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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 351: “We have freedom. Give us wings to defend it.” – Zelenskyy

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 351: “We have freedom. Give us wings to defend it.” – Zelenskyy

“We have freedom. Give us wings to defend it.” – Zelenskyy in London. Expected Russian offensive to target Donbas, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia regions – Ukraine security chief Danilov. Russian forces have regained the initiative in Ukraine and have begun their next major offensive in Luhansk Oblast.

Daily overview — Summary report, February 9

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, February 9, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. February 8, 2023. Source: ISW.

 

Day 350 of the russian full-scale invasion continues.

In an attempt to take full control of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the adversary continues to focus its main efforts on offensive operations on Kup’yans’k, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Novopavlivka axes.
During the day of February 8, russian occupant forces launched 1x missile attack on the civilian infrastructure of Sloviansk (Donetsk oblast) and 37x air strikes. In addition, the enemy launched more than 40x MLRS attacks, in particular, at the civilian infrastructure of Beryslav and Komyshany (Kherson oblast).
The threat of further russian air and missile strikes on civilian targets across Ukraine remains high.
Kharkiv Battle Map. February 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
Volyn, Polissya, Sivershchyna, and Slobozhanshchyna axes: no changes, no signs of the formation of offensive groups were found. Russian invaders shelled the vicinities of more than 30x settlements, including Zaruts’ke, Vovkivka, Sokhany, Pavlivka, Yunakivka, Sadky, Miropillya (Sumy oblast), Udy, Chervona Zorya, Krasne, Lyptsi, Starytsya, Verkhnya Pysarivka, Ambarne, Fyholivka, Dvorichna, and Zapadne (Kharkiv oblast). The enemy launched air strikes near Kozacha Lopan’ and Oliinykove (Kharkiv oblast).
Kup’yans’k and Lyman axes: the adversary shelled the vicinities over 15x settlements. Among them are Kup’yans’k, Kurylivka, Kyslivka, Tabaivka, Berestove (Kharkiv oblast), Novoselivs’ke, Stel’makhivka, Kreminna, Kuz’myne, Dibrova, and Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast).
Donetsk Battle Map. February 8, 2023. Source: ISW
Bakhmut axis: Bilohorivka, Rozdolivka, Bakhmut, Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Mykolaivka, Klishchiivka, Ozaryanivka, Oleksandro-Shul’tyne, and Vesele (Donetsk oblast) were shelled among others. In total, more than 20x settlements were targeted. The enemy launched air strikes near Ivanivske.
Avdiivka and Novopavlivka axes: Avdiivka, Vodyane, Pervomais’ke, Heorhiivka, Mar’inka, Pobjeda, Novomykhailivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, and Neskuchne (Donetsk oblast) were shelled. The occupant forces’ air strikes were reported near Avdiivka and Mar’inka.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. February 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia axis: Vremivka, Novopil’ (Donetsk oblast), Ol’hivs’ke, Malynivka, Hulyaipole, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, Novoandriivka, Shcherbaky, and Kam’yans’ke (Zaporizhzhia oblast) came under fire.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. February 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
Kherson axis: the vicinities of settlements of Zmiivka, Beryslav, Shlyakhove, L’vove, Tyahynka, Antonivka, Yantarne, Berehove, Veletens’ke, and Kherson were the targets of enemy fire.
In Novotroits’ke (Kherson oblast), the occupiers are subjecting civilians to filtration measures. First of all, the measures concern those who had worked in Ukrainian public institutions and has been refusing to cooperate with the russian occupation administration and reporting for work. The invaders also threaten that those failing to receive russian passports by March will automatically be subject to filtration measures.
In the settlements of Hromivka, Chaplynka, Mala Kardashynka, Zelene, Chulakivka, and Novovolodymyrivka (Kherson oblast), russian occupation forces conduct daily searches, terrorize, and rob the local residents. They steal household appliances, phones, and any valuables.
During the day of February 8, the Ukrainian Air Force launched 21x air strikes on the concentrations of personnel and military equipment of the occupiers, and 3x air strikes on the positions of anti-aircraft missile systems. In the meantime, Ukrainian artillery and missile troops hit 2x enemy command posts, 2x concentrations of manpower, 1x ammunition depot, and 1x fuel and lubricants depot.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russian military strikes Chernihiv Oblast with air-to-surface missiles. On 8 February, at 3:40 p.m., an air alert sounded in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was meeting UK officials during his visit to Britain, Russian military jets targeted an industrial building in Semenivka town in Chernihiv Oblast with two air-to-surface missiles.

Expected Russian offensive to target Donbas, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia regions – Ukraine security chief Danilov. In his interview with Reuters on 7 February, Ukraine’s national security chief Oleksii Danilov said that Kyiv expects Russia to include the northeastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia oblasts as targets of an anticipated offensive aimed at reclaiming the initiative in its year-old invasion.
President Zelenskyy spoke to the UK Parliament, “We know Russia will lose. We know victory will change the world, and this will be a change the world needed. The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most important victory of our lifetime.” Zelenskyy and the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the Bovington Camp military base, where they met Ukrainian troops being trained on the Challenger 2 tanks and other armored vehicles.

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

  • The weather continues to play a significant role in the course of Russia’s war in Ukraine. With the ground frozen, there has likely been little change in cross country mobility (CCM) conditions in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks.
  • On 08 February 2023, surface temperatures were around 0 degrees Celsius; over the coming week, forecasts suggest soil temperature increases and snow melt are likely to deteriorate CCM across the Donbas.
  • CCM is likely to be at its worst, with extremely muddy conditions, over mid- to late-March. Commanders on both sides will highly likely seek to avoid scheduling major offensives at such times. However, perceived political or operational opportunities can override such concerns, as demonstrated by Russia launching its invasion in late-February 2022.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of Russian Army. Source. 

Humanitarian 

The best way to help Ukraine if you don’t know where to start

Russian athletes should be banned from 2024 Olympics, Paris Mayor says. The Russian team should not be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games in France next year if Russia continues its war against Ukraine, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on 7 February 2023.

Russia buys US-made components for electronic warfare systems through Chinese, Turkish intermediaries – Russian media

Ukraine sent a team of 87 rescue workers equipped with Starlinks and drones to Türkiye after an earthquake left thousands dead.

Environmental

Around 20 mini power plants being built in Ukraine after Russian missile strikes. About twenty small power plants are being built in Ukraine, and there are prospects that they will be completed in the next six months, Andriy Gerus, chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Energy, Housing and Utilities, told in an interview with LIGA.net.

Russia fired 700 missiles and drones at Ukraine’s power system, killed 98 power engineers – MP. From October 10 to the end of January, Russia fired about 700 cruise missiles and Shahed-136 kamikaze drones at the Ukrainian power system, Andriy Gerus, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Energy, Housing and Utilities, told Liga.net.

US indicts another associate of sanctioned Russian oligarch Vekselberg Vladimir Voronchenko is accused of facilitating more than $4 million in payments for the maintenance of four properties owned by Vekselberg.

Zelenskyy lashes out at ‘rumours’ that he’s about to fire his wartime defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov. President calls for an end to ‘pseudo-information’ after a corruption scandal hits the defence ministry.

Support

Germany sends more Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. On 8 February, the government of Germany said it would send another batch of military aid to Ukraine to help the country to repel Russian aggression. Two self-propelled anti-aircraft guns GEPARD, five border protection vehicles, 29 generators, six load-handling trucks, and six mobile antenna mast systems were included in the $2,3 bn military aid package announced by Germany.

UK imposes new sanctions on Russia during Zelenskyy’s visit. On 8 February, the UK announced a new round of sanctions against Russia to “target Putin’s war machine” and Russia’s financial networks. The restrictions hit six entities providing military equipment, such as drones, for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions also targeted eight individuals and one entity connected to nefarious financial networks that “help maintain wealth and power amongst Kremlin elites,” the government said in a statement as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Britain.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1623379838294798336

UK to extend Ukraine military training to pilots and marines, announce additional sanctions against Russia. The UK steps up its delivery of lethal aid into Ukraine, and prepares to train fighter jet pilots and marines, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Britain on February 8, the British government reported in a press release.

During the 2023 State of the Union address, US President Joe Biden promised that the United States will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes to repel the Russian invasion.

New Developments 

Putin approved supply of missiles that shot down MH17 in 2014, investigators say – media. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by a missile has convincing evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally signed off on a decision to allow the Russian missile system into Ukraine, Dutch prosecutors have said, according to The Telegraph.

German Chancellor Scholz criticizes “public competition” to send arms to Ukraine as harming West’s unity. German Chancellor Scholz criticizes “public competition” to send arms to Ukraine as harming West’s unity. In his address to the Bundestag lower house of the German Parliament, Chancellor Olaf Scholz criticized the public competition among some countries over who can deliver more and better weapons to Ukraine, saying it harmed unity among allies, Reuters reported. Sepaking of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Scholz described it as a “man-made” disaster, which has sparked the “biggest migration movement since World War II,” according to DW.

Ukraine President Zelenskyy to visit UK on Feb. 8, Downing Street says – CNN. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will on 8 February make his first visit to the United Kingdom since the Russian invasion of his country, Downing Street said, according to CNN. It will be only the second visit of Zelenskyy outside Ukraine since Russia re-invaded the country in February 2022.

EU to launch platform to fight Russian, Chinese disinformation. The European Union will launch a new platform to counter disinformation campaigns by Russia and China amid growing worries, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrelll said on 7 January, Politico reported. A so-called Information Sharing and Analysis Center within the EU’s foreign services —the European External Action Service (EEAS) — will seek to track information manipulation by foreign actors and coordinate with the 27 EU countries and the wider community of NGOs.

Ukraine lags behind Türkiye, Serbia, Albania in readiness for EU accession – report. Although the EU Commissioners that arrived in Kyiv for the EU-Ukraine Summit on 3 February brought a clear message that Ukraine will be part of the EU, the EU’s regular assessment of Ukraine’s progress on the path to Eurointegration shows that much has to be done.

Assessment

On the war.

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

Russian forces have regained the initiative in Ukraine and have begun their next major offensive in Luhansk Oblast. The pace of Russian operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line in western Luhansk Oblast has increased markedly over the past week, and Russian sources are widely reporting that conventional Russian troops are attacking Ukrainian defensive lines and making marginal advances along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border, particularly northwest of Svatove near Kupiansk and west of Kreminna.[1] Geolocated combat footage has confirmed Russian gains in the Dvorichne area northwest of Svatove.[2] Russian military command additionally appears to have fully committed elements of several conventional divisions to decisive offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line, as ISW previously reported.[3] Elements of several regiments of the 144th and 3rd Motor Rifle Division (20th Combined Arms Army, Western Military District) and a regiment of the 90th Tank Division (Central Military District), supported by elements of the 76th Airborne Division and unspecified Southern Military District elements, are conducting offensive operations along the entire Svatove-Kreminna line and are reportedly advancing against Ukrainian defenses.[4]

The commitment of significant elements of at least three major Russian divisions to offensive operations in this sector indicates the Russian offensive has begun, even if Ukrainian forces are so far preventing Russian forces from securing significant gains. The Russian offensive likely has not yet reached its full tempo; Russian command has not yet committed elements of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division (1st Guards Tank Army, Western Military District), which deployed to Luhansk Oblast in January after deploying to Belarus.[5] Russian forces are gradually beginning an offensive, but its success is not inherent or predetermined. While Russian forces in Luhansk Oblast now have the initiative (in that Russian forces are setting the terms of battle, ending the period of Ukrainian initiative from August 2022), the full commitment of these forces could lead to their eventual culmination along the Svatove-Kreminna line without achieving their objectives of capturing all of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. That culmination would likely provide a window of opportunity for Ukrainian forces to exploit with their own counteroffensive.[6]

Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) People’s Militia command reportedly assumed control over a Russian artillery battalion, likely in support of an effort to strengthen degraded DNR forces ahead of an imminent Russian offensive. A Russian source published a video appeal from mobilized personnel of the 640th howitzer battalion from Saratov Oblast on February 8 in which they stated that Russian military officials sent them to join DNR units and that DNR commanders are now trying to transfer them to infantry assault units.[7] ISW has not previously observed Russian personnel subordinated to a DNR formation and this claim, if true, would suggest that Russian forces may be reinforcing degraded DNR formations with mobilized personnel from Russia itself because DNR formations are unable to replenish losses themselves. The reported subordination of Russian military personnel to DNR formations may portend a Russian effort to prepare DNR formations for an expanded role in their zone of responsibility along the western outskirts of Donetsk City, and the transfer of remaining conventional Russian forces from this area to the Bakhmut area and Luhansk Oblast, where Russian forces are conducting an increased pace of offensive operations.

The reported subordination of Russian mobilized personnel to DNR formations could also suggest that Russian military command may be continuing efforts to integrate ad hoc DNR and Luhansk People‘s Republic (LNR) formations into the Russian Armed Forces, but will likely face significant difficulties. The Russian Southern Military District formally controls the armed forces of the DNR and LNR through the 1st and 2nd Army Corps, respectively. However, many DNR and LNR formations remain ad hoc units and are not fully integrated into Russian MoD structures. ISW previously assessed that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) appears to be rushing to integrate irregular conventional forces into a more traditional structure and may be creating new formations from DNR/LNR units in support of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s proposals to create new maneuver divisions.[8] Russian forces would likely need to temporarily remove these irregular forces from frontline positions to integrate them into new Russian formations, a prospect that would not be operationally sound ahead of increased Russan offensive operations in Ukraine. Russian officials therefore may be attempting to gradually integrate these irregular formations through subordinating mobilized personnel under them without disrupting the command structures and existing personnel operating at front line positions. The mobilized personnel of the 640th howitzer battalion claimed that DNR command is retraining assault units for artillery purposes yet still committing their artillery battalion to infantry roles, indicating a breakdown in command and the proper utilization of personnel among DNR formations.[9] The Russian MoD will likely struggle to correct the poor effectiveness of DNR/LNR forces through the rapid integration of Russian personnel.

Russian officials continue to propose measures to prepare Russia’s military industry for a protracted war in Ukraine while also likely setting further conditions for sanctions evasion. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin stated on February 8 that the Russian government will subsidize investment projects for the modernization of enterprises operating in the interests of the Russian military and will allocate significant funds for manufacturing new military equipment.[10] Mishustin also stated that the Russian government would extend benefits to Russian entrepreneurs who support the Russian military, including extended payment periods on rented federal property.[11] The Kremlin likely intends these measures to augment its overarching effort to gradually prepare Russia’s military industry for a protracted war in Ukraine while avoiding a wider economic mobilization that would create further domestic economic disruptions and corresponding discontent.[12]

Russian officials also likely proposed these measures in coordination with a recent decree excluding Russian officials from requirements to list income declarations and proposals to repeal federal procurement procedures. The Kremlin may be creating a system of subsidies and benefits designed to have little oversight or accounting. This lack of oversight and accounting would likely allow Russian firms to better evade international sanctions regimes targeting Russia’s military industry.[13] The United Kingdom announced a new list of sanctioned entities on February 8 focused on Russia’s military industry.[14] ISW previously reported that 82% of Iranian-made drones downed in Ukraine had chips, semiconductors, and other components from the United States, suggesting that Russia and Iran are likely exploiting loopholes to transfer Western-produced arms components to Russia via proxy actors.[15] The Kremlin’s effort to prepare the Russian military industry for a protracted war in Ukraine in part relies on the ability of Russian military industry to have consistent access to multiple secure supply chains of key foreign components that it otherwise cannot produce.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces have regained the initiative in Ukraine and have begun their next major offensive in Luhansk Oblast.
  • The commitment of significant elements of at least three major Russian divisions to offensive operations in this sector indicates the Russian offensive has begun, even if Ukrainian forces are so far preventing Russian forces from securing significant gains.
  • Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) People’s Militia command reportedly assumed control over a Russian artillery battalion, likely in support of an effort to strengthen degraded DNR forces ahead of an imminent Russian offensive.
  • The reported subordination of Russian mobilized personnel to DNR formations could also suggest that Russian military command may be continuing efforts to integrate ad hoc DNR and Luhansk People‘s Republic (LNR) formations into the Russian Armed Forces, but will likely face significant difficulties.
  • Russian officials continue to propose measures to prepare Russia’s military industry for a protracted war in Ukraine while also likely setting further conditions for sanctions evasion.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks around Bakhmut and continued making tactical advances.
  • Russian forces continued offensive actions northwest of Svatove and intensified offensive operations near Kreminna.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area and western Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces reportedly continue small-scale skirmishes and reconnaissance activity in the Dnipro River delta and on the Kinburn Spit.
  • The Wagner Group is reportedly resorting to more coercive tactics in its prison recruitment campaign, possibly in response to the campaign’s declining effectiveness.

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