Russo Ukrainian War. Day 318: Bombing continues despite Putin’s Christmas “ceasefire”

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Shells fly at Ukraine despite Putin’s truce. In the Luhansk Oblast, during the first three hours of the “ceasefire”, Russian troops open fire 14 times.  The power supply situation improves in Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1611252390849662976

Daily overview — Summary report, January 6, 2023

https://twitter.com/War_Mapper/status/1611521316389113856

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, January 6, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. January 6, 2023. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. January 6, 2023. Source: ISW.

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Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have launched 1 missile strike and fired 20 rounds from multiple rocket launchers.

The danger of air and missile strikes remains on the entire territory of Ukraine.

[The adversary focuses its main efforts on attempts to completely capture Donetsk oblast within its administrative border. Russian forces conducts offensive operations on Bakhmut axis and makes unsuccessful attempts to improve its tactical situation on Kupyansk, Lyman, and Avdiivka axes. On other axes, the invaders are defending.]

[To maintain its offensive potential and replenish losses, the invaders continue mobilization activities.]

Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces have repelled attacks by the occupiers in the areas of the settlements of Stelmakhivka, Makiivka, Dibrova, and Belogorivka in the Luhansk region and Ozaryanivka, Soledar, Krasna Gora, Pidhorodne, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Sil, Pervomaiske, Maryinka, and Pobieda in the Donetsk region.

  • 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.
Kharkiv Battle Map. January 6, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. January 6, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • On the Siverskyi and Slobozhanskyi directions, Russian forces shelled the areas of the settlements of Strelecha, Bochkove, Komisarove, Krasne, Zelene, Ambarne, Bugruvatka, Gatishche, and Odradne of the Kharkiv region.
  • In the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, areas of more than 20 settlements were shelled. Among them are Dvorichna, Kupyansk, Kislivka, Kotlyarivka and Krokhmalne in the Kharkiv region and Stelmakhivka, Makiivka, Ploshanka and Dibrova in the Luhansk region.
  • In the Bakhmut direction, areas of more than 20 settlements were damaged by fire. In particular, these are Yakovlivka, Spirne, Berestovka, Bilogorivka, Soledar, Bakhmut and New York of the Donetsk region.
Donetsk Battle Map. January 6, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

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

  • In the Avdiivka direction, Avdiivka, Vesele, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Kamianka, Georgiivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka of the Donetsk region came under the influence of fire.
  • In the Novopavlivka direction, Russian forces shelled Vremivka, Velika Novosilka, Vugledar and Paraskoviivka in the Donetsk region.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. January 6, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

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

  • In the Zaporizhzhia direction, the areas of 23 settlements were affected by the occupiers’ fire. Among them – Zelene Pole and Novopil of Donetsk region; Gulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Charivne, Shcherbaki and Stepove in Zaporizhzhia and Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region.
  • In the Kherson direction, Russian forces do not stop shelling populated areas along the right bank of the Dnipro River. In particular, the civil infrastructure of Chornobayivka, Antonivka, Beryslav, Zolotaya Balka and Kherson was affected, and there are victims among civilians.

The Russian invaders continue to put psychological and physical pressure on the civilian population of the temporarily occupied and occupied territories. In particular, in the city of Energodar, Zaporizhzhia region, the Russian occupying forces forced about 3,000 workers of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to obtain so-called Russian passports. The Ukrainian hryvnia was taken out of circulation in the city by threatening entrepreneurs with fines and confiscation of property. The number of residential premises seized by the occupiers and abandoned by forced migrants has increased significantly.

Due to the non-implementation of the plan to recruit volunteers for the Territorial Defense Forces in the Belgorod region, the local police were involved in the recruitment campaign. Servicemen go around apartments and houses, conduct a census of the male population of draft age and conduct discussions on the popularization of the service.

[The adversary continues to suffer losses. It was confirmed that on January 5, 2023, a location of the Russian occupation troops in Havrylivka Druha (Kherson oblast) was hit. According to recent reports, up to 100x wounded servicemen were brought to local hospitals. The number of the invaders killed is being finalised.]

During the past day, the Ukrainian air force struck 1 area of concentration of the occupiers, and our units of missile troops and artillery carried out fire damage to 4 areas of concentration of Russian manpower and military equipment, as well as 2 of his warehouses of fuel and lubricants.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

‘What ceasefire?’: shells fly at Ukraine front despite Putin’s truce, Reuters reports. “Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged artillery fire at the front line in Ukraine on Friday, even after Moscow said it had ordered its troops to stop shooting for a unilateral truce that was firmly rejected by Kyiv. President Vladimir Putin ordered the 36-hour ceasefire from midday on Friday to observe Russian Orthodox Christmas. Ukraine has said it has no intention to stop fighting, rejecting the purported truce as a stunt by Moscow to buy time to reinforce troops that have taken heavy losses this week.

What ceasefire? Can you hear? said a Ukrainian soldier, using the nom de guerre Vyshnya, as an explosion rang out in the distance at the front line near Kreminna in eastern Ukraine. What do they want to achieve if they keep on shooting? We know, we have learnt not to trust them.

Russia’s defence ministry said its troops began observing the ceasefire from noon Moscow time (0900 GMT) “along the entire line of contact”, but said Ukraine had kept up shelling populated areas and military positions.

Reuters heard explosions of what Ukrainian troops at the front line described as incoming Russian rocket fire. Ukrainians fired back from tanks. The Ukrainian troops said it was quieter than many other days because snowy weather had made it hard to fly drones and spot targets.

The situation today is exactly the same as yesterday, the day before yesterday, last week and last month, said one, concealing his face with a scarf. There is no point in talking to them, in believing in their promises, orders and decrees.”

During the first three hours of “ceasefire”, Russian troops open fire 14 times in the Luhansk region – Haidai, Ukrinform reports, citing the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, Serhii Haidai. “Despite the “Christmas truce” declared by Putin, his soldiers opened artillery fire 14 times and tried to storm one of the de-occupied villages of Luhansk region three times on Thursday.”

Russians claim their air defence shot down UAV over Sevastopol, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Mikhail Razvozhayev, the so-called governor of Sevastopol, has announced the downing of a drone on the night of 6-7 January in occupied Crimea. Air defence forces… have shot down a UAV over the Northern Pier.”

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

  • Fighting has continued at a routine level into the Orthodox Christmas period. One of the most fiercely contested sectors continues to be around the town of Kremina, in Luhansk Oblast.
  • In the last three weeks, the fighting around Kremina has focused on the heavily forested terrain to the west of the town. With the coniferous woodland providing some cover from air observation even in winter, both sides are highly likely struggling to accurately adjust artillery fire. As is typical with operations in forests, combat has largely devolved to dismounted infantry fighting, often at short range.
  • Russian commanders will highly likely view pressure around Kremina as a threat to the right flank of their Bakhmut sector, which they see as key for enabling any future advance to occupy the remainder of Donetsk Oblast.
  • Militias from the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) were formally integrated into the Russian armed forces on 31 December 2022. President Putin presented the formations with their battle colours during a visit to Rostov-on-Don.
  • Russia claims the LNR and DNR are intrinsic parts of the Russian Federation following the fixed accession referendums of September 2022. However, it has discreetly controlled both since 2014, creating DNR’s 1st Army Corps and LNR’s 2nd Army Corps and supporting them with Russian military officers.
  • The status and identities of the DNR and LNR likely remain divisive within the Russian system. Even before the February 2022 invasion, these territories represented a significant drain on Russian finances. Now the Kremlin has overtly committed to supporting them, they will likely constitute a large political, diplomatic and financial cost for Russia which will last well beyond the current phase of the conflict.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Saturday 7 January, 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 110740 (+490),
  • Tanks – 3066 (+2),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 6125 (+1),
  • Artillery systems – 2062 (+3),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 431 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 217 (+2),
  • Aircraft – 285 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 272 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4798 (+1),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1844 (+0),
  • Special equipment – 182 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 723 (+0)

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 318: Bombing continues despite Putin’s Christmas “ceasefire” ~~

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry gives update on number of missiles remaining in Russia, Ukrinform reports. “Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has published an updated infographic showing the number of missiles left in Russia.

“Security formula: The missile power of the ‘world’s second army’ is inversely proportional to the strictness of sanctions compliance multiplied by the strength of Ukrainian air defense,” Reznikov said.

According to him, Russia currently has 19% of strategic high-precision missiles, about 78% of tactical missiles and 12% of Iranian-made drones. Russia also has 9% of Kalibr missiles and 11% of Iskander ballistic missiles left. At the same time, the country still has a sufficient number of Iskander cruise missiles and S-300s.”

Russian military commissariats have started collecting information about 16-year-old citizens, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “According to available information, since January 1, in the city of Donetsk, employees of the so-called military commissariats have started collecting information about citizens born in 2006 for military registration.

Russia recruits mercenaries in Balkans, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the National Resistance Center. “Russia recruits mercenaries from the Balkans for the war against Ukraine. Two Serbians are responsible for this. The main region for recruiting is the Balkans. One of those involved in it is Dejan Berić, a Serbian living in Russia. He is a former mercenary himself and fought against Ukraine in 2014.

Another well-known mercenary is Zika Radojicic, also a Serbian, who is now participating in the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Russia’s side.”

Losses of Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine. Source: Ukrinform. ~

Losses of Russian Army. Source General Staff of Ukraine. Source: Ukrinform.

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1611361846690304002

Ukraine exports more than 50M tonnes of agricultural products in 2022, Ukrinform reports, citing First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotskyi, with reference to the ministry’s press service. “Ukraine exported more than 50 million tonnes of grain, oil crops and their processing products in 2022. He noted that such an export figure is a good result, taking into account the fact that the war in Ukraine lasted almost the whole year.

Grid operator urges Ukrainians to save electricity as temperatures drop, Reuters reports.  Ukraine’s power grid operator issued a new appeal to civilians to save electricity on Friday as temperatures fell and energy consumption rose, threatening new strains on a network devastated by Russian air strikes. Russian missile and drone attacks on energy infrastructure since October have caused widespread damage that has led to winter blackouts and shortages of heating and water.

After hovering at around 10 degrees Celsius (50°F) during an unseasonably warm spell since New Year, temperatures are now falling. Forecasters say they could soon plunge to -11°C in Kyiv and to -18°C in eastern Ukraine. In the near future, a significant drop in temperature is expected, which will lead to a rapid increase in consumption, state-run energy company and grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

The energy system is currently unable to fully cover it due to the damage and Russian forces’s occupation of a number of power plants that produce electricity, in particular, and the most powerful – the Zaporizhzhia NPP (nuclear power plant).”

Situation with power supplies improves in most Ukrainian regions – Energy Ministry, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the Energy Ministry. “Currently, active work is underway to restore damaged generation facilities, trunk and distribution networks, which is quite time- and resource-consuming. In the front-line zone, repair works on some energy facilities are impossible during active hostilities, which complicates the situation with the restoration of power supply, noted Energy Minister German Galushchenko.

It is noted that due to the increase in demand for electricity as a result of the cold weather, schedules of power outages will be applied in order to prevent accidents due to the high load on the power system. However, thanks to the control measures taken, today the schedules of these shutdowns are more balanced and fair, Galushchenko emphasized.

As reported, the energy system of Ukraine was subjected to 11 missile and 14 drone attacks by Russian forces. Damage to generation facilities and trunk networks is complex and large-scale.”

Environmental

UN releases report on Ukraine telecoms damage by Russia, Reuters reports. “Ukraine will need at least $1.79 billion to restore its telecommunications sector to pre-war levels, a U.N. agency said in a report published on Friday alleging Russia had “destroyed completely or seized” networks in parts of the country.

The long-anticipated and sensitive damage assessment by the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was commissioned in April to assess the extent of destruction of Ukraine’s communication networks as a result of Russia’s invasion last February. The report, which covers the first six months of the war, found that there was considerable damage and destruction to communications infrastructure in more than 10 out of 24 regions of Ukraine. […]

It also alleges that Moscow unilaterally switched Ukrainian dialling codes, fixed by the U.N. agency, to Russian ones and that there had been 1,123 cyber attacks against Ukraine.

Russia has regularly targeted Ukraine with cyberattacks since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. These attacks, perpetrated against government and banking websites, intensified before Moscow sent troops into Ukraine last year. Russia has denied being behind those and other attacks.”

Legal 

U.N. chief disbands fact-finding mission into Ukraine prison attack, Reuters reports. “U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has disbanded a fact-finding mission into a July attack in the front-line Ukrainian town of Olenivka that killed prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists, because the U.N. mission cannot deploy to the site, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.”

Russian invaders already destroyed more than 14,700 civilian objects in Mykolaiv region, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration. “As of January 6, 14,708 civilian objects, including 9,540 residential buildings, 92 medical and 397 educational institutions, and 184 cultural objects, have been partially damaged or completely destroyed in Mykolaiv region since the Russian invasion began, the report says.

It is also emphasized that 189 industrial enterprises and more than 2,000 critical infrastructure facilities – gas and electricity networks, boiler houses, pumping stations, etc. were damaged. Currently, a total of 5,804 consumers in the region have been left without gas supply.”

Support

U.N. chief disbands fact-finding mission into Ukraine prison attack, Reuters reports. “U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has disbanded a fact-finding mission into a July attack in the front-line Ukrainian town of Olenivka that killed prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists, because the U.N. mission cannot deploy to the site, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.”

Russian invaders already destroyed more than 14,700 civilian objects in Mykolaiv region, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration. “As of January 6, 14,708 civilian objects, including 9,540 residential buildings, 92 medical and 397 educational institutions, and 184 cultural objects, have been partially damaged or completely destroyed in Mykolaiv region since the Russian invasion began, the report says.

It is also emphasized that 189 industrial enterprises and more than 2,000 critical infrastructure facilities – gas and electricity networks, boiler houses, pumping stations, etc. were damaged. Currently, a total of 5,804 consumers in the region have been left without gas supply.”

Capabilities in this package include 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles with 500 TOW anti-tank missiles and 250,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition; 100 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers; 55 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs); 138 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs); 18 155mm self-propelled Howitzers and 18 ammunition support vehicles; 70,000 155mm artillery rounds; 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds; 1,200 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems; 36 105mm towed Howitzers and 95,000 105mm artillery rounds; 10,000 120mm mortar rounds; Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS); RIM-7 missiles for air defense; 4,000 Zuni aircraft rockets; Approximately 2,000 anti-armor rockets; Sniper rifles, machine guns, and ammunition for grenade launchers and small arms; Claymore anti-personnel munitions; Night vision devices and optics; and Spare parts and other field equipment. 

The Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and other armored vehicles and artillery systems will complement the recent commitment of combat vehicles to Ukraine by Germany and France. DoD also welcomes Germany’s commitment to join the United States in supporting Ukraine’s urgent requirement for air defense capabilities by also supplying one Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine.“

Germany to Hand over Patriot to Ukraine by Spring, Ukrainians to Be Trained on Marder BMP for Eight Weeks, European Pravda reports. “Germany will supply Ukraine with around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles within the first three months of 2023 as part of a new phase of support coordinated with the US. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit shared it with journalists in Berlin on Friday.”

Macron promises Zelenskyy AMX-10 RC wheeled tanks and Bastion armoured vehicles, Ukrainska Pravda reported on 4 January, citing European Pravda. “The President (of France) has decided to extend the military aid (provided to Ukraine) by agreeing to the delivery of AMX-10 RC light battle tanks, the Macron administration reported. This is the first time the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been provided with Western-made tanks, the Elysee Palace stressed. The report does not explain how many pieces of military equipment will be transferred to Ukraine or when it will happen.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that during the phone call with Macron, they discussed the supply of light tanks as well as the Bastion armoured vehicles.”

Ukraine’s Buk SAM Will Receive RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Missiles, Which Solves the Missile Shortage Problem, Defense Express reports, citing Politico . “The USA and Ukraine continue the successful practice of adapting Western missiles and other systems to Soviet weapons. In addition to the long-awaited M2 Bradley IFVs, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will also receive missiles that will help to protect the sky, in particular to shoot down the cruise missiles of the occupiers. These are the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow air-defence missiles with radar guidance, however, there’s no information on the quantity of these missiles and in which version it will be.

RIM-7 Sea Sparrow air-defense missiles are primarily intended for installation on a ship. […] However, as Politico says with reference to its own sources, that the Ukrainian military managed to adjust the existing Soviet-era Buk launchers to fire the Sea Sparrow, which means that regardless of the version of the missile, the issue of launching these missiles from Soviet systems already solved.

And this is very positive news, as there are a lot of such missiles in warehouses, which will first of all solve one of the painful issues of Soviet missile shortage, especially since these missiles are capable of shooting down both airplanes and cruise missiles, which is especially relevant in in the context of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.”

Finland to hand Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks if Europe makes such decision, Ukrinform reports, citing MTV Uutis.Chairman of the Committee on Defense Affairs, Antti Häkkänen, said Finland should transfer Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine if the relevant decision is taken in Europe at a wider level.”

Poland might provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks – media, Ukrinform reports, citing The Wall Street Journal referring to Polish authorities. “Poland, which has already transferred a significant amount of heavy weapons to Ukraine, is considering the possibility of supplying German-made Leopard main battle tanks after receiving replacements from South Korea and the USA.

Poland gave Ukraine more than 240 modernized Soviet-type tanks early in the war. Now, Poland is considering a request from Ukraine to donate its German-made Leopard main battle tanks, a senior Polish diplomat said.”

Patriot training for Ukrainian troops to kick off in January, Ukrinform reports, citing CNN. “The US will start training Ukrainian forces on the Patriot missile system later this month, according to the Pentagon.

Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense, said the training will take several months. On Thursday the Pentagon said the US is considering bringing Ukrainians to the US to train on the Patriot missile system, as well as considering training overseas or a combination of both, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.”

Ukraine receives US$25.5 bln of aid from partners in 2022, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine.  We have received about UAH 1 trillion from our international partners,” the Prime Minister said.

UAH 410 billion [roughly US$10 billion] have been provided by the United States; UAH 390 billion [US$ 9.6 billion] by the European Union and its institutions together with the European Investment Bank.

Another UAH 88 billion [US$2 billion] have been received from the International Monetary Fund, UAH 60 billion [US$1.4 billion] from the World Bank and UAH 17 billion [US$418 million] from Japan. Other sums have also been received from many other partners.

We are grateful to the governments and people of all countries who supported Ukraine financially in 2022. Thanks to this, we did not delay neither pensions, nor social payments, nor salaries to teachers or doctors even for a single day. We have financed all these expenses in full and on time, Shmyhal added.”

New Developments 

  1. Putin orders his Defence Minister to cease fire for Christmas, Ukrainska Pravda reported on 5 January, citing Kremlin-aligned news outlet RIA Novosti. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence, to introduce a ceasefire from 12:00 6 January to 24:00 7 January along the entire contact line in Ukraine.”
  2. Putin wants to use Christmas as a cover to stop the Ukrainian Armed Forces – Zelenskyy, Ukrainska Pravda reported on 5 January. “Now they want to use Christmas as a cover to stop the advance of our servicemen in the Donbas for a short time and bring equipment, ammunition and conscripts closer to our positions. What does this mean? Just another increase in the volume of losses. Everyone in the world knows how the Kremlin uses the respite in war to continue the war with renewed vigour.”
  3. Biden on Putin’s “Christmas truce”: He was willing to bomb on New Year’s Eve, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Voice of America. “Joe Biden, the President of the United States, has commented on Vladimir Putin’s statement on the announcement of the so-called “truce” from 12:00 on 6 January to 24:00 on 7 January. I’m reluctant to respond to anything that Putin says. I found it interesting that he was willing to bomb hospitals, kindergartens and churches… on 25 December and on New Year’s Eve.”
  4. Russia broke truce 11 times over past nine years – Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, UkrinformOver the past nine years of the war, the Russian Federation never adhered to ceasefire agreements. In total, during the Anti-Terrorist Operation, there were 11 attempts to establish a more or less stable ceasefire regime, which was agreed upon by the parties as part of the Trilateral Contact Group: from 18:00 on September 5, 2014; from 00:00 on February 15, 2015; from 00:00 on October 1, 2015; from 00:00 on April 30, 2016 (Easter truce); from 00:00 on September 1, 2016 (school truce); from 00:00 on December 24, 2016 (New Year’s truce); from 00:00 on June 24, 2017 (bread truce); from 00:00 on August 25, 2017 (school truce); from 00:00 on December 23, 2017 (New Year’s truce); from 00:00 on March 5, 2018; from 00:00 on March 30, 2018 (Easter truce). All of them were disrupted by the deliberate actions of Russian forces,” [Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna] Maliar said.”
  5. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister: Time of arms taboo is over, there will be more good news, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing European Pravda, referring to Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. “Kuleba has stressed that this year Ukraine will receive arms from its allies which it failed to receive in 2022.Thanks to this hard work and heroism of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and all the Defence Forces of Ukraine, the president’s diplomatic team has managed to convince the allies that the time of the arms taboo has passed. We are entering a decisive phase. There can be only one goal: the victory of Ukraine. This is the only way to ensure a lasting and just peace, as well as security, in Europe.
  6. S. hits Iran with new sanctions over drone supplies to Russia, missile programs, Ukrinform reports. “The United States government announced the introduction of a new package of sanctions against key Iranian officials and an organization involved in the production and transfer of combat UAVs to Russia, as well as Tehran’s continued missile programs. This is stated in the official report by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury Department (OFAC).”
  7. Moscow-linked Church declares that Kyiv monastery churches belong to it until end of war and threatens criminal liability, Ukrainska PravdaThe Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has stated that during martial law, lease agreements for two churches on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv) will be automatically extended until the end of the war and threatened criminal liability for the admission of Metropolitan Epiphanius, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), to the territory of the shrine.”
  8. Moscow-linked church says Ukrainian Primate does not have permission to hold service in Kyiv monastery, Ukrainska PravdaOn 4 January, the press service of the OCU reported that the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius, plans to hold a Christmas service on 7 Januaryin the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has said that Metropolitan Epiphanius, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), does not have permission to hold a service in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves) on 7 January, and his intention is an attempt to “forcibly seize the Dormition Cathedral”.”

Assessment 

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-january-6-2023*

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  January 6, 2023:

Russian and Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Svatove on January 6. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops conducted a limited ground attack near Stelmakhivka (15km northwest of Svatove). A Russian milblogger claimed that both Russian and Ukrainian troops are conducting positional battles in the Svatove direction and that Ukrainian troops unsuccessfully attacked Russian positions near Kuzemivka (13km northwest of Svatove). Russian milbloggers also indicated that elements of the Western Military District—particularly the 27th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Guards Tank Army and 3rd Motor Rifle Division of the 20th Combined Arms Army—are active near Svatove.

Russian and Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Kreminna on January 6. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks near Makiivka (22km northwest of Kreminna) and Ploshchanka (16km northwest of Kreminna). A Russian milblogger indicated that elements of the 752nd Guards Motor Rifle Regiment of the 3rd Motor Rifle Division of the 20th Combined Arms Army are fighting near Makiivka. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted several unsuccessful counterattacks to regain lost positions along the Balka Zhuravka River that runs between Ploshchanka and Kreminna. […] Russian sources continued to claim that Russian forces are fighting for Bilohorivka (10km south of Kreminna).

Russian officials and milbloggers largely did not react to the US announcement of more than $3.75 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine, further highlighting that the Kremlin and the Russian information space selectively choose when to portray Western military assistance as an escalation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on January 6 that the assistance would provide Ukraine with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, artillery systems, armored personnel carriers, surface-to-air missiles, and ammunition. Russian officials and milbloggers scarcely reacted to the latest announcement of military assistance,  even though the Kremlin most recently portrayed the transfer of purely defensive Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine as an escalation.

The lack of Russian reaction to the US announcement of military assistance that Ukrainian forces could use to support counteroffensive operations supports ISW’s previous assessment that the Kremlin is more concerned with its information operations and the effect that Western military aid can have on specific Russian military operations in Ukraine than with any particular weapons systems, red lines, or the supposed Russian fears of putative Ukrainian offensive actions against the Russian Federation itself using Western systems. The Kremlin selectively responds to Western military shipments and assistance to Ukraine to support information operations that aim to frame Ukraine as lacking sovereignty and to weaken Western willingness to provide further military assistance by stoking fears of Russian escalation. The Kremlin and the Russian information space will likely seize upon future Western military aid that they believe can support these information operations rather than as a reflection of any actual Kremlin red lines or specific concerns about the potential threat Western weapons systems may pose. ISW has previously noted that these observations are worth considering in the context of the Western discussion of providing Ukraine with Western tanks, long-range attack systems, and other capabilities.

Russian officials and milbloggers continued to respond negatively to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s January 5 ceasefire announcement as hostilities continued in Ukraine on January 6. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Head Denis Pushilin remarked that a ceasefire does not mean that Russian troops will stop responding to “provocations by Ukrainian troops,” or else Russian forces run the risk of affording Ukraine the opportunity to improve their positions in critical areas of the front. Pushilin’s statement was an implicit criticism of the ceasefire announcement and exemplifies the fact that the announcement was poorly received by Russian military leaders. Former commander of militants in Donbas in 2014 and prominent milblogger Igor Girkin called the ceasefire “a bold and decisive step towards defeat and surrender” for Russian forces and criticized Russian leadership for failing to learn from the outcomes of previous ceasefires over the last eight years. Other prominent milbloggers seized on the ceasefire announcement to criticize the Kremlin’s conduct of the war and accuse Russian leadership of directly placing Russian soldiers in harm’s way. The ceasefire announcement will likely continue to serve as a point of neuralgia for voices in the information space that have historically enjoyed a mutually reinforcing relationship with Putin.

While many voices in the Russian information space strongly criticized the ceasefire announcement, certain hardline elements seized on Putin’s statement to continue to propagate the narrative that Putin is a protector of religious values and morals. Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Security Council Dmitry Medvedev stated on January 6 that Putin offered “the hand to Christian mercy” to Ukraine and that Ukraine rejected it because Ukraine lacks faith. Commander of the Chechen Akhmat Special Forces, Apti Alaudinov, responded to the ceasefire with glowing praise for Putin, whom he called a “true believing Christian,” noted that Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam, and accused Ukrainian “Satanism” of being the reason why Kyiv refused to accept the truce. Alaudinov‘s praise of the ceasefire on religious grounds is part of a specific and long-running Kremlin information operation that seeks to cater to various religious minority groups in the Russian Armed Forces by framing Ukraine as an immoral enemy whose lack of faith transcends offends Christians and Muslims alike.

Prominent Russian milbloggers continued to use their platforms to advocate for the eradication of Ukrainian cultural and ethnic identity. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) commander Alexander Khodakovsky claimed on January 6 that Russia and Ukraine share a “common gene pool” and “spiritual space” that Ukraine is destroying as the war continues. Khodakovsky’s statement is a clear rejection of the Ukrainian people as sovereign and distinct from Russia. Similarly, another prominent milblogger claimed that the idea of a Ukrainian ethnicity has never existed and was manufactured by Ukrainian “nationalists.” The milblogger invoked the concept of “Malorossiya”- the imperial Russian ideation of Ukrainian territory as entirely part of and subordinate to Russia. Another Russian war correspondent amplified the pre-February 24 fiction that Ukraine is oppressing Russian speakers and claimed that the war must continue in order to restore the Russian language to the “territory of the soon-to-be-former Ukraine.” These prominent and widely followed voices in the Russian information space continue to openly advocate for the dehumanization and destruction of the Ukrainian people. So long as the Kremlin continues to provide space for such voices as it ruthlessly censors views that stray from its own information lines, the intent behind Putin’s war remains clear.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian officials and milbloggers largely did not react to the US announcement of more than $3.75 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine.
  • Russian officials and milbloggers continued to respond negatively to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s January 5 ceasefire announcement as hostilities continued in Ukraine on January 6.
  • Certain hardline elements of the Russian information space seized on Putin’s statement to propagate the narrative that Putin is a protector of religious values.
  • Prominent Russian milbloggers continue to use their platforms to advocate for the eradication of Ukrainian cultural and ethnic identity.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Russian sources claimed that Russian forces made gains in Soledar as Russian offensive operations continued around Bakhmut and the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area.
  • Russian authorities and military leaders continue to face backlash for their responses to the December 31 Ukrainian strike on a Russian base in Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast.

Russian forces and occupation authorities are continuing to target Ukrainian children to consolidate social control in occupied territories.

Putin war aims unchanged but lacks manpower, morale -Pentagon, Reuters reports. “President Vladimir Putin’s aim of seizing Ukrainian territory has not changed, but Russian forces continue to suffer from military weaknesses including the amount of troops they have, the Pentagon said on Friday, as Washington hopes the latest record weapons package for Kyiv will help Ukraine retake territory occupied by Russia.

Putin has not given up his aims of dominating Ukraine and continuing to acquire Ukraine’s territory, said Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defence focusing on Russia and Ukraine. But the reality of Russian weaknesses, the Russian armed forces weaknesses has collided with those aims, Cooper said, adding that Russian troops also suffer from low morale.”

New Armored Vehicles Will Help Ukraine Take the Fight to Russia, The New York Times reports. “They will soon be covered in mud, riddled with shrapnel damage and under fire on Ukraine’s battlefields. But the three new types of armored vehicles offered to Ukraine this week signal that the Western allies are gearing up for another bloody year as the war enters a new phase of Ukrainian offensives against dug-in Russian forces.

Not surprisingly, the Ukrainian government is ecstatic: “The time of weapons taboo has passed,” the foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said in a Facebook post, welcoming the new lethal equipment. Russia is furious: The new vehicles are “another step toward an escalation of the Ukrainian conflict,” the embassy in Berlin decried in a statement.

And frontline troops are cynical, often complaining that while the allies are not letting them lose, they aren’t letting them win, either.

But the new weapons seem to mark a policy change in Washington, Paris and Berlin, giving more lethal support to the Ukrainian infantry, indicating less anxiety about Russian escalation and angling for more decisive Ukrainian victories in 2023.

The trilateral decision clarifies Western support for Ukraine for a potential offensive in the months to come, said Ulrich Speck, a German foreign policy analyst. And it signals Moscow that we’re not on the trajectory to peace negotiations soon. The decision also reflects a temperature change in major Western capitals and a reduction in the fear factor, a sense that a diminished Russia is less able or willing to escalate, Mr. Speck said.

The French AMX-10s, German Marders and the US M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles will enter the war on the heels of two successful Ukrainian offensives that pushed Russian forces from the country’s northeast and the south. The new vehicles, known as infantry, or armored, fighting vehicles, are almost certainly intended to spearhead any future attempts to push the Russians out of Ukraine. […]

The new equipment will be arriving just in time. After more than 10 months of bloody fighting, Ukraine’s Soviet-era vehicles that mirror the capabilities of the AMX, M2 and Marder have been slowly destroyed and damaged, according to Ukrainian troops and a US official.

But if not sent in large numbers, the recent armored additions will likely change little on the broader battlefield and add to Ukraines growing logistics burden, as Ukrainian mechanics struggle with a diverse fleet of vehicles that each have their own parts and ammunition requirements.

The trio of vehicles are not the first armored vehicles sent by the West to Ukraine, but they are arguably the most advanced, occupying a category of war machines that are not quite armored personnel carriers, though some can carry troops, and not quite tanks.

The AMX-10 has a 105-millimeter cannon. The M2 Bradley can be fitted with a 25-millimeter cannon and an anti-tank guided missile. The Marder is typically fitted with a 20-millimeter gun. The three different vehicles use different ammunition types, meaning more of a logistics headache for the Ukrainian troops using them. The French one runs on large tires; the others on treads.

But the Bradley and Marder can both carry troops, making them critical for any kind of future Ukrainian offensive operations against Russia’s defenses along a front line that stretches more than 600 miles and has, in recent weeks, mostly stabilized after being reinforced by newly mobilized troops.

Ukraine has been pressing its Western allies regularly for more sophisticated infantry equipment, including armored infantry fighting vehicles and top-of-the-line Western tanks, like the American Abrams and the German Leopard II. But Washington, Paris and Berlin have been cautious […].

American officials have argued that Ukraine has enough good tanks in its Soviet-era T-72s, though it is running short of ammunition for them. The Americans and Germans argue that to train Ukrainians to operate modern Leopard or Abrams tanks — and to maintain them in the field — would take many months. The logistics chain needed for a fuel-guzzling tank like the Abrams is also extensive, added a US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss tactical matters.

Currently, Ukrainian forces are using their Soviet-era tanks in more of a support role, keeping them protected behind the lines and employing their large main guns like artillery. They often rely on armored personnel carriers to move troops quickly in offensive maneuvers. […]

“It’s another step forward for Germany, which has been going one step at a time since Feb. 24,” said Ulrike Franke, a German defense expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Ukraine has been asking for these weapons since April, she said, but for Germany it was a self-imposed taboo. In Berlin, “we keep having these slightly absurd debates — offensive versus defensive, light versus heavy, modern versus old — and then a few months later we change our lines again, she said. It’s an important evolution, mostly in the German imagination, she said.

But it is also a bad look for the Franco-German relationship, she said, looking either like Berlin needs a push from Paris or that the two countries can’t work well together, with Mr. Macron pre-empting matters on his own.”

Russia prepares for escalation in February, asking for a new Minsk agreement, Ukrainska Pravda reported on 4 January, citing Suspilne. “Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, has said that Russia is getting ready for an escalation of the situation on the front line in February, while Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, is having meetings with Europeans and trying to persuade them to sign “peace deals” akin to Minsk-3 [a series of international agreements which sought to end the conflict in Donbas].

Danilov is sure that Ukraine will have powerful weapons at its disposal: “Sooner or later, we will have powerful tanks, completely different planes, and this will happen in the near future.”

Commander of Kyiv defence forces explains why it will be difficult for Russians to advance beyond the border with Belarus, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk, the Commander of Kyiv defence forces. “We have formed a group, which is ready to meet Russian forces with dignity on the border with Belarus. Kyiv Oblast has been quite prepared for possible new offensive: these are several lines around Kyiv with a total length of about 1,000 km, where a powerful defence system has been created based on fortification positions and long-term defensive structures; it will be impossible to pass through it easily.”

Pavliuk has noted that Russians would not be able to move past the Ukraine-Belarus border, as it is “full of rubble and minefields”. In addition, artillery fire, work of sniper groups and mobile fire groups is planned [to fire on – ed.] them, he said, adding that we do not plan to let them pass beyond the border.”

On Thursday, 5 January, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus said that personnel, weapons, military and special equipment of the Russian armed forces would continue to arrive in Belarus.”

Russia prepares for a new wave of mobilisation in January – General Staff, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “To maintain its offensive capabilities and replenish its losses, Russian forces continues to carry out mobilisation measures.

The military and political leadership of the Russian Federation is implementing measures to prevent the mass departure of men of conscription age abroad before the next wave of mobilisation, which is expected in January this year. A complete ban on crossing the state border for men of conscription age cannot be ruled out.”

Defence Minister Reznikov: There is no need for mass mobilisation in Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Defence Minister, has stated that there is no need to conduct a mass mobilisation in Ukraine yet, although the situation may change.

We are recruiting, and we are replenishing. Unfortunately, there are also losses. We are replenishing those losses in our combat brigades, and we are hiring particular specialists that we need for certain tasks, but I do not see the need for such a mass mobilisation as of today.”

Russia transfers another 50 military vehicles to Belarus, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus. “Another convoy with servicemen and military equipment, which are part of the RGT [regional grouping of troops, the joint force deployed by Russia and Belarus – ed.], has arrived in the Republic of Belarus. The convoy is currently being unloaded.

Belaruski Hajun noted that many Russian trucks that arrived in Belarus have the Z mark on them [a typical symbol that became strongly associated with Russian military aggression – ed.].

On  28 December, Serhii Deineko, the Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, reported that currently, Russia deployed a group of 10,200 troops in Belarus and that this number was not enough for an attack on Ukraine.

On 2 January, it was reported that Russia and Belarus extended the training of the regional joint force of the so-called Union State [Russia and Belarus] until at least 8 January.

On 5 January, the Belarusian Ministry of Defence asserted that personnel, weapons, military and special equipment of the Russian armed forces will continue to arrive in Belarus. The Belarusian army received another 34 armoured vehicles from Russia, which were sent to the Brest district of Belarus.”

Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council make a forecast for 2023: Ukrainian troops to launch an offensive, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Oleksii Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), anticipates the beginning of an “offensive war” for Ukraine in 2023.

 Danilov reports that the Ukrainian army will enjoy the supplies of weapons received from Western allies: M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, Marder armoured personnel carriers, Bastion armoured personnel carriers, AMX-10 RC armoured vehicles, Patriot air defence systems “and many other things – less public and not public at all.”

According to Danilov, “Ukraine’s missile and drone program” will have its own role on battlefields as well. The NSDC Secretary reiterated that Western weapons in the hands of Ukrainians had changed the course of the war in their favour.”

With false flag attack on churches on Christmas, Russia aims to put blame on Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk. “They intend to commit terrorist attacks outside churches, where there will be large crowds, and blame Ukrainian authorities and Ukrainian Army. We understand this, so we act preventively. We warn our people and explain to them the threat of such actions by Russian forces. Don’t believe a single word uttered by occupiers; if possible, refrain from attending church services in the areas where shelling continues because the occupier will use people as the target of terrorist attacks, said Vereshchuk.

According to the Vice PM, information about the intentions of Russian invaders to once again commit evil had been received from intelligence sources. The senior official urged Ukrainians to be especially vigilant during holidays.”

 

  1. Consequences and what to do? 

Martin Herem: We must be ready for the next phase of Russian aggression, ERR.ee reports. We naturally have to focus on Ukrainian victory right now, since this is the primary and inevitable goal on the way to securing a better future, Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) commander Lieutenant General Martin Herem writes. This is, however, only the first goal. Second, we have to be prepared for Russia’s next aggression against us in Estonia, against our allies and our values, Herem continues.

We are all waiting for the end of the war between Ukraine and Russia. It is widely believed that, in order to end the conflict, the Russian Federation must withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory. This includes eastern Ukraine and Crimea. This is what we all desire, and hope for.

We imagine that will transpire. But what will our situation then be? There are some circumstances which do not allow us to see the future in a too positive of a perspective. For now, let’s put aside the scenario whereby the [Russian] troops have physically left the territory of Ukraine, but Russia still has the ability to strike it from a distance. We imagine that the war will at least become “frozen” for some time, at the state borders as they were in 2014.

First of all, Russia has declared officially and publicly a large proportion of Ukraine as its own territory. No matter how wrong that is according to international law, Russia has repeatedly and publicly made this declaration: “This is a part of Russia, and we intend to defend it if necessary”. It is difficult to imagine what pretext Russia will give for ending hostilities in a situation where it no longer controls these territories. How would “powerful Russia” be able to given an account of such actions to its own people, plus demonstrate it to the West, its competitor? If Russia does not give up on these demands – and this is unlikely at the moment – then peace will be built on very weak foundations.

Second, the justification for the war has changed during its course. This is true both within the Russian leadership, in the media and in society. Whereas initially, the desire was to de-Nazify and demilitarize the “dangerous Ukraine” and was mainly related to the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, expressions of this kind are not used much anymore. We are instead hearing more and more about the “satanists” and “pedophiles” of NATO or the EU, which Russia is waging war against. This war has increasingly become a “crusade”, a struggle against a completely unacceptable and dangerous phenomenon, in relation to Russian culture and values. But how does the Russian leadership explain the loss of territory and the falling short of its values?

Third, the attitude towards Ukrainians as a nation has changed. Since the summer months, the Russian media has increasingly started to mock the suffering of the Ukrainian people (as opposed to its government). […]

Millions of Ukrainians are without electricity, but the [Russian] news pokes fun at the “fact” that Ukrainians do not know how to use generators or gas stoves, as a result causing house fires. Those people talk about Ukraine’s “killer generators” with a smirk on their faces. The TV shows suggest annihilating civilian infrastructure since it would force the Ukrainian population(!) to surrender. Otherwise, they would end up drowning in their own feces ,or die from an epidemic resulting from that, it is argued.

It was openly stated on one TV broadcast that if necessary, a whole generation of Ukrainians, millions, must be killed, so that Ukrainians would never again have a non-hostile attitude towards Russia. Step-by-step, an emotional justification for genocide is being created. However, at the same time, Ukrainians are conversely portrayed as a ridiculous, amorphous mass, which Russia could take down any time it chose to.

There are four more, still growing attitudes that could sustain the anger and hatred for decades. Tens of thousands of Russian citizens have lost their lives at the hands of Ukrainians, and because of Western support. However, this concerns the millions of family members and friends [of the deceased], who really believe that Russia’s enemies, i.e. Ukraine and the western countries that support it, are to blame for these losses.

Even more Russians have lost their health and well-being. Injured soldiers will continue to characterize the street scene and commemorate the (lost) war. In a grotesque way, the by-product of mobilization also appears here: Society is caught up in the hatred.

Against all this background, it must be emphasized that in Russia, the foolish decisions of generals and officials get criticized, rather than the government’s mistake in escalating the war from February 24. Furthermore, among those people who fled Russia, there are many who were not willing to go to war but were at the same time not necessarily opposed to the Russian government’s decisions to behave, as a country, as it does. The enmity sown by Vladimir Putin has found fertile ground. We hope that is not the case, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it can be any different.

Let us now imagine again a situation where troops from the Russian Federation have left Ukrainian soil. However, according to Russia (children’s) opinion, they would have left territory rightfully belonging to Russia. They left because the Ukrainians, who are a joke, and represent the decadent western values, and who received aid from the West, have somehow been able to kick out the “mighty Russia”.

The accompanying outcome is relatively substantial economic decline, isolation, the anger of the relatives of those who lost their lives in the war, and war invalids in the streets being a constant reminder of that loss, while Kyiv rules over territory declared Russian. There is no need to fantasize about what the motivation for Russia to demonstrate its military power somewhere and some day might be; to take revenge. After all, everyone knows the efforts made by the three Baltic states in supporting Ukraine, as well as those by Poland, the U.K., the U.S….but the latter are big countries. […]”

 

Hans Petter Midttun: On 15 December, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that Ukraine needs 300 tanks, approximately 700 infantry fighting vehicles and 500 howitzers to be able to achieve the next major objective.

Next major objective. Not defeat and evict Russian forces from Ukraine.

While I applaud the decision to deliver an unknown number of French AMX-10s, 40 German Marders and 50 US M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, the decision must be seen in the context of the stated requirement. The last pledge only provides less than 20% of the infantry fighting vehicles, 10% of the howitzers, and none of the main battle tanks needed to achieve the one major objective.

The decision not to deliver M-1 Abrams or the German Leopard-1 and Leopard-2 is slightly bizarre at this stage. Enabling Ukraine to conduct a “limited offensive”, while denying it the possibility to evict the Russian forces over fear of escalation makes no sense after the war has escalated continuously for 9 years. Less so after having witnessed Ukraine cross all of Russia’s “red lines” over the last 10 months without any repercussions. More so as increasingly more countries grow to realise that peace is not possible as long as Russia occupy parts of Ukraine.

The deliberations being made – whether it is about concern over the time needed to operate and maintain western tanks or whether the weapon is defensive or offensive in nature – are indicative of the Western decision-making process. If the training had started when the deliberations began 10 months ago Ukraine would be able to both operate and maintain most systems operated by the NATO member states today. This includes the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter aircraft.

While the deliberation itself is crucially important for governments, parliaments, ministries and agencies recently awakened from decades of “peace in our time” it still reflects a lack of urgency as the world’s second-greatest military power is waging war against the West. Equally important, it shows that the Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsular and parts of Donbas in 2014 did not serve as a wake-up call. Nine years later, the West is still struggling to catch up with the “new” security and defence realities.

While I remain convinced that the scale and scope of Western defence aid will continue to evolve, a greater focus on timing needs to be introduced into the defence planning process.

The decision to supply AMX-10s, German Marders and US M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles will most likely have limited impact on the battlefield. They will probably not arrive in time to support a winter offensive giving Russia much-needed time to regenerate and build new military formations.

The timing – the decision to start training after the decision to supply the weapon systems – might also indicate that Ukraine’s ability to conduct combined arms operations still lies 9-12 months into the future. In the meantime, it will still need to rely on massive artillery fire to be able to break through the Russian lines. Consequently, it will still need massive support of artillery systems and ammunition that the US and European defence industries are unable to produce in the required numbers.

When that happens – maybe 9-12 months from now – Ukraine might be needing replacements for the AMX-10s, German Marders and US M2 Bradley that will be delivered in the next couple of months.

As previously argued, Russia is not the only one suffering from flawed logistics and decision-making processes.

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