Russo Ukrainian War. Day 291: In Odesa Oblast, over 1.5 million without electricity after Russian drone attack

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian troops attacked Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odesa oblasts with Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones. In Odesa, over a million without power. Pentagon green-lights Ukrainian drone strikes inside Russia.

Daily overview — Summary report, December 11

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, December 9, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situaion in Ukraine. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situaion in Ukraine. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The two-hundred-ninety-first (291) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military large-scale invasion continues.
Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine repelled attacks by russian invaders in the areas of the settlements of Novoselivske, Andriivka, Chervonpopivka, Zhytlivka, Serebryanske, and Bilohorivka in the Luhansk oblast and Verkhnyokamianske, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Pidhorodne, and Bakhmut in the Donetsk oblast.
In addition, the enemy launched 3 missile and 17 air strikes, as well as carried out more than 60 MLRS attacks.
In the future, the threat of missile attacks on the objects of the energy system and critical infrastructure throughout the territory of Ukraine remains.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation remains without significant changes, no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groups have been detected.
Kharkiv Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

On the Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi directions, the enemy continues to hold his troops in the border areas of the Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod regions. The settlements of Vyntorivka and Mohrytsia in the Sumy oblast and Strilecha, Zelene, Starytsa, Ohirtseve, Varvarivka, Chernyakiv, Chuhunivka, Dvorichna and Ridkodub in the Kharkiv oblast were hit by mortar and artillery fire.
In the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, the occupiers shelled the districts of Zapadne, Kislivka, Tabaivka, Pishchane, Krokhmalne, Berestove, Kharkiv oblast; Terny in Donetsk oblast and Stelmakhivka, Novoyehorivka, Makiivka, Ploshchanka, Nevske and Dibrova in Luhansk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, the enemy fired at the positions of the Defense Forces in the areas of more than twenty settlements. In particular, Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne, Vesele, Berestove, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Heorhiivka, Maryinka, Bila Hora, Kurdyumivka, Zalizne and Avdiivka of the Donetsk oblast.
In the direction of Novopavlivsk, the enemy tried to attack our positions with tanks and artillery near Velyka Novosilka, Neskuchne, Prechystivka, and Vuhledar of the Donetsk oblast.
In the Zaporizhzhia oblast, the russian invaders shelled more than twenty settlements. Among them are Zelene Pole, Novosilka, Novopil, Vremivka in the Donetsk oblast and Novoandriivka, Orihiv, Hulyaipole, Dorozhnyanka, Zaliznychne and Mala Tokmachka in Zaporizhzhia oblast.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. December 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kherson direction, the suburbs and the city of Kherson and other settlements on the banks of the Dnipro suffered fire damage.
In the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast, the russian occupiers have been conducting searches in educational institutions for the past 2 weeks. The goal is to identify and destroy books in the Ukrainian language and materials containing symbols of Ukraine.
In order to replenish the insufficient personnel of enemy units operating in the Sievierodonetsk direction, measures of forced mobilization were intensified in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk oblast. In the city of Krasniy Luch, the number of patrols that check men’s documents, hand out summonses, and take them to the collection point for those mobilized has increased.
Over the past 24 hours, missile and artillery units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine have hit 3 control points and 3 areas of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment of the occupiers.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Pentagon green-lights Ukrainian drone strikes inside Russia – The Times. The Pentagon has given a tacit endorsement of Ukraine’s long-range attacks on targets inside Russia after President Putin’s multiple missile strikes against Kyiv’s critical infrastructure, The Times reports citing a US defense source.

Ukrainian air defenses shot down 10 of 15 Shahed-136/131 UAVs  – Air Force Command. Overnight into 10 December, the Russian troops attacked the south of Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed-136/131 kamikaze drones. Air Defense units of the Ukrainian Air Force’s Air Command South shot down 10 enemy kamikaze drones over Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odesa oblasts out of 15, the Air Force Command reported.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1601671273452822528

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

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 291: In Odesa Oblast, over 1.5 million without electricity after Russian drone attack ~~

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine ~

Losses of Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine

Humanitarian 

In Odesa and Odesa region, over one million without power after the Russian troops attack the South of Ukraine with Iranian kamikaze drones.

Over 390 educational institutions damaged and destroyed in enemy attacks on Ukraine since Sept 1 – Ukraine Education and Science Minister.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1601660520863367168

Frontline medics work on Dec. 5 in a bomb shelter outside Bakhmut, the town that is one of the hottest spots of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Environmental

“Operation demoralization”: Russian Telegram channel network tells Ukrainians they will freeze. A network of anonymous Telegram channels ostensibly run by the Kremlin (read more about them here) are running an info-op to demoralize Ukrainians amid Russian strikes on civilian energy infrastructure, Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications writes.

After taking out Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Russia tries to incite anti-blackout riots

Legal 

For years the Kyiv-based Center for Civil Liberties has been documenting war crimes as part of its mission to solidify democracy in Ukraine. Now, says its director on the eve of receiving the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, it is documenting “unprecedented” pain.

Support 

European Commission to send 40 electric generators to Ukraine. The European Commission will donate 40 generators to Ukraine from the emergency rescue reserves of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to help the country overcome the consequences of Russian attacks on critical energy infrastructure.

Azerbaijan sends transformers, generators to Ukraine. The electrical equipment was provided by Azerenergy OJSC to help to minimize the humanitarian crisis in the country this winter while Ukraine tries to restore critical infrastructure damaged by Russian missile attacks.

German Rheinmetall to supply two new Skynex air defense systems to Ukraine by early 2024 – Handelsblatt. The German automotive and arms manufacturer Rheinmetall will manufacture two Skynex air defense systems for Ukraine, Handelsblatt reports. On 9 December, the company confirmed the order with its delivery set to early 2024 although it didn’t name the recipient country for the vehicles, but according to “information from government circles,” this is Ukraine.

New Developments 

Morocco to become the first African country to provide military aid to Ukraine. At the request of the US, the Moroccan authorities have decided to transfer spare parts for T-72 tanks to Ukraine, becoming the first African country to provide military assistance to Kyiv, Ukrinform reports citing Le Journal de l’Afrique.

Russia is now providing an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support to Iran which may include advanced military equipment and components, including helicopters and air defense systems in exchange for Tehran supplying drones for the war in Ukraine, senior Biden administration officials say, according to NBC News.

USA sanctions notorious Kyiv judge declared wanted by Ukrainian anti-graft watchdog. The USA has sanctioned Pavlo Vovk, the notorious Chairman of the no less notorious Kyiv District Administrative Court, and two members of his family.

NATO chief warns against conflict spiralling into Russia-NATO war.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  December 8, 2022:

An unnamed US defense source told The Times that the Pentagon is no longer insisting that Ukraine should not strike military targets within Russia.[1] The source noted that the Pentagon has changed its perspective on this matter following the recent intensification of Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure over the last few months and that the Pentagon has become less concerned regarding the risk of escalation, including nuclear escalation, with Russia.[2] The Times suggested that this development is a “green light” for Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian territory.[3] Ukrainian commitments to Western partners previously stipulated that Ukraine had the right to use force to regain all its territory, including territory seized by Russia in 2014.[4] The US has previously not made an effort to prevent Ukraine from striking legitimate military targets located on sovereign Ukrainian territory, and the alleged statement made by the undisclosed US source is an extension of the previous policy. International law allows Ukrainian forces to strike legitimate targets even in Russian territory, especially targets from which Russian forces are launching attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.

Russian forces conducted attacks against critical infrastructure targets in southern Ukraine using a significantly higher number of Iranian-made drones than in previous weeks. Ukrainian Air Force Command reported on December 10 that Russian forces conducted 15 attacks with Shahed-136 and 131 drones in Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odesa oblasts and that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 10 of the drones.[5] Ukrainian Presidential Office Deputy Head Kyrylo Tymoshenko stated that one of the successful Russian drone strikes severely impacted critical infrastructure facilities in Odesa City and that restoration efforts would take longer than usual.[6] ISW previously assessed that Russian forces still pose a threat to the Ukrainian energy grid and civilian population despite Ukrainian air defenses’ high rates of shooting down Russian high-precision weapons systems.[7] ISW also previously assessed that Russian forces likely modified the drones for cooler weather and resumed using Iranian-made drones to strike Ukrainian cities for the first time in three weeks on December 7.[8] Russian forces have not used a higher number of Iranian-made drones in attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure since October 23.[9] The increased pace of Russian attacks using Iranian-made drones follows a December 9 NBC News report that senior US officials stated that Russia is providing an unprecedented level of military and technical support to Iran in exchange for Iranian-made weapons systems, including drones.[10] The increased pace of Russian drone attacks may indicate that Russian forces accumulated more drones over the three-week period of not using them or that Russia has recently received or expects soon to receive a new shipment of drones from Iran.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is risking the loss of support from former proxy republic leaders and veterans due to Russian forces’ failure to push Ukrainian forces further west of Donetsk City and to “defend” Donbas. A former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Igor Girkin, who had also led the siege of Sloviansk in 2014, directly criticized Putin for failing to push Ukrainian forces near Donetsk City out of artillery range even though Putin had identified the protection of Donbas civilians as one of the objectives of the Russian “special military operation.”[11] Girkin specifically criticized Putin’s December 9 statement, which characterized the progress of the special military operation as “stable,” stating that only Putin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) see the war as successful. Former DNR Security Minister Alexander Khodakovsky noted emerging criticism of Putin, observing that Putin’s long reign has not completely been successful.”[12] Khodakovsky also noted emerging discussions of the need to change the state of affairs, alluded to corruption schemes surrounding the reconstruction of Mariupol, and added that Putin had inherited a rather corrupt society that he cannot fix by removing Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov (which Putin has not yet officially done). A prominent Russian milblogger also accused the Russian Armed Forces of failing to conduct counterbattery fire in defense of Donetsk City, despite never having failed to do so during the previous eight years of war.[13]

Girkin’s and Khodakovsky’s critiques are unprecedentedly direct compared with their previous attacks on the Kremlin. These explicit attacks on Putin may reflect a rift between the pro-war DNR and veteran communities and Putin. The Russian veteran and proxy community had long warned the Kremlin about the design flaws of its military campaign but had rallied behind Putin in the belief that his war – at the very least – would lead to the Russian occupation of Donbas.[14] ISW had previously also observed video footage of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) refusing to fight for territory in the DNR following the Russian capture of Lysychansk, and it is likely that proxy commanders and ideologists sought to prioritize the occupation of Donbas prior to embarking on Putin’s maximalist goal of conquering all of Ukraine.[15] Putin, however, had not delivered on his February 24 rhetorical goal of “saving” people in Donbas by forcing the Kyiv government to capitulate, nor has he accomplished localized military objectives in Donbas. Putin’s conditions-setting for a protracted war may further challenge his efforts to appease the ever-growing milblogger community that represents and speaks to important nationalist factions and interests.

Russian authorities are increasingly importing Chechen elements into occupied Ukraine to shape administrative regimes of occupied areas. Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov stated on December 8 that a Chechen delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Ibragim Zakriev visited Kherson Oblast and met with Kherson occupation Head Vladimir Saldo.[16] Saldo praised the Chechen Republic for being an example of economic well-being, resilience, and growth following years of devastating conflicts and stressed that he hopes to learn from the Chechen experience in developing a model of administration for Kherson Oblast.[17] Ukrainian Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov similarly noted that Kadyrov appointed a Chechen official to “share the experience of the formation of the [Chechen] republic.”[18] Fedorov emphasized that this official is largely meant to maintain control over local pro-Russian collaborators and terrorize the civilian population.[19] The same Chechen delegation also met with the Zaporizhzhia Oblast occupation administration to discuss cooperation and development measures.[20] The Chechen Republic and affiliated officials notably have a history of brutality and are not well-renowned for administrative capabilities, but Chechen detachments have played a significant law enforcement role and acted as security services in Russian rear areas in occupied portions of Ukraine throughout the war.[21] It is therefore likely that Russian occupation administrators seek to integrate Chechen officials into their occupation structures to consolidate their administrative control by capitalizing on Chechen expertise in oppression and security functions. This suggests that dissent and Ukrainian partisan activities are challenging the ability of occupation regimes to govern effectively, and the integration of Chechen models of administration is likely meant as a mitigating factor.

Key Takeaways

  • The Times reported that an unnamed US Defense source stated that the Pentagon is no longer insisting that Ukraine refrain from striking military targets in Russia given the ongoing Russian campaign of systematically destroying Ukrainian critical infrastructure.
  • Russian forces conducted attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure using a higher number of Iranian-made drones than in previous weeks.
  • Putin risks losing support from proxy leaders in Donetsk Oblast due to Russian forces’ failure to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of Donetsk City.
  • Russian authorities are increasingly importing Chechen officials and forces to man administrative regimes of occupied areas.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Svatove, and Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks near Kreminna.
  • Russian forces continued attempts to advance toward Bakhmut and in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area and to defend their positions in western Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian authorities plan to launch programs in Russia and occupied Ukrainian territories to prepare children for military service.
  • Russian forces in occupied Donetsk Oblast are reportedly commandeering civilian utility equipment to construct defensive structures.

https://twitter.com/ZarinaZabrisky/status/1601458725822554112

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