Russo Ukrainian War. Day 287: Drone attack on a Russian plant near the Ukrainian border

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Drones attack a Russian classified plant 80 km from the Ukrainian border. Russia’s Dec 5 missile attack on Ukraine cost $400-500 million, writes Forbes Ukraine. EU officials vow support despite Hungary’s veto of Ukrainian aid.

Daily overview — Summary report, December 7

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, December 7, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. December 6, 2022. Source ISW ~

Situation in Ukraine. December 6, 2022. Source ISW

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The two-hundred-eighty-seventh (287) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
In the Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka areas, the enemy is concentrating its efforts on conducting offensive operations. In other directions, it tries to hold the temporarily captured territories, concentrates its efforts on restraining the actions of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine, equips defensive lines and positions, conducts reconnaissance.
Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces have repelled attacks by occupiers in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast and Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne, Yakovlivka, Bakhmut, Bila Hora, Kurdyumivka, Novobakhmutivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka in the Donetsk oblast.
Over the past day, the enemy launched 10 missile and 33 air strikes, launched 75 MLRS attacks.
russian missiles damaged residential buildings and other civilian objects in the cities of Kramatorsk, Kryvyi Rih, as well as the village of Stepne in the Zaporizhzhia oblast.
The threat of enemy missile strikes on the objects of the energy system and critical infrastructure throughout the territory of Ukraine remains in the future.
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. Enemy units are being trained on the training grounds of the republic of belarus. This country continues to support the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, providing territory and airspace for launching missile and air strikes.
Dissatisfaction with the activities of the military-political leadership of belarus is growing among the soldiers of the border service and the armed forces of this country, due to the threat of involving the republic in a war with Ukraine.
In the Siverskyi direction, the enemy carried out artillery and mortar attacks on the settlements of Hremyach in Chernihiv oblast and Esman, Pavlivka, Kindrativka, Zapsillia and Myropillya in Sumy oblast.
Kharkiv Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source ISW ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source ISW

In the direction of Slobozhansk, the areas of the settlements of Strilecha, Krasne, Ternova, Ohirtseve, Starytsa, Hatyshche, Vovchanski Khutory, Volohivka, Chuhunivka and Kamianka of the Kharkiv oblast were shelled by tanks, mortars and barrel artillery.
The enemy is conducting defensive operations in the Kupyansk direction. The areas of the settlements of Dvorichna, Kupyansk, Kislivka, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, Krokhmalne, Pishchane, Berestove and Pershotravneve in the Kharkiv oblast and Novoselivske and Stelmakhivka in the Luhansk oblast were hit by fire from tanks and the entire spectrum of artillery.
In the Lyman direction, the occupiers shelled the districts of Makiivka, Ploshchanka, and Nevske in the Luhansk oblast, and Terny, Yampolivka, and Lyman in Donetsk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, the enemy is concentrating its main efforts on conducting offensive operations. The settlements of Bilohorivka, Verkhnokamianske, Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Bila Hora, Kurdyumivka, Druzhba, Zalizne, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka, Donetsk oblast were shelled by tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery.
The enemy is defending in the Novopavlivsk direction. Enemy artillery and mortars fired in the areas of Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Prechystivka and Zolota Nyva settlements of the Donetsk oblast.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy is trying to improve the tactical position. Fired tanks, mortars and artillery in the areas of more than 10 settlements. Among them are Vremivka and Novopil of Donetsk oblast and Olhivske, Dorozhnyanka, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Stepove and Plavni of Zaporizhzhia oblast.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 6, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kherson direction, the enemy is defending, and is strengthening the grouping of troops. It carried out artillery shelling of the areas of more than 15 settlements, which are close to the contact line. These are, in particular, Osokorivka, Zolota Balka, Dudchany, Antonivka, Bilohrudove of the Kherson region, Kherson and Mykolaiv.
The enemy continues to suffer losses. The number of dead occupiers among those mobilized in the Kursk region is increasing, as evidenced by local mass media. In addition, due to information about human losses, the war in Ukraine is less and less supported by the younger generation of russians. Rumors about a possible invasion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are spreading in the city of Kursk and the region. In connection with this, the fortification equipment of defensive positions in the border areas with Ukraine continues.
During the past 24 hours, the Air Force of the Defense Forces carried out 22 strikes on the areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment, as well as 4 strikes on the positions of the enemy’s anti-aircraft missile systems.
Over the past day, our soldiers shot down 14 Shahed-136 type attack drones, one Orlan-10 UAV and 2 more enemy drones, the type of which is being specified.
Over the past day, units of the Ukrainian missile forces and artillery hit the command post, 3 personnel concentration areas, the artillery concentration area, and the occupiers’ ammunition depot.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russia’s Dec 5 missile attack on Ukraine cost $400-500 million – Forbes Ukraine. Russia launched its eighth massive missile attack on Ukrainian energy facilities on December 5. In total, more than 70 missiles were fired, of which the Ukrainian air defenses shot down more than 60, according to the Command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian 1000-km range suicide drone passes a number of tests. Ukraine’s state defense concern Ukroboronprom said on 4 December that a combat drone it is developing has passed “a number of stages of successful testing” and is moving to the stage of testing under electronic warfare.

Ukraine “executed its most brazen attack” hundreds of miles into Russian territory using unpiloted drones – NYT. On 5 December, Ukraine executed its most brazen attack into Russian territory in the nine-month-old war on Monday, targeting two military bases hundreds of miles inside the country, using unpiloted drones, according to the Russian Defense Ministry and a senior Ukrainian official, The New York Times reported.

Oil depot on fire after a drone attack on an airfield in Russia’s Kursk. An oil depot near the airfield of the Russian city Kursk came on fire after a drone attack, governor Roman Starovoit reported at 5:21 AM.

Oil depot on fire after drone attack on airfield in Russia’s Kursk: VIDEOS

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

  • Russia has recently started extending defensive positions along its international border with Ukraine, and deep inside its Belgorod region. On 6 December 2022, the governor of Belgorod announced he was establishing local ‘self-defence units’. Trench digging has been reported in Belgorod since at least April 2022, but the new constructions are probably more elaborate systems, designed to rebuff mechanised assault.

 

  • There is a realistic possibility that the Russian authorities are promoting defensive preparations within internationally recognised Russian territory to burnish patriotic feeling. However, it probably illustrates some Russia decision-makers’ genuine (but false) belief that there is a credible threat of invasion by Ukrainian forces.

 

  • The paucity of strategic assessment is one of the critical weaknesses in the central Russian government architecture: as highlighted by Russia’s original decision to invade Ukraine. The impartial official analysis is almost certainly frequently undermined by a tendency toward group-think and politically expedient conclusions.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of Russian Army. MFA of Ukraine. ~

Losses of Russian Army. MFA of Ukraine.

Humanitarian 

Ukraine returns home 60 POWs, including 14 Azovstal defenders as part of a prisoner exchange in the format 60:60, head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office Andrii Yermak informed. They include defenders of the Armed Forces, the National Guard, and the State Border Guard Service. 58 men and 2 women, 15 officers and 45 privates and sergeants.

Environment

Ukraine will not give up, even if Russia continues massive missile attacks on the energy system – Survey Majority of Ukrainians support armed resistance, despite Russian missile terror, according to the data of Kyiv Intl. Institute of Sociology.

Support 

EU officials vow support despite Hungary’s veto of Ukrainian aid – The Guardian. Senior EU officials have vowed to ensure Ukraine gets €18 billion in financial aid after Hungary vetoed the release of the funds, The Guardian reports. European Commission vice-president, Valdis Dombrovskis, told reporters that the EU must keep its promises to Ukraine.

New Developments 

EU Council approves only one of three docs needed for providing €18 bn aid for Ukraine. The Council of the European Union failed to adopt a complete package consisting of three pieces of legislation needed to provide Ukraine with €18 billion in macro-financial assistance in 2023.

Spanish police intercepted three more packages containing animal eyes addressed to Ukraine missions in Madrid and its consulates in Barcelona and Málaga on Monday, police sources close to the investigation said, according to Euronews.

Drones attack a Russian classified plant 80 km from the Ukrainian border. Drones attacked the plant Slava on the night if 6 December, falling three meters from diesel fuel tanks, the Russian Telegram channel Baza reported. Presumably, two drones flew into the territory of the plant, located in Bryansk Oblast 80 km from the Ukrainian border. They fell and exploded three meters away from five-ton fuel tanks with diesel fuel. As the tanks were empty at this moment, a “serious fire” was avoided, Baza claimed.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  December 6, 2022:

The Kremlin directly responded to Russian rumors of a second wave of mobilization in an apparent effort to manage growing societal concern and recentralize information about the war with the Russian government and its authorized outlets. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov on December 6 urged Russians to rely on communications from the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the president and to ignore the “provocative messages” published on social media platforms such as Telegram regarding a second wave of mobilization.[1] Peskov’s statement is likely aimed at discrediting the growing influence of both Russian opposition and pro-war Telegram channels that have been consistently reporting on indicators of the Kremlin’s intention to resume mobilization in 2023.[2] Russian President Vladimir Putin is also increasing measures to prevent mobilized men and their families from complaining about mobilization problems. Putin, for example, signed a law banning rallies in government buildings, universities, schools, hospitals, ports, train stations, churches, and airports—likely to suppress riots and protests among mobilized men and their families.[3]

The Kremlin seems to be departing from the limited war messaging it has been using to reduce concerns among the general Russian public about the war, likely in an effort to condition the public for future mobilization waves. Belgorod and Kursk oblasts have announced the formation of territorial defense units, exposing many civilians to the war under the absurd premise of the threat of a Ukrainian ground assault on Russia’s border regions.[4] ISW previously reported that Kremlin propagandists have started propounding similar implausible theories about a Ukrainian ground threat to Russian territory.[5] Moscow officials even plastered advertisements for the special military operation throughout the city, which ISW has previously observed only in remote cities and settlements during the summer of 2022 amidst Russia’s volunteer recruitment campaigns.[6] However, these information conditions are likely insufficient to convince the Russian population at large of the necessity for additional mobilization given the underwhelming response to volunteer recruitment advertisement efforts over the summer. The Kremlin risks further harming its credibility by announcing mobilization that has been predicted by unofficial sources but not discussed by Russian officials. Russian officials face major challenges balancing Russian force generation needs, which require the enthusiastic support of the milblogger community, and control of the Russian information space.

Putin’s decision to order a second wave of mobilization, general mobilization, or even announce a formal declaration of war with Ukraine will not fix the inherent constraints on Russian military power available for the war in Ukraine in the short term. The Russian MoD can only simultaneously train about 130,000 conscripts during a bi-annual conscription cycle in peacetime and has struggled painfully to prepare a larger number of mobilized men over a shorter period.[7] The Ukrainian Commander of the Ground Forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, noted that Russian mobilized men who are now arriving at the frontlines are better trained than those mobilized men who had arrived at the frontlines immediately after Putin’s partial mobilization order on September 21.[8] The Kremlin took almost three months to prepare some of these units, while it prematurely committed other ill-prepared and poorly supplied mobilized elements to the frontlines. The Kremlin’s sham announcement of the end of mobilization call-ups on October 28 is also an indicator that the Russian MoD acknowledges that it lacks the capacity to sustain reserve mobilization and conscription simultaneously. The Kremlin’s force generation efforts remain contingent on its ability to invest time and supplies into its personnel, requirements that are badly at odds with the Kremlin’s lack of long-term strategic planning.

Igor Girkin, a former Russian militant commander and prominent critical voice in the Russian milblogger information space, returned to Telegram following a nearly two-month stint in Ukraine and used his return to offer a vitriolic first-hand account of the situation on the frontlines. Girkin posted on Telegram on December 6 to speak on his experiences in Ukraine for the first time since he announced he was leaving to join the Russian army to fight in Ukraine in October.[9] Girkin detailed his multiple and unsuccessful efforts to register and join various units and contentious interactions with Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) commanders and noted that he finally joined a DNR battalion illegally, which allowed him to deploy to the Svatove area in Luhansk Oblast.[10] Girkin concluded that based on his experience on the frontline, it is clear that Russian forces are suffering from a “crisis of strategic planning” due to the fact that troops are relying only on tactical inertia and not cohering around a wider strategic goal.[11] Girkin also noted that the Kremlin will be unsuccessful in igniting protests in Ukraine with its missile campaign against critical energy infrastructure, further noting that winter weather will not stop Ukrainian forces from advancing.[12] Several other prominent milbloggers amplified Girkin’s story and conclusions, emphasizing Girkin’s past leadership role in hostilities in Donbas in 2014.[13] This scathing critique of the Russian military leadership from one of the most vocal and well-known figureheads of the hyper-nationalist information space, who has now reportedly acquired first-hand experiences of the nuances of frontline life, is likely to exacerbate tension between Russian military leadership and milbloggers and may reignite fragmentation within the ultra-nationalist community itself.

Key Takeaways

  • The Kremlin directly responded to Russian rumors of a second wave of mobilization in an apparent effort to manage growing societal concern and recentralize information about the war with the Russian government and its authorized outlets, but there are several indicators that Russia still intends to conduct a second wave of mobilization.
  • Igor Girkin, a former Russian militant commander and prominent critical voice in the Russian milblogger information space, returned to Telegram following a nearly two-month stint in Ukraine and used his return to offer a vitriolic first-hand account of the situation on the frontlines.
  • Ukrainian forces likely made recent gains in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, and Russian forces conducted limited attacks and defended against Ukrainian counteroffensive actions.
  • Russian forces continued to conduct ground attacks near Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces made marginal territorial advances near Bakhmut, but Russian forces have not succeeded in their efforts to surround the city.
  • Russian authorities are very likely conducting an information operation to convince Russians of the security and integrity of the Kerch Strait Bridge following repairs to the bridge span.
  • Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Spokesperson Maria Zakharova denied rumors on December 5 that Russia is preparing to withdraw from or transfer control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to another actor.
  • Russian occupation authorities continued to strengthen security measures in occupied territories.

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