the Russian occupation forces continues.]
[Russian forces continue to put pressure on Zaporizhzhia NPP workers. According to available information, individual workers who refuse to cooperate with the occupation authorities are not allowed to work.]
[In Simferopol, the occupation authorities are conducting measures to inform the population about actions in the event of an air alert, as well as chemical and bacteriological danger.]
The issue of logistical support for mobilized Russian servicemen remains unresolved. So, in the Kostroma region, through social networks, the population is called to make camouflage nets, warm clothes, sleeping bags, and other things that are so necessary for military personnel in the field. At the same time, despite the propaganda measures, there is a certain decline in the material support of the Russian invaders from the civilian population.
The Russian military-political leadership began to receive reports on the real state of affairs of the conducted mobilization and the implementation of the plan for the autumn draft for military service. It is known that the military commanders of the Kaliningrad region are no longer carrying out plans for the autumn conscription due to the evasion of conscripts.
During the day, the aviation of the Defence Forces made 14 strikes on areas where Russian personnel, weapons and military equipment were concentrated, as well as 4 strikes on the positions of its anti-aircraft missile systems.
During the current day, soldiers of missile forces and artillery hit the control post, 5 areas of concentration of personnel and anti-aircraft defences of Russian forces, as well as 2 other important objects of Russian forces.“
Russians go ballistic after ammunition depot is blown up in occupied Mykhailivka, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Ivan Fedorov, Mayor of Melitopol. “On Friday morning, a Russian ammunition depot was blown up in the village of Mykhailivka, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, after which the invaders began to take a large number of locals prisoner.”
No Russian ships equipped with missiles are on duty in the Black and Azov Seas yet, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ukrainian Navy. “There are 11 enemy ships on combat duty in the Black Sea; Russian forces continue to control sea communications keeping 2 ships on combat duty in the Azov Sea.”
According to the infographics provided by the Navy, there are no 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile carriers on these ships. At the same time, ships equipped with missiles are on duty only in the Mediterranean Sea.”
According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours):
The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is continuing.
The map below is the latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 25 November 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/9Ce6bEydSg
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) November 25, 2022
- Russia is likely removing the nuclear warheads from ageing nuclear cruise missiles and firing the unarmed munitions at Ukraine. Open source imagery shows wreckage of an apparently shot-down AS-15 KENT air launched cruise missile (ALCM), designed in the 1980s exclusively as a nuclear delivery system. The warhead had probably been substituted for ballast.
- Although such an inert system will still produce some damage through the missile’s kinetic energy and any unspent fuel, it is unlikely to achieve reliable effects against intended targets. Russia almost certainly hopes such missiles will function as decoys and divert Ukrainian air defences.
- Whatever Russia’s intent, this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia’s stock of long-range missiles.
- Two months after President Putin announced a ‘partial mobilisation’, common themes are emerging in the experience of mobilised Russian reservists. Their deployment is often characterised by confusion over eligibility for service, inadequate training and personal equipment, and commitment to highly attritional combat missions.
- Most – though not all – mobilised reservists have previously served and numerous examples suggest that reservists are highly likely not having their medical status adequately reviewed and many are being compelled to serve with serious, chronic health conditions.
- Mobilised reservists have highly likely experienced particularly heavy casualties after being committed to dig ambitious trench systems while under artillery fire around the Luhansk Oblast town of Svatove. In Donetsk Oblast, reservists have been killed in large numbers in frontal assaults into well-established Ukrainian defensive zones around the town of Bakhmut. The Kremlin will likely be concerned that an increasing number of reservists’ families are prepared to risk arrest by protesting against the conditions their relatives are serving under.
Losses of the Russian army
As of Saturday 26 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 86710 (+560),
- Tanks – 2901 (+2),
- Armoured combat vehicles – 5848 (+4),
- Artillery systems – 1896 (+1),
- Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 395 (+0),
- Air defence means – 209 (+0),
- Aircraft – 278 (+0),
- Helicopters – 261 (+0),
- Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4406 (+2),
- Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
- UAV operational and tactical level – 1554 (+1),
- Special equipment – 163 (+0),
- Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
- Cruise missiles – 531 (+0)
Putin requires increased production for war although plants already working several shifts, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax. “Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, called on the Russian state corporation Rostech to increase the production and supply of equipment that Russia needs in the war against Ukraine.”
"Graveyard" of Russian military equipment in Belgorod Oblast
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
UN rights boss says Russian strikes plunge millions into hardship, Reuters reports. “The UN human rights chief said on Thursday that Russian strikes on critical infrastructure in Ukraine since October had killed at least 77 civilians and were plunging millions of people into extreme hardship. Much of the country remained without heat or power after the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid so far. Since early October, Russia has launched missiles roughly once a week in a bid to destroy the Ukrainian power grid.
Moscow acknowledges attacking basic infrastructure but denies it targets civilians, saying it aims to reduce Ukraine’s ability to fight and push it to negotiate. Kyiv says such attacks are a war crime.
Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling conditions of life by these strikes said Volker Turk in a statement. Taken as a whole, this raises serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each object attacked.”
Julien is from France and lives in #Odesa. He's a teacher and now has to give online lessons from cafes.
"It gets hard but I hope for the best. People are strong and don't give up. They will fight. They won't let Russians enter the city."
And, music and art in the main street. pic.twitter.com/nLUJy5x5Q4
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
More than 70% of Ukraine’s electricity needs are covered, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of Ukrenergo [Ukrainian national energy company]. “Thus, first of all, electricity was supplied to boiler houses, gas distribution stations, water utilities, and sewage treatment plants. Public electric transport is working in some oblasts. Nuclear power plants continue to gain capacity, and in addition, the power supply of the Zaporizhzhia NPP was ensured. Despite the damage caused by the missile attacks, thermal and hydroelectric power plants, combined heat and power plants, and a part of the “green” energy generation facilities have been put into operation.
Ukrenergo notes that work continues to restore power to household consumers, but difficult weather conditions slow down the pace of restoration. Due to strong winds, rain, and sub-zero temperatures at night, the damage caused by the Russian missiles is accompanied by icing and broken wires in distribution networks.
The system still has an electricity deficit. Currently, it is 30% of the total consumption. In this regard, both planned and emergency consumption restriction schedules have been implemented in all oblasts of Ukraine.”
Numbers of consumers affected by blackout halved – Zelenskyy, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing President Zelenskyy. “Between Wednesday and today [Friday], we were able to halve the number of people for whom electricity has been cut off in order to stabilise the system.
As of this evening, blackouts continue in most regions and Kyiv. In total, more than six million consumers [are affected]. On Wednesday, almost 12 million subscribers were cut off from the grid. The capital of Ukraine is seeing the most problems at the moment, as well as in the Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Vinnytsia and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.”
Life in liberated Kherson: euphoria, blackout and Russian bombs.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants reconnected to the grid – IAEA, Reuters reports. “Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants have been reconnected to the national power grid after completely losing off-site power earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday. The facilities were all disconnected from the grid on Wednesday for the first time in Ukrainian history after the latest wave of Russian air strikes on vital infrastructure.
In a statement, the IAEA nuclear watchdog said Ukraine had informed it on Friday that its Rivne, South Ukraine and Khmelnytskyy plants had been reconnected. Ukraine reconnected its vast Zaporizhzhia plant on Thursday, Kyiv said earlier.
The Zaporizhzhia plant, which was seized by Russia in the early phase of its Feb. 24 invasion, was shut down in September, but still needs electricity to keep up essential safety work.”
440 children were killed, 849 children injured, 11,461 deported by foe forces, and 329 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of November 26. 2,719 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 332 of them are destroyed fully. 49,471 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 19,139 crimes against national security were registered.
EU to intensify supply of generators, transformers to Ukraine – President of EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Ukraine will receive 200 medium-sized transformers from Lithuania, autotransformer from Latvia, &
40 heavy generators from the rescEU reserve https://t.co/7esCe7O57P
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
Some nations send Ukraine weapons secretly – Kuleba, Ukrinform reports, citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. “Some countries provide military aid to Ukraine, although they do not talk about it and even deny their participation. In these cases, Ukraine receives weapons via third countries, not directly. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba says partners not only transfer their own weapons but also work with third countries, buying equipment from them before forwarding it to Ukraine.
Most of these third countries publicly say that they are supplying nothing, but things are happening behind the scenes, he noted. […] As Ukrinform reported earlier, as a result of negotiations with the American government, the Israeli authorities transferred millions of dollars for the purchase of “strategic equipment” for Ukraine. In October, Israel provided Ukraine with intelligence to be used for downing Iranian-made one-way attack drones.”
Germany in talks with allies over Polish push for Patriot deployment to Ukraine, Reuters reports. “Germany said on Friday it was discussing with allies Poland’s request that German Patriot air defence units be sent to Ukraine after NATO’s chief suggested the military alliance might not oppose such a move. […] Berlin offered Warsaw the Patriot system to help secure its airspace after a stray missile crashed and killed two people in Poland last week. Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak later asked Germany to send the fire units to Ukraine instead.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said such deployments should be decisions for individual nations, taking into account rules around final users. […] Stoltenberg’s comments came after German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Thursday said sharing Germany’s Patriot units outside NATO territory would require prior discussions with NATO and the allies. […]
On Friday, the Polish president said it was Germany’s decision where its Patriot air defence units are stationed, adding that it would be better for Poland’s security if they were on Ukrainian territory near the border. […] Duda later said that Germany could send the Patriot units to Ukraine without NATO troops to operate them, something he says Kyiv has been asking for for a while.”
The US deploys in Poland repair base for Ukraine’s artillery – media, Ukrinform reports, citing The New York Times. “The Pentagon has set up on the territory of Poland a repair point for Western artillery weapons supplied to Ukraine. Sources in American defence agencies say a third of the Western-made howitzers handed over to Ukraine are currently [out] of service.
Given the existing problems with repairing artillery on the ground, it has become a priority for the US European Command to address the issue by establishing a repair hub in Poland. The overhaul of such weapons has been going on for months. The condition of weaponry provided to Ukraine is the subject of close attention among US military officials, who declined to discuss details of the program.”
Norway allocates $15M for EU military mission in support of Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “The Government of Norway allocates approximately NOK 150 million ($15.1 million) to the European Union Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine). This is said in a statement published on the Norwegian government’s website.
Ukraine depends on support from other countries, not least to obtain sufficient weapons and materials to stand up to Russian warfare. Norway has provided considerable support and will continue to contribute with donations of military material. It is important for Norwegian and European security that Russia does not win its war against Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are fighting an important battle for democracy and justice, said Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram. In addition, Norway is financing parts of an Estonian donation of a field hospital to Ukraine, as well as donating five military ambulance buses.”
France sends 100 generators to Ukraine to help 🇺🇦 people get through the winter after Russian missile attacks on 23 November – 🇫🇷 Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
EU to provide more help to maintain power and heating in Ukraine, Reuters reports. “The European Union will step up efforts to provide Ukraine with support to restore and maintain power and heating, the head of the European Commission said on Friday, after a new wave of Russian missile attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure.
Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement after a phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the EU executive arm was preparing the delivery to Ukraine large donations from EU countries and from the Commission’s reserves.
Von der Leyen said the EU would provide 200 medium-sized transformers and a large autotransformer from Lithuania, a medium-sized autotransformer from Latvia and 40 heavy generators from the EU reserve in Romania. Each of these generators can provide uninterrupted power to a small to medium-sized hospital, she said.
The European Commission is additionally working on a new energy hub in Poland to allow donations from third parties and help with their delivery to Ukraine in a coordinated fashion, particularly with our G7 partners, she said.”
USAID delivers more than 1,000 power generators to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing the US Embassy in Ukraine. “The United States continues to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people amid Russia’s continuing attacks. With Russia intensifying its attacks against Ukraine’s electricity system, USAID has delivered more than 1,000 power generators to help hospitals, schools, emergency services, government agencies, and other public service providers continue working amid the war, the report says.”
Prague sends an aid package to Ukrainian victims of Russian missile attacks
On Nov. 25, Zdeněk Hřib, the mayor of Prague, said that the city sent 626 heaters, 18 electric heating units, & medical equipment worth more than $34 mn to Ukrainehttps://t.co/ERNi6gd8SA
📷by UNIAN pic.twitter.com/YRwNyIRotz
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
Ukrainian Intelligence names global companies that presumably sell chips for Russian missile strikes, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “Russia’s GLONASS system, which is used to aim missiles and drones, has a weak spot: it depends on microchips produced by foreign companies. Defence Intelligence reports that a number of American and European companies still continue to produce microchips that support Russia’s GLONASS: Linx Technologies (USA); Broadcom (USA); Qualcomm (USA); Telit (USA); Maxim Integrated (USA); TRIMBLE (USA); Cavli Wireless (USA); u-blox AG (Switzerland); STMicroelectronics (Switzerland); Sierra Wireless (Canada); NovAtel (Canada); Septentrio (Belgium); and Antenova (Great Britain).
Russia, in turn, continues to purchase GLONASS-supporting microchips thanks to numerous shell companies and distributors. They are used in, at least, such weapons as: Orlan-10 and Shahed-136 drones, Tornado-S and Smerch MLRS, Iskander, Kalibr and Kinzhal missiles, as well as Kh-101, Kh-555, Kh-38, Kh-59MK, Kh-31 aviation and cruise missiles.
Without foreign-made GLONASS-enabled chips, Russians will have to build their own microelectronics from scratch.”
Ukraine raids the Chernivtsi-Bukovyna eparchy controlled by the Moscow Patriarchate
During the search, 🇺🇦Security Service found Russian propaganda manuals, pro-Kremlin literature, and “Hero of Russia” certificates on the territory of the churchhttps://t.co/kc5RBgyrdk
📷by SBU pic.twitter.com/YjBe3zPt3i
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
- Russia not looking for peace now, Ukrinform “Russia is now looking not for peace but for respite to continue aggression with new forces. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly made a corresponding statement at a joint briefing in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. […] Recently, the mass media claim that the partners are allegedly pushing Ukraine to premature negotiations with Russia. It is important to note[…] that Russia is not looking for peace right now. It is looking for respite to continue the aggression and destruction of Ukraine and Ukrainians with new forces, Kuleba said.”
- Stoltenberg explains why talks with Russia make no sense today, Ukrinform reports, citing Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “There will be no lasting peace if the aggressor wins if oppression and autocracy prevail over freedom and democracy. Most wars end with negotiations but what happens at the negotiating table depends on what happens on the battlefield. Therefore, the best way to increase the chances of a peaceful solution is to support Ukraine. So NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will not back down, said the General Secretary. He reiterated that the world must not allow Putin to win because otherwise all of us will pay a much higher price, for many years to come.”
- Zelenskyy: Solutions that don’t involve liberating Crimea are a “waste of time“, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Zelenskyy in an interviewwith Financial Times. “President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he is prepared to consider “non-military means” of returning Crimea under Ukraine’s control, but believes that the options that do not involve liberating the peninsula from Russian occupation a waste of time.”
- Kremlin does not like Zelenskyy’s categorical stance on liberating Crimea, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the Russian President. “You know that since the very beginning and the President [Putin – ed.] has said this multiple times, even before the special operation, the Constitution of Ukraine stated that Crimea should be brought back to Ukraine by military means, by force. And de facto, Ukraine has not given it up, and for us, it is nothing more than a discussion of annexation of the territory of the Russian Federation; there can be no other interpretation here; this is out of the question.”
- EU delays talks on Russian oil price cap until next week – diplomats, Reuters “A meeting of European Union government representatives, scheduled for Friday evening to discuss a Group of Seven (G7) proposal to cap Russian seaborne oil prices, was cancelled, EU diplomats said. […]European Union governments were spliton the level at which to cap Russian oil prices to curb Moscow’s ability to pay for its war in Ukraine without causing a global oil supply shock. The cap is to enter into force on Dec. 5. The idea of the cap is to prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude around the globe, unless it is sold for less than the price set by the Group of Seven nations and its allies.”
- Ukrainian delegation to boycott OSCE Assembly since they could not expel Russia, Ukrainska Pravda “The Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is going to boycott the organisation’s work after its Standing Committee could not change the rules in order to expel Russia. This was reportedby a member of the delegation, Yevheniia Kravchuk (of the Sluha Narodu [Servant of the People] party), as stated by European Pravda.“
- NATO troops hold drills in Poland’s Suwalki Gap, Reuters “NATO forces took part in drills in northern Poland on Friday, an area of crucial significance to the security of the alliance’s eastern flank. The Suwalki Gap, a sparsely populated area of Polish territory lying between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, is of strategic importance because its takeover by Russia would isolate the Baltic states from the rest of NATO. […] As part of these drills there were exercises that… were formulated based on our experience and observation of the battlefield in Ukraine, said Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. We know what methods Russia uses and what methods (of defence) are effective.”
- Bundestag Ready to Recognise Holodomor as Genocide, European Pravda “The majority of political groups in the German Bundestag have reached an agreement on a joint resolution recognising the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.”
- Soldiers’ mothers who met with Putin turned out to be hand-picked from pro-government bodies, Ukrainska Pravda “Vladimir Putin, the president of the aggressor country, supposedly met with the mothers of soldiers fighting against Ukraine on 25 November. An independent news outlet has identified the women who attended the meeting.”
Hungary to ratify NATO membership for Finland & Sweden, Hungarian PM Orban says – CNN
While all 30 NATO members formally invited the two countries to join the alliance back in the summer, Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the accession protocol.https://t.co/gNWZkqYAGf
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) November 25, 2022
- On the war.
The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 25 November, 2022:
“Eastern Ukraine: (Eastern Kharkiv Oblast-Western Luhansk Oblast)
Russian forces conducted limited counterattacks to regain lost positions northwest of Svatove between November 24 and 25. Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, reported on November 24 that Russian troops are continuing efforts to retake positions around Kupiansk, about 45km northwest of Svatove. The Ukrainian General Staff noted on November 25 that Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks on Stelmakhivka, 15km northwest of Svatove. Russian sources also widely claimed that Russian troops began attacking Novoselivske (14km northwest of Svatove) on November 24 and that Russian troops entered the settlement and began consolidating positions on November 25 in order to cut Ukrainian access to the P07 highway that runs into Svatove. A Russian military correspondent posted pictures of Russian trenches and concrete dragon’s teeth fortification in the Svatove area on November 24 and noted that artillery units of the Russian Western Military District comprised of mobilized recruits are the holding defense of Kreminna. Russian sources continue to highlight the poor conditions and muddy terrain in this area, although the deep freeze that is forecasted to set in starting in about a week will likely accelerate the pace of operations.
Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops continued counteroffensive operations towards Kreminna on November 24 and 25. The Russian Ministry of Defense and other Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attempted to attack toward Chervonopopivka and Ploshchanka, 6km and 15km northwest of Kreminna, on November 24 and 25. The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Russian troops attempted to attack toward Dibrova, 5km southwest of Kreminna. Russian sources continued to claim that Ukrainian forces are conducting strikes on Russian rear areas behind the Svatove-Kreminna line between November 24 and 25.
Reports of poorly staffed, provisioned and supplied Russian mobilized personnel are dividing the Russian information space, exposing the tension between milblogger mobilization narratives, Wagner Group narratives, and actual Russian efforts to alleviate morale issues. Mobilized personnel from Serpukhov, Moscow Oblast, claimed on November 23 that the Russian military command sent them into battle without proper training, uniforms, or protective gear, leading them to suffer mass casualties. These personnel also claimed that command only feeds the mobilized personnel once a day despite having enough food to provide more meals. A Russian source reported that the Serpukhov mobilized personnel now face a military tribunal for desertion, but the men later released a second video denying that they are deserters and stating they are willing to serve on the second and third lines of defence rather than the front line.
Russian milblogger responses split between calling for compassion for the mobilized personnel and punishment only for leadership, and punishment for the entire unit. A Russian milblogger claimed that these Russian personnel abandoned their positions in Makiivka, Luhansk Oblast, and left other members of their unit to be executed when surrendering to Ukrainian forces (an accusation that the Ukrainian government is investigating). Some Russian milbloggers, including at least one channel affiliated with the Wagner Group, sympathized with the Serpukhov personnel and criticized the Russian training and command issues that led to this situation. These milbloggers also criticized other Russian milbloggers who, they say, wrongfully condemned the Serpukhov personnel for Russian military command, training, and provisioning issues out of their control. One Russian milblogger even claimed that military personnel do not refuse to fight, but that they do not want to be “cannon fodder.” Alexander “Sasha” Kots, a milblogger whom Russian President Vladimir Putin recently appointed to the Russian Human Rights Council, called for objectivity when viewing the video and said he would raise the issue with Putin in his new position on the Human Rights Council. However, some milbloggers still criticized Kots for being too soft on the Serpukhov personnel and called for increasingly harsh penalties. The mixed responses from milbloggers with various Kremlin and external affiliations about ongoing mobilization issues further illustrate the extent of the erosion of Russian morale and the increase in confusion among the pro-war Russian nationalist community resulting from poorly-executed mobilization and other force generation efforts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin falsely presented a meeting with 18 hand-picked women holding influential positions in the Russian political sphere as an open discussion with the mothers of mobilized personnel on November 25, two days before Russian Mother’s Day. Russian media publicized the meeting in an apparent attempt to assuage discontent from relatives of the mobilized and appeals from genuine mothers’ and wives’ groups. Putin used the meeting to pledge to improve conditions for the mobilized, to call on Russians to distrust unfavorable media reports surrounding mobilization, and to display solidarity with the families of Russian soldiers. Meanwhile, the calls of relatives of Russian soldiers have reportedly not received a response. A Russian news channel posted a video on November 24 in which a Russian woman claims that authorities will not meet with her even though she has been looking for her soldier son who disappeared in March. The Council of Mothers and Wives posted that unidentified individuals began to surveil their members following their November 21 announcement of a roundtable discussion to consider the problems facing conscripts. YouTube channel Moms of Russia posted a video appeal to Putin in which several mothers asked Putin to prevent the mobilization of their only child. ISW saw no evidence of a response to the video from Putin. The Council of Mothers and Wives reportedly also expressed the belief that the invitation to Putin’s meeting of mothers only applied to specially selected individuals.
An investigation by Forbes’ Ukrainian service revealed the extent of the financial strains that the war in Ukraine has imposed on Russia’s annual budget. Forbes found that Russia has spent $82 billion dollars on the first nine months of the war in Ukraine, amounting to one quarter of its entire 2021 annual budget of $340 billion. The investigation emphasized the impact that mobilization had on military-related expenditures since October and observed that providing for the 300,000 mobilized cost an additional $1.8 billion per month in addition to the increased costs of providing ammunition, equipment, and salaries to mobilized recruits, which in total amounted to a $2.7 billion increase following mobilization. ISW has previously reported on the detrimental effects of mobilization and the Kremlin’s overall war effort on the Russian federal budget. In addition to the massive impact the first nine months of the war have had on the federal budget, ISW has also observed that local Russian administrations on the regional level have disproportionately borne the brunt of mobilization in a way that will continue to have reverberating social and financial impacts into 2023.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) may have increased the frequency of prisoner of war (POW) exchanges in an attempt to soothe discontent in the information space regarding its prior failures to negotiate the return of Russian POWs. Russian and Ukrainian sources reported three concurrent POW exchanges between November 23 and 25. Russian and Ukrainian officials exchanged 35 Russian POWs for 35 Ukrainian POWs on November 23, 50 Russian POWs for 50 Ukrainian POWs on November 24, and nine Russian POWs for nine Ukrainian POWs on November 25. The frequency of POW exchanges over the past few days is an inflection in itself- the Russian MoD has been notably restrained in the conduct of such exchanges and has faced significant criticism over its apparent lack of regard for Russian POWs in recent months. The increased frequency of POW exchanges is likely meant partially to address discontent from Russian milbloggers, who reported on the most recent series of exchanges with a relatively neutral tone and emphasized the equal ratio of exchange.
A Ukrainian official confirmed that Ukrainian forces killed Iranian advisors in Russian-occupied Crimea in October and stressed that Ukraine would target any Iranian military presence on Ukrainian territory. Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov confirmed that Ukrainian forces killed the Iranian military advisors in a November 24 interview with the Guardian. Danilov did not specify how many Iranian advisors Ukrainian forces killed, but an October 10 Jerusalem Post report put the figure at 10 Iranian military advisors. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby confirmed on October 20 that Iranian military personnel are in Russian-occupied Crimea to assist Russian forces in operating Iranian-made drone in attacks on Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure. Danilov also threatened that Ukrainian forces would target any Iranian military presence on Ukrainian territory. The confirmation and threat will likely not dissuade Iran from continuing to support Russia through the provision of high-precision weapons systems. ISW has previously assessed that Iran may be supplying drones and potentially ballistic missiles to the Russian Federation to more clearly establish an explicit bilateral security relationship with Russia in which they are more equal partners.
- Reports of a group of understaffed and ill-supplied mobilized personnel are dividing the Russian information space.
- President Vladimir Putin falsely presented a meeting with hand-picked women as an open discussion with mothers of mobilized personnel.
- An investigation by Forbes’ Ukrainian service revealed that the war in Ukraine has had a serious financial impact on the Russian Federation’s annual budget.
- The Russian MoD may have increased the frequency of POW exchanges to soothe discontent in the Russian information space.
- A Ukrainian official confirmed that Ukrainian forces killed Iranian military advisors in Russian-occupied Crimea and threatened to target Iranian military presence on Ukrainian territory.
- Russian military leadership may be circulating a document stating that Russia needs to mobilize five million personnel to win the war in Ukraine, which Russia cannot do.
- Russian forces conducted limited counterattacks to regain lost positions northwest of Svatove and Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Kreminna.
- Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, and influential Russian figures may be setting informational conditions to deflect blame for a lack of progress in the Bakhmut area.
- Russian forces continued to establish defenses south of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast and around critical ground lines of communication (GLOCs) connecting Crimea to southern Kherson Oblast.
- Russian sources and officials continue attempts to shape the narrative around a likely second partial mobilization while denying the potential for general mobilization.
Russian officials are continuing efforts to stimulate demographic change in occupied areas of Ukraine by deporting Ukrainian residents and replacing them with imported Russian citizens.“
Russia tells its troops there must be 5 million of them for victory, Ukrainska Pravda reported Thursday, citing Ukrinform. “The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that the military and political command of Russia is spreading a document called “Conclusions of the war with NATO in Ukraine” among the military. It is stated in the document that 5 million Russian troops must be deployed in order for Russia to win.
A part of this ‘masterpiece’ among other things focuses on the main problems of the Russian occupying forces such as the commanders’ inability to command troops, low level of discipline and military training, obsolescence of armament and military equipment, commanders’ inability to make decisions without obligatorily coordinating them with higher command etc. Meanwhile it is stated in every document that the Defence Forces of Ukraine have a quite high level of equipment, and commanders on all levels can make decisions in combat conditions themselves.
It is also stated in the document that there has not been such a war in the previous 80 years, and Russia needs its army to consist of nearly 5 million troops in order to win. [Oleksii Hromov, the deputy head of the Main Operative Directorate of the Ukrainian General Staff] remarked that according to the estimates of some Russian offices, it may hint at the next mobilisation wave and implementing martial law in the country.”
Russians continue to deploy their forces in Belarus, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “It is known that the Russians have deployed about 63 tents in the area of the village of Babunichi (Gomel Oblast). In total, up to 12,000 conscripted Russians have already been deployed on the territory of the country.
As the National Resistance Center states, getting into Belarus is a privilege for the Russian invaders, as the conditions at the training grounds there are much better than in Russia. The Armed Forces of Belarus fully meet the needs of the Russian contingent. The NRC points out that the Russians have actually taken control of the so-called Russian-Belarusian combined force, and this is another sign of Belarus’ loss of sovereignty.”
Warning about disinformation about a possible attack from the north, from the Ukrainian General Staff. “In recent days, information has been spreading in the Ukrainian information space about Russian forces’s alleged plans to attack Ukraine by a strike group of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus from the northern borders of Ukraine at the end of November. This information is reinforced by anonymous “dumps” about a massive missile and air attack that will precede such an invasion.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reports that such information is not true. The purpose of such a special information operation is to provoke Ukraine to transfer a significant part of its troops to the border with Belarus in order to weaken the offensive potential of the Armed Forces in the east and south of Ukraine, and at the same time to show Belarusians the alleged intentions of our state to attack the territory of Belarus, thereby provoking Belarusians to enter the war.
In addition, such messages are intended to sow panic among Ukrainian society and are part of hostile information and psychological special operations. This is also indicated by the fact that at first similar messages indicated the date of a possible “invasion” of November 25-28, and after a few hours the date of the “invasion” shifted to November 28-29.[…]
We emphasize that the Defense Forces of Ukraine provide reliable protection of our northern borders and are ready to repel an enemy attack at any moment. In addition, we inform you that according to intelligence data, there is currently no strike group on the territory of Belarus that can perform similar tasks.”
Kremlin plotting to liquidate Lukashenko, seize control of Belarus army – think tank, Ukrinform reports. “Sources within the Russian military leadership say the Kremlin has [decided] on a radical “solution” to the issue of dragging Belarus into Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine. That’s according to Robert Lansing Institute for Global Threats and Democracies Studies, a US-based think tank.
On the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his return from the latest CSTO summit, the Russian military intelligence may attempt in the coming days to pursue a scenario involving either an assassination attempt targeting Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko or its imitation, with the aim of ultimately intimidating the latter and prompting him to finally order his troops to directly engage in the war on Ukraine, alongside Russian troops, sources report.
The Russian GRU is looking into the scenario involving Lukashenko’s death and his replacement by CSTO General Secretary Stanislav Zas, who is fully loyal to Russia and under GRU’s control. According to the said plot, Zas will shortly declare Belarus’s accession into Russia as an autonomous entity, allegedly to prevent the military threat facing Belarus from Ukraine and Poland. A propaganda narrative will be spun again claiming that the attempt on Lukashenko has been masterminded by Washington. […]
In both scenarios, be it an unsuccessful or successful attempt on Aleksandr Lukashenko, fabricated ‘evidence’ will be presented of the involvement of Ukraine and Poland under the leadership of NATO intelligence, which will offer a formal pretext for the further participation of Belarusian troops in combat operations on Ukrainian soil, the report reads.
The GRU tilts toward the scenario involving the murder of Lukashenko and the appointment of Zas, analysts report citing sources. The agency’s argument is that the incumbent Belarusian leader will understand who is really behind the hoax attempt. After that, while further pushing the anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western rhetoric, he will continue to maneuver, dodging the approval of his country’s direct participation in hostilities on the Ukrainian territory, reads the piece.
It is likely that Russia aims at merging the two armies under a single command of its own, the think tank assesses. With Russian troops already deployed in Belarus and sabotage groups being sent there, the risk is high for Lukashenko to lose office and be replaced by a Russian puppet leader anytime soon, the report stresses. Russia is most likely to stage acts of armed provocation in Belarus with a view to push Lukashenko into joining the war. But fear of losing power will remain a key obstacle for him to make that step. The latest reports coming from sources in Moscow speak in favor of a dramatic scenario for Aleksandr Lukashenko.””
Even hypothetical attempts by Russian invaders to take Kyiv are doomed, say Kyiv authorities, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “The Kyiv City Military Administration has posted photographs of the construction of fortifications in Kyiv and assured everyone that even hypothetical attempts by the Russians to seize the capital are doomed.
The administration stressed that according to the command of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, at the moment there is no record of a sufficient number of Russian military units to attack from the northern front. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s military personnel, together with civil engineers and builders, are working to reinforce the city’s defence capabilities, and powerful fortifications are being equipped.
At platoon and company strong points, the Defence Forces are equipping places for the shelter and accommodation of military personnel. Long-term fire structures for conducting defensive combat are also being installed.”
Security Service of Ukraine finds Russian manuals and IDs in diocese of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the SSU on Telegram. “The Security Service of Ukraine [SSU] has conducted searches on the territory of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate [UOC-MP]. […] As a result of investigative actions, law enforcement officers discovered documents that confirm the presence of Russian citizenship in the leadership of diocesan structures.
The correspondence of the heads of the diocese with their Moscow overseers was also exposed; in these, they are instructed about the “special features” of conducting church liturgies after a full-scale invasion.”
In these letters, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church set the task of misinforming parishioners about the social and political situation in Ukraine, and the situation at the front line. They demanded that the priests of the UOC-MP deny the armed aggression of Russia, to talk about the alleged oppression of the “Moscow Church”, etc.
The SSU also found warehouses with wholesale batches of pro-Kremlin literature that praises the aggressor country and calls for support for the occupiers.”
- Consequences and what to do?
US and NATO scramble to arm Ukraine and refill their own arsenals, The New York Times reports. “The West thought an artillery and tank war in Europe would never happen again and shrunk weapons stockpiles. It was wrong. When the Soviet Union collapsed, European nations grabbed the “peace dividend,” drastically shrinking their defense budgets, their armies and their arsenals. […] In Ukraine, the kind of European war thought inconceivable is chewing up the modest stockpiles of artillery, ammunition and air defences of what some in NATO call Europe’s “bonsai armies,” after the tiny Japanese trees. Even the mighty United States has only limited stocks of the weapons the Ukrainians want and need, and Washington is unwilling to divert key weapons from delicate regions like Taiwan and Korea, where China and North Korea are constantly testing the limits.
Now, nine months into the war, the West’s fundamental unpreparedness has set off a mad scramble to supply Ukraine with what it needs while also replenishing NATO stockpiles. As both sides burn through weaponry and ammunition at a pace not seen since World War II, the competition to keep arsenals flush has become a critical front that could prove decisive to Ukraine’s effort.
The amount of artillery being used is staggering, NATO officials say. […] Ukraine can fire thousands of rounds daily and remains desperate for air defense against Russian missiles and Iranian-made drones. […] Last summer in the Donbas region, the Ukrainians were firing 6,000 to 7,000 artillery rounds each day, a senior NATO official said. The Russians were firing 40,000 to 50,000 rounds per day. By comparison, the United States produces only 15,000 rounds each month.
So the West is scrambling to find increasingly scarce Soviet-era equipment and ammunition that Ukraine can use now, including S-300 air defense missiles, T-72 tanks and especially Soviet-caliber artillery shells.
The West is also trying to come up with alternative systems, even if they are older, to substitute for shrinking stocks of expensive air-defense missiles and anti-tank Javelins. It is sending strong signals to Western defense industries that longer-term contracts are in the offing — and that more shifts of workers should be employed and older factory lines should be refurbished. It is trying to purchase ammunition from countries like South Korea to “backfill” stocks being sent to Ukraine. […]
And then there is the problem of legal export controls, which govern whether guns and ammunition sold to one country can be sent to another one at war. This is the reason the Swiss, claiming neutrality, refused Germany permission to export to Ukraine needed antiaircraft ammunition made by Switzerland and sold to Germany. Italy has a similar restriction on arms exports.
One NATO official described the mixed bag of systems that Ukraine must now cope with as “NATO’s petting zoo,” given the prevalence of animal names for weapons like the Gepard (German for cheetah) and the surface-to-air missile system called the Crotale (French for rattlesnake). So resupply is difficult, as is maintenance. […]
In February, when the war in Ukraine began, stockpiles for many nations were only about half of what they were supposed to be, the NATO official said, and there had been little progress in creating weapons that could be used interchangeably by NATO countries. Even within the European Union, only 18 percent of defense expenditures by nations are cooperative.
For NATO countries that have given large amounts of weapons to Ukraine, especially frontline states like Poland and the Baltics, the burden of replacing them has proved heavy. The French, for instance, have provided some advanced weapons and created a 200-million- euro fund ($208 million) for Ukraine to buy arms made in France. But France has already given at least 18 modern Caesar howitzers to Ukraine — about 20 percent of all of its existing artillery — and is reluctant to provide more.
The European Union has approved €3.1 billion ($3.2 billion) to repay member states for what they provide to Ukraine, but that fund, the European Peace Facility, is nearly 90 percent depleted. In total, NATO countries have so far provided some $40 billion in weaponry to Ukraine, roughly the size of France’s annual defense budget. Smaller countries have exhausted their potential, another NATO official said, with 20 of its 30 members “pretty tapped out.” But the remaining 10 can still provide more, he suggested, especially larger allies. That would include France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has advised the alliance — including, pointedly, Germany — that NATO guidelines requiring members to keep stockpiles should not be a pretext to limit arms exports to Ukraine. […] The Ukrainians want at least four systems that the West has not provided and is unlikely to: long-range surface-to-surface missiles known as ATACMS that could hit Russia and Crimea; Western fighter jets; Western tanks; and a lot more advanced air defense, said Mark F. Cancian, a former White House weapons strategist who is now a senior adviser at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The ATACMS, with a range of some 190 kilometers, or about 118 miles, will not be given for fear they could hit Russia; the tanks and fighter jets are just too complicated, requiring a year or more to train in how to use and maintain. As for air defense, Mr. Cancian said, NATO and the United States deactivated most of their short-range air defense after the Cold War, and there is little to go around. Producing more can take up to two years.
Maintenance is key, but there are clever answers for relatively simpler equipment, like the M-777 howitzer given to Ukraine. With the right parts, a Ukrainian engineer can link up to an American artillery officer in Fort Sill, Okla., and get talked through maintenance over Zoom.
Ukraine has also proved adaptable. Its forces are known inside NATO as “the MacGyver Army,” a reference to an old television series in which the hero is inventive and improvisational with whatever comes to hand. To shell Russian positions at Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, for instance, the Ukrainians put Caesars, with a 40-kilometer range, on barges and towed them out 10 kilometers to hit the island, which was 50 kilometers away, astonishing the French. […]
Already, some weapons are running low. As of September, the US military had a limited number of 155-mm artillery rounds in its stockpiles, and limited numbers of guided rockets, rocket launchers, howitzers, Javelins and Stingers, according to an analysis by Mr. Cancian. The shortage in 155-mm artillery shells is probably the big one that has the planners most concerned, Mr. Cancian said. If you want to increase production capability of 155 shells,” he said, it’s going to be probably four to five years before you start seeing them come out the other end.”
Hans Petter Midttun: Since 18 November, the UK Intelligence has not indicated any counteroffensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Additionally, it no longer indicates any “contested areas” in Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. Except for the Russian attempts to take back areas liberated by Ukraine (Luhansk/Kharkiv oblasts) or occupy new territories (Donetsk oblast), the war reached a temporary stalemate after Ukraine liberated the west bank of the Dnipro River on 12 November.
This is reflected in the daily reporting of Russian losses of manpower and equipment which greatly decreased in the second half of November.
As of 26 November, Russia has according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces lost a staggering 86,710 soldiers and mercenaries in Ukraine. The initial attempt to capture Kyiv resulted in a humiliating retreat and an attempt to focus its efforts on the capture of Donbas. It has lost 74,443 km2 since the peak of its advance.
During the initial part of the invasion, Russia lost a tremendous amount of both personnel and equipment. After the withdrawal from the northern axis, their losses fell substantially until the Ukrainian surprise counteroffensive on 6 September.
While the losses of equipment have slowly fallen since their peak in September and October, the manpower losses have continued to skyrocket. The accelerating loss of soldiers is most likely a direct consequence of the partial mobilisation and their lack of training, equipping and sustainment. According to UK intelligence,
“mobilised reservists have highly likely experienced particularly heavy casualties after being committed to dig ambitious trench systems while under artillery fire around the Luhansk Oblast town of Svatove. In Donetsk Oblast, reservists have been killed in large numbers in frontal assaults into well-established Ukrainian defensive zones around the town of Bakhmut.”
This is just one out of many reports of mobilised personnel being sacrificed in continuous and meaningless Russian attempts to ensure advance at any cost.
The loss of equipment this autumn is partly a reflection of the impact of the initial surprise from the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the consequential Russian rout from the Kharkiv oblast. It is also a reflection of the new dynamics resulting from the Russian withdrawal from western Kherson and the ensuing redeployment of both Ukrainian and Russian forces to other sectors. These forces are most likely still being relocated and prepared for the next offensive. It is not least, also a direct consequence of the weather conditions. Poor conditions and muddy terrain have reduced their ability to manoeuvre their land forces. The deep freeze that is forecasted to set in starting in about a week will likely accelerate the pace of operations.
The Russian air campaign – or its lack thereof – is one of its most staggering flaws. Due to its initial failure to take out the Ukrainian Air Force and its Air Defence, it has been unable to establish the air superiority needed to destroy the Ukrainian Land Forces and deny them the ability to manoeuvre. As a consequence, Russia has lost a staggering 539 aircraft and helicopters. Their losses have decreased over time simply because Russia more or less stopped operating over Ukrainian-controlled territory since this spring. This has enabled Ukraine to freely manoeuvre its land forces and strike Russia where its forces are the most vulnerable.
Russia has instead changed the design of its “air campaign” starting massive missile and drone strikes against critical Ukrainian infrastructure. This might prove to be its biggest strategic mistake yet as it is slowly forcing the West to change its strategy. Russia is being designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism, with all the ensuing consequences this has for its relationship with the Russian Federation. As previously argued, the US, NATO and the EU do not negotiate with terrorists. They don’t accept compromises. They “make war on terror”.
The Russian losses have been staggering for nine months. Its losses of manpower are likely to continue to remain high in the months to come. “King Winter” and a new Ukrainian offensive are likely to cause havoc among the Russian forces, creating the fundament for the internal destabilisation of the country formerly known as the Russian Federation.
As previously stressed, a defeat to Ukraine is unacceptable for Russia. A defeat for NATO will be far more acceptable. It is, therefore, increasingly more important for the Alliance to engage militarily to avoid Russia reverting to the “worst case” weapons to avert the inevitable defeat by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.