Russo Ukrainian War. Day 285: Russian troops killed 9,400 and injured 6,800 Ukrainian civilians since the start of war

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Fighting in Ukraine set to slow for winter months, says US intelligence. Russian troops killed 9400 and injured 6800 Ukrainian civilians since the beginning of the full-scale war. Russia is boosting its cyber attacks on Ukraine, allies.

Daily overview — Summary report, December 5

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1599439223790063617

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, December 5, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two-hundred-eighty-fifth (285) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
Over the past day, units of the Defence Forces have repelled attacks by russian invaders in the areas of the settlements of Ploshchanka and Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast and Berestove, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Opytne, Klishchiivka, Andriivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka in the Donetsk oblast.
Over the past 24 hours, the enemy launched 7 rocket and 32 air strikes, as well as launched more than 50 MLRS attacks on the positions of our troops and settlements along the contact line.
There is still a threat of 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 republic of belarus continues to support the russian federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine, providing territory and airspace for launching missile and air strikes. Certain units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus continue to perform tasks in the areas bordering Ukraine.
In the Siverskyi direction, the enemy carried out mortar attacks on the settlements of Sopych, Svarkove and Zarutske of the Sumy oblast.
Kharkiv Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Slobozhanskyi direction, the areas of the settlements of Timofiivka, Strilecha, Starytsa, Buhruvatka, Ohirtseve, Vovchansk, Bochkove, Mala Vovcha, Dvorichna, Tavilzhanka and Bohdanivske of the Kharkiv oblast were hit by artillery fire of various calibers from the enemy.
The enemy is defending in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. Fired from tanks and artillery in the areas of Kislivka, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, Krokhmalne, Berestove and Vyshneve settlements of Kharkiv oblast; Novoselivske, Myasozharivka, Makiivka, Ploschanka in the Luhansk oblast, and Yampolivka and Andriivka in the Donetsk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, the occupiers are concentrating their main efforts on conducting offensive actions and trying to improve their tactical position. Areas of the settlements of Soledar, Chasiv Yar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Kostyantynivka, Klishchiivka, Opytne, Kurdyumivka, Zalizne, Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Vodyane, Vesele, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka of the Donetsk oblast were shelled by tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery.
The enemy is defending in the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions. Areas of the settlements of Novosilka, Neskuchne, Zolota Nyva and Prechystivka in the Donetsk oblast and Novoandriivka, Novodanilivka, Zaliznychne, Hulyaipole, Chervone and Dorozhnyanka in the Zaporizhzhia region were affected by the fire.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 4, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kherson direction, the enemy shelled the areas of more than twenty settlements along the right bank of the Dnipro River with artillery. The russian occupiers do not stop the fire terror of the civilian population of the city of Kherson.
According to available information, in the Skadovsky district of the Kherson region, the enemy strengthened the administrative and police regime and introduced a curfew. Movement between settlements is prohibited 24 hours a day, movement within settlements is permitted only during the day.
It has been confirmed that the Defense Forces destroyed the concentration of enemy manpower in the Yakymiv district of the Zaporizhzhia region. The losses of the enemy are up to 30 servicemen wounded and more than 10 dead.
During the past day, Ukrainian aviation made 18 strikes on the areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 1 strike on the positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems.
At the same time, our soldiers shot down an enemy Ka-52 helicopter and 4 UAVs of the occupiers.
The units of missile troops and artillery of the Defense Forces hit 2 control points, an ammunition depot, an area for the concentration of personnel and military armament and technics, as well as one other important object of the enemy.

Military Updates

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1599524445885853697

Fighting in Ukraine set to slow for winter months, says US intelligence – BBC. The fighting in Ukraine has been slowing down and this will likely continue in the coming winter months, US intelligence agencies believe, although there has been no evidence of fading resistance on the part of Ukrainian forces, US director of intelligence Avril Haines told a defense forum in California, according to BBC.

US intel chief says Russia using up ammunition in Ukraine faster than it can replace it – NBC News. US National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told NBC News on 3 December that Russian forces in Ukraine are burning through ammunition “quite quickly” – faster than the country’s defense industry can replace it, which prompts Moscow to look to other countries for help, including North Korea.

Putin’s “annexation” of Donbas showed Crimea was no special case and his loss of Kherson shows Ukraine can retake it, Portnikov says

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

  • In recent months, the number of sorties conducted by Russian tactical combat aircraft over Ukraine has reduced significantly. Russian aircraft now probably conducts tens of missions per day, compared to a high of up to 300 per day in March 2022.

 

  • Russia has now lost over 60 fixed-wing aircraft in the conflict, likely including an additional Su-24M FENCER fighter-bomber and a Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack aircraft last week.

 

  • The decrease in sorties is likely a result of continued high threat from Ukrainian air defences, limitations on the flying hours available to Russian aircraft, and worsening weather. With Russia’s ground attack tactics largely reliant on visual identification and unguided munitions, the Russian air force will likely continue a low rate of ground attack operations through the poor winter weather.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine. ~

Losses of the Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine.

Humanitarian 

Russian troops killed 9400, and injured 6800 Ukrainian civilians since the beginning of the full-scale war, the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Yevgeny Yenin has said. There are also children among the victims of Russia’s aggression: 461 children have died since February 24. As Yenin reported, Russia continues to target critical infrastructure. “Currently, there is no power supply in 507 settlements in eight regions of our country. Kharkiv Oblast is the most affected.”

Environment

First bulk carrier with Ukraine’s humanitarian wheat shipment arrives in Ethiopia. The first ship carrying 25,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat under the Grain from Ukraine humanitarian program arrived in Ethiopia on 3 December, Ukrinform reports referring to the Ukrainian President’s website. The second vessel carrying 30,000 tonnes of wheat that is now being loaded in the port of Chornomorsk leaves for Ethiopia next week. The third one currently being loaded in the Odesa port will deliver 25,000 tonnes of humanitarian wheat to Somalia.

Legal 

Russia uses chemical weapons against Ukrainian soldiers. Russian forces dropped grenades containing chloropicrin from a drone on Ukrainian positions and Soviet-made K-51 tear gas grenades in the eastern part of the country, the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has informed.

Two Ukrainian believers sentenced to six years in Russian-occupied Crimea for a Zoom conversation about the Bible.The Russian-controlled Armiansk city ‘court’ in occupied Crimea has sentenced two Jehovah’s Witnesses – 62-year-old Oleksandr Lytvyniuk and Oleksandr Dubovenko (49) to six years’ imprisonment in a medium security prison colony purely for practising their faith.  The prosecution’s chief ‘evidence’ in this shocking new example of Russian religious persecution on occupied territory was a Zoom conference discussing the Bible.

New Developments 

Spanish police believe origin of letter bombs was city of Valladolid in northwest Spain – Reuters. Spanish police said six letter bombs sent to high-profile targets in recent days appeared to have been posted from the northern city of Valladolid, a source close to the investigation told Reuters on December 3.

Russia is boosting its cyber attacks on Ukraine, allies, Microsoft says – Bloomberg. Moscow will intensify its cyber efforts to pressure the sources of Ukraine’s military and political support both domestic and foreign, according to Microsoft Corp, Bloomberg reports. In a blog post, Microsoft’s digital threat analysis center’s general manager Clint Watts urged customers to prepare for more Russian cyber attacks over the winter.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  December 4, 2022:

Ukrainian officials have indicated that Ukrainian forces plan to continue offensive operations over the coming winter to capitalize on recent battlefield successes and prevent Russian forces from regaining the battlefield initiative. Spokesperson of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Eastern Group Serhii Cherevatyi stated on December 4 that frozen ground enables heavy wheeled and tracked vehicles to advance and that Ukrainian forces are preparing such vehicles for winter operations.[1] Cherevatyi also stated that low-quality mobilized recruits and Wagner Group personnel recruited from Russian prisoners are unprepared for combat in the winter.[2] The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated on November 20 that those who suggest the winter will pause hostilities “likely never sunbathed in January on the southern coast of Crimea,” suggesting that Ukrainian forces intend to continue counteroffensive operations over the coming winter that contribute toward the goal of retaking Crimea.[3] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov stated on November 18 that Ukrainian forces will continue to fight in the winter because any type of pause will allow Russian forces to reinforce their units and positions.[4] Ukrainian officials’ prior statements on ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive actions in Kherson Oblast are further evidence that these official statements on winter counteroffensive actions are indicators of continuing counteroffensive operations.[5]

Senior US government officials are mistakenly identifying the optimal window of opportunity for Ukraine to conduct more counteroffensives as the spring rather than winter, despite Ukrainian officials’ statements to the contrary. US Director for National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines assessed on December 3 that the pace of the war in Ukraine will slow over the winter so both sides can refit, resupply, and reconstitute, despite evidence that conditions on the ground favor a renewed offensive and despite the demonstrated tendency of Ukrainian forces to initiate new counteroffensive efforts relatively quickly after the previous effort has culminated.[6]

Ukraine’s ability to maintain the military initiative and continue the momentum of its current operational successes depends on Ukrainian forces continuing to conduct successive operations through the winter of 2022-2023. Russia lost the initiative in summer 2022 after its offensive in Donbas culminated.[7] Ukrainian forces gained and have retained the initiative since August 2022 and have been conducting a series of successful successive operations since then: Ukraine liberated most of Kharkiv Oblast in September, Kherson City in November, and is currently setting conditions for more Ukrainian pushes elsewhere this winter.[8] Successive operations are a key part of Ukraine’s campaign design. A series of successive Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts demonstrates the Ukrainian military‘s remarkable operational planning skill and knowledge of the strengths of Soviet operational art. Soviet operational art emphasizes that militaries can only obtain their strategic objectives through the cumulative operational success of successive operations ideally conducted without operational pauses between them.[9] Recent official Ukrainian statements make clear that Ukraine’s campaign design is designed to allow a series of successive operations to deprive Russia of the initiative, defeat the Russian military, and liberate more Ukrainian territory.

Weather conditions in winter 2023 likely will dictate a timeframe in which Ukraine can conduct maneuver warfare and continue its string of operational successes with minimal pauses that would increase the risks of Ukraine losing the initiative. The fall mud season in November hampered maneuver warfare, as ISW previously noted.[10] Both Russia and Ukraine nevertheless continued aggressive offensive and counter-offensive operations throughout this muddy period despite some Western predictions that the mud would suspend operations. As the hard freeze approaches in late December, Ukrainian forces will be again able to exploit the weather conditions. Winter is usually the best season for mechanized warfare in Ukraine whereas spring is the nightmare season for fighting in Ukraine.[11] The thaw swells rivers and streams and turns fields into seas of mud.[12] Ukrainian forces likely are preparing to take advantage of frozen terrain to move more easily than they could in the muddy autumn months.[13]

If Ukraine’s allies and partners do not support Ukrainian forces to conduct large-scale decisive counteroffensive operations this winter—as the DNI’s statements might be construed to suggest – then Ukrainians‘ ability to conduct maneuver warfare will be constrained until likely at least after the spring mud season in March 2023.[14] Such a course of action will likely prematurely culminate Ukraine‘s current momentum and grant shattered Russian forces a valuable three-to-four-month reprieve to reconstitute and prepare to fight on a better footing.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian officials have indicated that Ukrainian forces will continue counteroffensive operations over the upcoming winter.
  • Ukraine’s ability to maintain the military initiative depends on Ukrainian forces continuing counteroffensive operations in the winter of 2022-2023.
  • Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the directions of Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations around Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Groups of mobilized Russian soldiers continue to disrupt Russian force generation efforts with refusals to fight, insubordination, and defiance.
  • Russian forces likely publicly executed residents in occupied Luhansk Oblast on accusations of partisan activity.

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