Russo Ukrainian War. Day 282: UN requests $5.7B in relief funds for Ukraine in 2023

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

UN requests $5.7B in relief funds for Ukraine in 2023. A new aid package from Sweden is worth USD 338M and includes air defense systems. Chief Engineer at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant betrays Ukraine and collaborates with Russians.

Daily overview — Summary report, December 1

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, December 1, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

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Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Chervopopivka, and Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast and Hryhorivka, Vyimka, Bakhmut, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Pivnichne, Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, and Maryinka in the Donetsk oblast.

Over the past day, Russian forces launched 5 missile attacks on the civilian infrastructure of the Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts. The enemy carried out 30 airstrikes on the positions of our troops and more than 35 MLRS attacks on populated areas along the contact line.

There is still a threat of Russian forces launching missile strikes on the objects of the energy system and critical infrastructure throughout the territory of Ukraine.

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation has not changed significantly, and no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groups have been detected. The training of individual units of Russian forces continues on the training grounds of the Republic of Belarus.

  • [In the Siverskyi direction, Russian forces carried out mortar and artillery attacks on the settlements of Kostobobriv and Hremyach in the Chernihiv oblast and Havrylova Sloboda, Seredyna Buda, Pustohorod, Bachivsk, Vilna Sloboda, Budky, Bilopillya and Krasnopillya in the Sumy oblast.]
Kharkiv Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Slobozhanskyi direction, Russian forces continue to maintain their troops in the border areas of the Belgorod region. Areas of the settlements of Slobozhanske, Ohirtseve, Bochkove, Mala Vovcha, Budarka, Strilecha, Ternova, Chuhunivka, Dvorichne and Zapadne of the Kharkiv oblast were subjected to enemy artillery shelling.
  • Russian forces are defending in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. Fired tanks and artillery of various calibres in the areas of Tabaivka, Krokhmalne and Berestove settlements of the Kharkiv oblast; Stelmakhivka, Myasozharivka, Makiivka and Ploschanka in the Luhansk oblast and Novoselyvka and Torske in the Donetsk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces continue to focus their main efforts on conducting offensive operations. Objects in the areas of Andriivka, Serebryanka, Verkhnyokamianske, Druzhba, Spirne, Rozdolivka, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Pivnichne, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Kurdyumivka, Klishchiivka, Zalizne and New York of Donetsk oblast.
  • The occupiers are trying to improve their tactical position in the Avdiivka direction. The districts of Avdiivka, Pervomaisky, Vesele, Krasnohorivka, and Maryinka in Donetsk oblast were hit by fire from tanks and artillery of various types.
  • Russian forces are defending in the Novopavlivsk direction. The areas of Vremivka, Velyka Novosilka, Bohoyavlenka, Paraskoviivka, Zolota Nyva, Prechystivka, Vuhledar, and Pavlivka in the Donetsk region were shelled with artillery.
  • Russian forces are conducting defensive operations in the Zaporizhzhia direction. Nikopol, Kamianske, Hulyaipole, Dorozhnyanka, Bilohirya in the Zaporizhzhia oblast and Ilyinka in the Dnipropetrovsk oblast were damaged by fire.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • Russian forces are also on the defensive in the Kherson direction. Areas of settlements located on the right bank of the Dnipro River, in particular, Kachkarivka, Tokarivka, and Antonivka, Kherson oblast, were affected by artillery. Russian forces do not stop shelling the suburbs and the city of Kherson.

In the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson oblast, Russian forces intensified filtering measures. In particular, at the entry and exit points from the city of Henichesk, the occupiers check all vehicles, documents and phones of local residents.

In the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, employees of military commissariats are preparing for the next wave of mobilization. According to the available information, in the city of Kerch data reconciliations of conscripts are carried out at state enterprises.

[According to the available information, the Russian occupation forces are withdrawing separate units and preparing for evacuation the personnel of the occupation administrations of the settlements of the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region. Thus, units based in the local police station and one of the educational institutions left Mykhailivka settlement. In the settlements of Polohy and Inzhenerne, the occupiers leave the houses where they were quartered and take away the stolen property. In the village of Burchak, the occupation authorities are conducting a census for the so-called voluntary evacuation of the population.]

[It has been confirmed that units of the Defense Forces hit enemy manpower concentrations in the previous days. In the settlements of Myrne, Tokmak, Inzhenerne, Polohy, Yasne and Kinsky Rozdory of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, Russian forces lost more than 230 people wounded, more than 15 units of military equipment of various types and ammunition depots were destroyed. Information on eliminated occupiers is being clarified.]

During the past day, the Air Force of the Defense Forces carried out 19 strikes on the areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 3 strikes on the positions of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.

Over the past day, our soldiers shot down 1 Orlan-10 type UAV.

In addition, units of missile troops and artillery hit 4 control points, the area of ​​concentration of personnel and armament and military technics, as well as 5 other important objects of the occupiers.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russian warships in the Black Sea suggest Moscow could be preparing missile strikes, Ukrinform reports, citing Natalia Humeniuk, the head of the joint press centre of Operational Command South. “The operational situation is quite stable at the moment, but this should not be reassuring to us because we remember: the hybrid war is ongoing, and this includes destabilization of the media space. Also, hostilities continue […]. And, once again, the presence of a naval group in the Black Sea means that aerial reconnaissance, gathering of data on the situation, and preparing for possible missile strikes are ongoing. […].

Humeniuk also did not rule out that the announcement of missile fire is likely to be aimed at further inciting psychological pressure on the population, but the actual preparation for mass missile attacks is likely, so people should be ready. The OC spokeswoman also noted that not only the threats from enemy aircraft and the sea but also Russian forces’s ground weapons are intensifying. […] We need to be ready for a massive missile attack because this is one of the means of exhausting our air defences, Humeniuk said.

She also confirmed that the invaders are currently not using Iranian drones, opting for Russian-made Lancets. According to Humeniuk, this may indicate both that they have run out of stocks or that tactics have changed, and their use is also influenced by weather conditions. […] In addition, Humeniuk noted, the absence of Iranian-made drones may be related, in particular, to the incident with Iranian instructors training Russian operators.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1598356118991826945

Assessment of the military situation according to Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov, deputy chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff. “The occupiers continue to destroy their own. Thus, on November 24, an artillery unit of the armed forces of the Russian Federation shelled the positions of the mobilized 1st Army Corps “Donetsk” of the Russian occupation troops on the southwestern outskirts of the settlement of Tsukura in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region. As a result of a 152-millimetre projectile hitting the tent, 14 servicemen were killed and 7 servicemen were injured, Oleksiy Gromov said.

The training of units of the 1st Tank Army of the Western Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continues at the training grounds of Belarus. In the future, Belarus will continue to participate in Russian aggression against our state. First of all, by giving Russia its territory and airspace, stocks of ammunition and material and technical means, Oleksiy Gromov noted.

According to him, no signs of the formation of offensive groups by Russian forces were found on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Certain units of the Belarusian armed forces continue to perform tasks in the areas bordering Ukraine.

Training of mobilized personnel continues based on higher military educational institutions, training centres, compounds and military units of the aggressor country. Russian forces continues to move personnel, weapons, and military equipment into the combat areas to replenish new units, as well as for units that have suffered losses. Replenishes stocks of ammunition and fuel and lubricants, said Oleksiy Gromov.

During the week, the crews of Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the aggressor country flew in the airspace of the Saratov, Samara, and Orenburg regions, as well as in the airspace of the eastern part of the Russian Federation and the waters of the Barents Sea. Crews of two IL-78 long-range refuelling aircraft were involved in working out issues related to refuelling in the air. The military transport aviation of the aggressor country carried out tasks related to the transfer of personnel, weapons and military equipment, supplies of material and technical means to the airfields “Millerovo”, “Rostov-on-Don – Central” and “Taganrog”, Oleksiy Gromov noted.

“Russian forces maintain reserves in the north of the occupied Crimea to strengthen its troop groups in the Dnieper and Orichiv directions. The city of Dzhankoy and its surrounding areas have turned into the largest military base on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea, from where Russian occupation troops and weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces are redeployed. Thus, according to intelligence data, there are about 750 units of weapons and military equipment in the field park of military equipment in the Medvedivka settlement area,” said Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov.”

Russian forces began to use Soviet missiles capable of carrying a nuclear charge – information from the representative of the Central Military Scientific Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, Colonel Mykola Danyliuk. “Against the background of the lack of success at the front and due to the inability to win a victory on the battlefield, the terrorist country, the Russian Federation, continues to launch missile strikes on targets critical infrastructure, civilian quarters in various regions of our country.

In mass attacks, they use different types of air attack means, – Colonel Danylyuk said. — Yes, in the period from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on October 31, 2022, Russian forces carried out another massive attack on the territory of Ukraine using more than 50 cruise missiles, most of which were identified as Kh-101 missiles and 3M-14 Kalibr missiles.

According to Mykola Danylyuk, after the shelling in the villages of Subich and Knyazhpil of the Kamianets-Podilsky district of the Khmelnytskyi region and the village of Zastavne of the Lviv region, fragments of cruise missiles were found, which had not been used by Russian forces until now.

As a result of the identification carried out by a mobile group of officers of the Center for the Research of Trophy and Prospective Weapons and Military Equipment, it was established that these fragments belong to the Kh-55 “nuclear” strategic cruise missile. This is a Soviet missile designed to strike strategic targets whose coordinates are known in advance. It flies at an extremely low altitude, at a subsonic speed with the ability to follow the topography of the area, – said Colonel Danylyuk.

He noted that the change in the tactics of using air attack means, namely: the use of Soviet-made cruise missiles equipped with a non-explosive warhead, “is most likely caused by several factors.”

Firstly, it can be argued that the deliberate launch of these missiles is aimed at conducting demonstration actions, distracting the attention of the Ukrainian air defence system, exhausting it at the time when the modern Russian Kh-101 and 3M-14 missiles of the Kaliber complex are directed on objects of critical infrastructure, residential quarters, which can significantly increase the efficiency of their use, Mykola Danylyuk said. — In other words, the launch of these missiles is aimed at “opening up” the air defence system of our country and exhausting it.

Moreover, the officer emphasized that even an “unequipped” missile poses a significant threat of inflicting indiscriminate damage – due to the missile’s own kinetic energy and remaining fuel, as evidenced by the latest strike, when the Kh-55 missile hit a residential building.

Secondly, this is the depletion of the Russian Federation’s own reserves of modern cruise missiles,” he said regarding the reasons for the use of old Soviet “nuclear” missiles. He noted that all the X-55 missiles discovered without exception had their serial numbers intentionally erased. “All of you and I understand very well who resorts to such acts – first of all, they are criminals, terrorists who want to hide the traces of the committed crime,” noted Mykola Danylyuk.

Answering the question of the ArmiyaInform correspondent about the obliterated serial numbers of the missiles, Colonel Danylyuk shared his guesses that these could be missiles that Ukraine once handed over to the Russian Federation (Note: in 1999 as payment for the supply of natural gas). Also, the General Staff representative reported that the research of the remains of the rocket showed a normal radiation background, which indicates the absence of contact of the rocket fragments with nuclear elements. […]

Basic characteristics of the X-55SM

  • flight range — up to 3,500 km;
  • flight speed — 720-830 km/h;
  • launch height — 0.6-12 km;
  • flight height (on march) — 40-110 m;
  • dimensions — 6×3 m;
  • starting mass — 1.5 tons (fuel — 260 kg);
  • mass of the combat unit — 410 kg;
  • power — 200-500 kilotons;
  • accuracy – up to 20 m.

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

  • Russia’s withdrawal from the west bank of the Dnipro River last month has provided the Ukrainian Armed Forces with opportunities to strike additional Russian logistics nodes and lines of communication.
  • This threat has highly likely prompted Russian logisticians to relocate supply nodes, including rail transfer points, further south and east. Russian logistics units will need to conduct extra labour-intensive loading and unloading from rail to road transport. Road moves will subsequently still be vulnerable to Ukrainian artillery as they move on to supply Russian forward defensive positions.
  • Russia’s shortage of munitions (exacerbated by these logistics challenges) is likely one of the main factors currently limiting Russia’s potential to restart effective, large scale offensive ground operations
  • Since October 2022, Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukraine’s electricity distribution grid, primarily with cruise missiles. This is likely the first example of Russia attempting to implement the concept of a Strategic Operation for the Destruction of Critically Important Targets (SODCIT), a key component of the military doctrine it has adopted in recent years.
  • Russia envisioned SODCIT as using long-range missiles to strike an enemy state’s critical national infrastructure, rather than its military forces, to demoralise the population and ultimately force the state’s leaders to capitulate.
  • Russia’s strikes continue to cause power shortages resulting in indiscriminate, widespread humanitarian suffering across Ukraine. However, its effectiveness as a strategy has likely been blunted because Russia has already expended a large proportion of its suitable missiles against tactical targets. Also, with Ukraine having successfully mobilised for nine months, the material and psychological effect of the SODCIT is likely less than if it was deployed in the initial period of a war.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. MFA of Ukraine. ~

Losses of the Russian Army. MFA of Ukraine.

As of Friday 2 December, 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 90090 (+650),
  • Tanks – 2916 (+1),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5883 (+6),
  • Artillery systems – 1905 (+1),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 395 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 210 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 280 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 262 (+1),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4464 (+23),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1564 (+2),
  • Special equipment – 163 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 531 (+0)

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

Ukraine has lost between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers in war – official, Reuters reports. “Ukraine’s armed forces have lost somewhere between 10,000 and 13,000 soldiers so far in the war against Russia, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak told a Ukrainian television network on Thursday.

The remarks appeared to be the first estimate of dead since late August, when the head of the armed forces said nearly 9,000 military personnel had been killed.”

Russian draftees try to avoid direct participation in hostilities – Ukraine’s deputy defence minister, Ukrinform reports. “The freshly mobilized personnel of the invading forces are showing no desire to take a direct part in hostilities. That’s according to Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar of Ukraine […].

In the very first battles, it became clear that the priority for the newly-arrived draftees is the desire to avoid participating in hostilities. Due to the low level of their training, manpower losses are increasing, including of servicemen with combat experience, which leads to mass discontent in the units of the Russian occupation forces, Maliar said.

At the same time, according to the official, the arrival of a significant number of recently mobilized servicemen leads to a major deterioration of the social and political situation in the captured territories. Most of the arriving occupiers, being in public places and markets where they buy food, drinks, and clothes behave rudely, provoking altercations with the local population, said Maliar.”

Humanitarian 

Ukraine brings back another 50 defenders: fourth exchange with Russia in two weeks, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Andrii Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. “We have conducted another large exchange of prisoners of war. We have managed to bring back 50 defenders of Ukraine. We are bringing back the defenders of Mariupol and Azovstal, the prisoners who were in Olenivka POW camp, as well as the wounded, in particular [those injured] in the battles on the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia fronts.”

UN requests $5.7B in relief funds for Ukraine in 2023, Ukrinform reports. “Some 13.6 million Ukrainians affected by war have already received UN assistance this year, while a total of $5.7 billion has been requested for Ukraine for the next year. That’s according to UN’s top emergency relief official, Martin Griffiths […].

The size of the appeal – 25 per cent higher than this year’s – reflects the fact that the total number in need is 65 million more than in 2022, the UN and partner organizations noted.”

Kyiv mayor tells residents to stock up on food, says heating could be hit, Reuters reports. “Kyiv’s mayor told residents on Thursday to stock up on water, food and warm clothes in case of a total blackout caused by Russian air strikes, and said residents should consider staying with friends in the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital if they could.

Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko warned that the temperature in homes could drop rapidly in the event of ” blackout and the destruction of infrastructure and a total absence of electricity, water supply, drainage and heat supply“.

Environment

The Ukrainian energy system is now only 15% stable – expert, Ukainska Pravda reports, citing Oleksandr Kharchenko, the director of the Energy Research Center. “After the Russian missile strikes, the Ukrainian energy system remains 15% stable, in comparison to the percentage observed in October. None of the European countries would withstand such attacks. Ukraine has endured because it had an impressive reserve capacity.

We had fears of possible damage to the energy systems since May. The same applied to the gas transit system, Kharchenko said. The expert also added that the strikes on Ukrainian energy systems were planned by Russian power engineers. Fortunately, the precision of Russian missile strikes is low, he said.”

Chief Engineer at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant betrays Ukraine and collaborates with Russians, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Petro Kotin, the president of the national nuclear energy company Energoatom, has urged the ZNPP [Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant] employees not to sign any documents with the Russians and Rosatom [Russian state corporation based in Moscow that runs all nuclear power plants in this country – ed.]; he has also said that Yurii Chernichuk, the Deputy Chief Engineer of the ZNPP, betrayed Ukraine and collaborated with the Russian occupiers.

Legal 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1598353592334880769

Ukraine’s Parliament declares illegitimacy of Russia’s stay in the UN, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “The Verkhovna Rada [the Ukrainian Parliament] has approved a statement on the need to reform the United Nations and the illegitimacy of Russia’s stay in the UN. […] The statement says that the Russian Federation abuses its permanent membership in the UN Security Council and violates fundamental international legal documents – in particular, the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Budapest Memorandum, etc.

The actions of the Russian Federation constitute an unacceptable and outrageous violation of the UN Charter of unprecedented proportions, in particular the principle of non–use of force or threat of force, including nuclear weapons, against the territorial integrity or political independence of other states, the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and the principle of sovereign equality of states, the statement said.

The Verkhovna Rada emphasises that Russia’s power to veto the UN Security Council’s resolution directly contradicts the fundamental principle of the right “no one judges in their case“, and also makes it impossible for the Security Council to exercise the “main responsibility for maintaining peace and security” assigned to it by the UN Charter.”

Kremlin expectedly states not to consider tribunal on Russian crimes “legitimate”, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax. “Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, said that the Kremlin would condemn the creation of a special tribunal to investigate Russia’s crimes.

Support 

There Is Consensus in NATO on Ukraine’s Membership – Stefanishyna, European Pravda reports. “Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, states that all 30 NATO member countries agree that Ukraine needs to join the Alliance.[…]

We have progressed on the issue of rapprochement with NATO. At the last ministerial NATO meeting in Bucharest, all 30 member states agreed on the need to grant Ukraine membership in the Alliance… NATO members confirmed that the door to Ukraine is open. It is important that by this decision they did not repeat themselves based on the conclusion of the Bucharest Summit in 2008. This is a new powerful signal. It shows: no one is afraid of Russia’s pressure, said Olha Stefanishyna.

The Deputy Prime Minister has also said that NATO is going to use political tools to put pressure on Hungary, which blocks Ukraine’s participation in NATO political meetings due to the issue of national minorities.”

Ukraine ready to accept Patriot launchers Germany offers Poland – Kuleba, Ukrinform reports. “Ukraine supports the idea of ​​deploying in Ukraine Patriot SAM systems, which Germany promised to Poland. This was stated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba […]. We support the idea that Germany transfer to Ukraine the Patriot system, which it is ready to deliver to Poland, Kuleba said.

As reported, Germany offered Poland Patriot systems to protect the airspace after missile strikes on the area bordering Ukraine. In response, Warsaw offered to deploy the Patriot in Ukraine near the border with Poland. It would be better for Poland’s security, President Andrzej Duda said.

Ukraine negotiating to receive S-300 missiles from other countries – Defence Minister Reznikov, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Oleksii Reznikov, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. “S-300 missiles are functioning very effectively. The point is that they were not produced in Ukraine, meaning that we have no means of producing S-300 missiles, so we are using the stocks. 

We are currently negotiating with the Defence Ministers of all countries that have S-300s in service on the possibility of replenishing this stock of missiles from their warehouses and arsenals.”

A new aid package worth USD 338M from Sweden includes air defence systems, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal. “The new ‘winter package’ of assistance from the Government of Sweden, totalling about USD 338 million and including, in particular, air defence systems, is a significant contribution to Ukraine’s resilience and victory, Shmyhal wrote.”

Pentagon signs $1.2B contract to produce NASAMS systems for Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing a statement from the Pentagon. “The US Department of Defense has signed a contract for the production and purchase of advanced NASAMS air defence systems for Ukraine.

“Raytheon Co., Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was awarded a $1,216,207,829 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, associated equipment, services and spares in support of the efforts in Ukraine, the statement said. It added that work would be performed in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, with an estimated completion date of November 28, 2025.

World Bank’s Malpass: Bill for rebuilding Ukraine rising, not detecting donor fatigue, Reuters reports. “World Bank President David Malpass on Thursday said the expected cost for rebuilding Ukraine will go up “quite a bit” from the roughly $350 billion estimated earlier this year, given Russia’s targeting of Ukraine’s electricity grid and other infrastructure.

He told the Reuters NEXT conference that he did not detect any “donor fatigue” in the international community despite the huge cost of the war, but there was “gigantic frustration” with Russia for continuing the war. It’s a grinding war, and hugely disappointing, Malpass said, adding that Russian officials were now outcasts when they came to international meetings.”

France hands Ukraine bridges to restore transport connections in Chernihiv region, Ukrinform reports, citing the Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov. “The bridges provided by France will be used to improve the mobility of the population in Chernihiv region. The priority is their setup on those sections of roads on which the humanitarian situation in the region critically depends. We are working with our international partners to increase the number of such bridges in the de-occupied regions, he said. […]

Since February 24, 27 bridges and overpasses have been destroyed in the Chernihiv region. Traffic has already been restored through 20 temporary crossings. […] As reported, the Administration of State Material Reserves of the Czech Republic has already handed to Ukravtodor six metal temporary bridges, two of which were installed in the Kyiv region and Cherkasy region. Another two were installed in the Kharkiv region, while the rest will be set up in the Kherson region.”

Ukraine needs US$4 billion for gas this winter – Naftogaz CEO, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing  Oleksii Chernyshov, the Chief Executive Officer of Naftogaz of Ukraine. “Chernyshov pointed out that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has destroyed more than 300 energy infrastructure facilities in Ukraine. On 17 November alone, Russia targeted 10 gas production facilities, which comprise a third of the national gas production of Ukraine.

According to the preliminary calculations of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, taking into account military risks, Ukraine needs up to three billion cubic metres of additional gas for the heating season, which corresponds to over US$4 billion. We need the help of our foreign partners in this regard, Chernyshov explained.”

New Developments 

  1. EU’s Michel urges Xi to use ‘influence’ on Russia over war with Ukraine, ReutersEuropean Council President Charles Michel once again urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use the country’s “influence” on Russia over its war in Ukraine during a visit to Beijing on Thursday.”
  2. Chinese leader calls for an end to the war in Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing Bloomberg. “Resolving the Ukrainian crisis (war – ed.) by political means is in the interests of Europe and the common interests of all Eurasian countries, Xi said on Thursday after meeting with Michel in Beijing. He added that it is necessary to avoid escalation and expansion of the crisis and to promote peace negotiations. Michel, in turn, told Xi that the EU expects China to do its part in ending the brutal destruction and occupation carried out by Russia. During the conversation, both leaders also emphasized that “nuclear threats are irresponsible and highly dangerous.” China refrains from criticizing Russia for the war in Ukraine, blaming Moscow’s actions on the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”
  3. Biden says he has no plans to contact Putin, prepared to talk about ending Ukraine war, ReutersUS President Joe Biden said he has no immediate plans to contact Vladimir Putin but is prepared to speak with the Russian president if he shows an interest in ending the war in Ukraine, and only in consultation with NATO allies.”
  4. Russian Foreign Minister suddenly states Russia never asked for negotiations with Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov has stressed: “We have never asked for any negotiations, but we have always said that if someone is interested in a negotiated solution, we are ready to listen.
  5. Russian Foreign Minister openly admits that his country “went to war against Ukraine”, Ukrainska PravdaSergey Lavrov, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, has called the war in Ukraine a “war” for the first time instead of using the propaganda term “special operation”.”
  6. VR calls on the world to recognize Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as a continuation of genocide, Ukrinform reports, citing the Statement on Energy Terrorism of the Russian Federation issued by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. “The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is calling on the international community to recognize Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure facilities as the eternal Russian policy of the genocide of the Ukrainian people.”
  7. Russia accuses West of undermining OSCE security body, ReutersRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday big problems had accumulated in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, accusing the West of spurning the chance to make the OSCE a real bridge with Russia after the Cold War. Poland denied a Russian delegation visasto attend a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in Lodz on Thursday and Friday, and said Moscow would be represented by its permanent representative to the OSCE instead.”
  8. Two Ukrainian Embassies Received Threats on the Day of Incident in Spain – Ukraine’s MFA, European PravdaMinister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has stated that on the day when a parcel with a bomb was sent to the Embassy of Ukraine to Spain, two more diplomatic missions received letters with “very specific threats.” […] Kuleba added that on Wednesday other alarming events took place, without explosives, but with very specific threats to embassies of Ukraine. He refused to name the diplomatic institutions.”
  9. EU tentatively agrees $60 price cap on Russian seaborne oil, ReutersEuropean Union governments tentatively agreed on Thursday on a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil – an idea of the Group of Seven (G7) nations – with an adjustment mechanism to keep the cap at 5% below the market price, according to diplomats and a document seen by Reuters. The agreement still needs approval from all EU governments in a written procedure by Friday.”
  10. Switzerland freezes Russian assets worth EUR7.2B, Ukrinform reports, citing the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). “After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and the introduction of the corresponding sanctions, Switzerland froze Russian assets worth EUR 7.2 billion.”
  11. Hungarian European Commissioner Cannot Block Ukraine’s EU Accession Negotiations – Stefanishyna, European Pravda reports, citing Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine. “Ukraine’s government does not see any risks that the Hungarian leadership can pressure the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, to block Ukraine’s path to EU membership.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  November 30, 2022:

Eastern Ukraine: (Eastern Kharkiv Oblast-Western Luhansk Oblast)

Russian forces continued efforts to defend against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations and regain lost positions along the Svatove-Kreminna line on December 1. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued to repel Russian ground assaults near Novoselivske (14km northwest of Svatove) and Stelmakhivka (15km northwest of Svatove). […] Ukrainian General Staff Deputy Chief Oleksiy Hromov reported that Ukrainian forces anticipate that Russian forces will attempt to restart offensive operations in the Lyman direction to regain the initiative. Hromov added that the Russians are building defensive lines in the Svatove and Lyman directions to prevent Ukrainian advances.  Former [so-called] Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) ambassador to Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, claimed that Ukrainian forces are transferring elite Ukrainian brigades to the Lyman and Kupyansk directions to prevent Russian advances. ISW offers no assessment of this claim.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko continued to set informational conditions to resist Russian pressure to enter the war against Ukraine by claiming that NATO is preparing to attack Belarus. Lukashenko blamed Ukraine and NATO for a growing number of provocations near the Belarus-Ukrainian border and stated that Ukraine is trying to drag NATO forces into the war. Lukashenko stated that Belarusian officials managed to deter a potential adversary from using military force against Belarus and that NATO is building up forces and intensifying combat training in neighboring countries. The Belarusian Minister of Defense Viktor Khrenin stated that there is no direct preparation for war and that Belarus will only defend its territory. 

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) representative Vadym Skibitsky reported that there are no signs of the formation of a strike group on Belarusian territory. Lukashenko and Khrenin likely made the comments to bolster what ISW has previously assessed as an ongoing information operation aimed at fixing Ukrainian forces on the border with Belarus in response to the threat of Belarus entering the war.

Lukashenko and Khrenin also likely focused the information operation on supposed NATO aggression and provocative activities along the Belarusian border to suggest that the Belarusian military needs to remain in Belarus to defend against potential NATO aggression, and thus set informational conditions for resisting Russian pressure to enter the war in Ukraine. ISW continues to assess that Belarusian entry into the Russian war on Ukraine is extremely unlikely.

Key Takeaways

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko continued to set informational conditions to resist Russian pressure to enter the war against Ukraine.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to defend against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian forces continued to make incremental gains around Bakhmut and to conduct offensive operations in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area.
  • Russian forces continued to conduct defensive measures and move personnel on the east bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian military movements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast may suggest that Russian forces cannot defend critical areas amidst increasing Ukrainian strikes.
  • Russian forces are holding reserves in Crimea to support defensive operations in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and on the east bank of the Dnipro River.
  • The Kremlin’s financial strain continues to feed domestic unrest.
  • Evidence persists regarding the continuation of partial mobilization in the face of low morale and high desertion rates amongst Russian troops.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin continued attempts to bolster the Wagner Group’s reputation.
  • Russian occupation officials continued efforts to integrate occupied territories into the Russian financial and legal spheres.

Russian forces continued to exploit Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure in support of Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.“

A group of Russian generals arrives in Belarus – media, Ukrinform reports, citing the Belaruskyi Gayun monitoring group. “On Thursday, December 1, a Russian Air Force’s Tu-154M passenger jet landed in Minsk, presumably carrying a group of Russian generals. […] The visit has not yet been reported in propaganda resources. On the published footage of the government meeting chaired by Lukashenko, no Russian generals were noted, the report says.

The publication recalls that on November 24-25 the visit of a group of Russian generals to Belarus was reported. Then the purpose of the visit was the inspection of the military training of the so-called regional grouping of troops. The Belarus defence ministry never reported on the visit of the Russian military. It can be assumed that today’s visit is a continuation of the ‘inspection’ launched a week ago, the publication suggests.

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

Russia must cease to exist in its current form – Danilov, Ukrinform reports, citing the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov. “They (the Russian Federation – ed.) simply must be destroyed so that they cease to exist as a country within the limits in which they exist. Because today, Russia is one of the few countries that have colonies on its territory, which destroyed a huge number of peoples, languages, cultures, and traditions. They are just barbarians. And when you say that we should sit down at the table with these barbarians and talk about something, I generally think that it will be inappropriate, Danilov emphasized. […]

I consider Hitler and Putin to be Siamese twins… they are similar people. Look, the person who decides] that it is necessary to bomb the civilian population, torture them, and kill innocent children […]. We are different, we have nothing to do with you. You are Muscovy, which was only on its territory, you are thieves who constantly stole someone’s history. You constantly demand something, but you are not at all worthy of anyone in the world communicating with you, the Secretary of the Security Council emphasized.”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: Fear is a natural, powerful, and primitive human emotion and arises with the threat of harm, real or imagined. If people didn’t feel fear, they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves from legitimate threats.

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. Fear is, therefore, both a healthy and logical response to the threat of war.

Being an emotion, however, fear is also open for exploitation. In my opinion, fear of war in the West is a symptom of the Russian Hybrid War succeeding to pacify a greater part of the key policy and decision-makers in the West, as well as millions across Europe and the US.

Russian influence operations focus on the imaginary and potential consequences of action, triggering the fear of mortal danger, pain, suffering, and costs. For obvious reasons, they do not address the fears we should feel over the potential outcome of failure to act.

Fear is, however, not an argument. Nor is it a reason to accept the consequences of a horrific, unprovoked and unjustified war.

Our elected leaders cannot allow themselves to succumb to fear. They must consider the consequences of both action and inaction. The risks of war must be assessed alongside the risks of not protecting everything we hold dear.

Can a military intervention trigger a broader confrontation between Russia and the West? No, it cannot. It already is – and it always was – a broader confrontation, in which the defeat of Ukraine is only one out of several crucial objectives. It’s a confrontation not by the choice of the West, but because of Russian ambition for great power status at the cost of its neighbours. This is a confrontation between two incompatible world orders: that of the autocratic Russian World which puts the state before the individual, and the West founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.

Can a broader confrontation trigger World War 3 between Russia and the West? In theory, yes it can. Hypothetically, because we have been in a broader confrontation at least since Putin’s speech at the Munich conference in 2007 and his decision to invade Georgia in 2008. It has still not resulted in WW3 for the simple reason that it is not in the interest of any of the parties.

Can an UN-mandated military intervention in Ukraine trigger World War 3 between Russia and the West? In theory, yes it can. Hypothetically, because – again – it is not in the interest of any of the parties. Logic is, unfortunately, no guarantee. That said, logic is what helps us navigate between real and imaginary fear.

I have previously stressed that the risk of nuclear war is – while not non-existent – extremely low. As previously elaborated, nuclear blackmail is very much in line with its Hybrid War strategy aimed at manipulating populations and decisions- and policymakers. Installing fear, the threats trigger inaction and the calls for diplomatic solutions at the cost of the victim of Russia’s aggressions.

  1. Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutual destruction are a part of a two-sided strategy. While Russia is threatening to use nuclear arms, it also knows that its use will trigger a military response. Putin does not know how the West would respond if it chose to use nuclear arms in Ukraine. President Putin is rational. All of his actions so far – including the “strategic blunder” to invade Ukraine in the first place can be explained within the framework of the Hybrid War strategy.
  2. A Russian defeat in Ukraine does not trigger a response according to the State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence.
  3. Due to the risks and wider ramifications, the use of nuclear arms will always be a last resort. Before we chose to lend the nuclear blackmail any credibility, Russia must have been seen exploring all other options. Despite suffering defeats on the battlefield, Russia does not believe it is losing the war. Most importantly, it has still more military options available.
  4. Having been sanctioned and isolated by the West, Russia has turned to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS). Since the use of nuclear arms will have a tremendous impact on global security and stability, it is hard to believe that Russia would proceed without consultation with China as a minimum. It is even harder to imagine China sanctioning a tactical nuclear strike.
  5. Nations do not wage war for war’s sake but in pursuance of policy in which a better state of peace is the main objective. Russian use of nuclear arms in Ukraine would be extremely counterproductive bearing in mind that Ukraine – the people, the industry, the agricultural areas, and its oil, gas and minerals – are all essential elements of Russia’s great power ambitions. Their destruction, therefore, makes no sense. None whatsoever.
  6. Equally important, Russia needs Western trade. A conventional victory in Ukraine would over time possibly be accepted as a “fait accompli” by the West. A nuclear attack would render this option impossible for decades to come.
  7. Lastly, even if Russia chose to ignore all of the above, the use of tactical nuclear weapons defies its purpose unless it can explore the “military advantage” created by its blast. Russia cannot operate in the area devastated by its blast and push fresh forces through the gap in the frontline.

As my Ukrainian friends and colleagues would say: The Russians are highly immoral, but they are not stupid.

Still, some will argue that while the risk of WW3 is nearly non-existent, the consequences if it happens are too high to bear. While the imaginary costs are both inconceivable and unbearable, we fail to address the very real, present and equally inconceivable and unbearable costs.

Failing to intervene, we fail to acknowledge the threat to our way of living. The consequences of not standing up for democracy, the international security architecture and international law, shared values and principles are as devastating as a WW3. The very real death, destruction and suffering in Ukraine cannot be compared to imagined costs. We are letting a tsunami of ripple effects from the war with the very real potential of changing Europe and the US continue out of fear of hypothetical and imagined costs.

Therefore, we must recognise the eternal wisdom of the words: “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Fear is making us close our eyes to very real and present risks and stopping us from doing what is needed out of fear of hypothetical and imagined consequences. Fears induced and nurtured by an autocracy that means us harm.

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