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Russo-Ukrainian war, day 720: Ukraine shifts to defensive operation across frontline; encirclement of Avdiivka looms

Ukrainian troops have switched from offensive to defensive operations aiming to exhaust Russian troops, Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said. Ukraine has transferred one of its best brigades to reinforce the besieged city of Avdiivka, yet the threat of encirclement is rising.
Russo-Ukrainian war, day 720: Ukraine shifts to defensive operation across frontline; encirclement of Avdiivka looms

Exclusive

Aerial bombs enable Russian advances on Avdiivka; encirclement looms. Ukraine has transferred one of its best brigades to reinforce the besieged city, but critics warn the situation is getting worse.

Military

Syrskyi: Ukraine shifts to defensive operation, aiming to exhaust Russian troops. According to Ukraine’s Army Chief, the most intense battles are unfolding in the Kupiansk direction of Kharkiv Oblast.

ISW reports Ukrainian gains near Kreminna, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia; Russian advances near Kreminna, Kupiansk. As fighting continues across the frontlines in southern and eastern Ukraine, ISW reports confirmed Ukrainian advances near Donetsk, Kreminna, and in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, against Russian movements near Kupiansk and Kreminna.

Russia could launch major offensive after March “elections”, Borrelll says. “Another major Russian offensive could be starting in the months after the Russian ‘elections’ in March,” Borrelll stated.

As of 12 Feb 2024, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

      • Personnel: 395990 (+790)
      • Tanks: 6416 (+10)
      • APV: 11977 (+21)
      • Artillery systems: 9481 (+6)
      • MLRS: 981
      • Anti-aircraft systems: 666
      • Aircraft: 332
      • Helicopters: 325
      • UAV: 7302 (+45)
      • Cruise missiles : 1882 (+1)
      • Warships/boats: 24
      • Submarines: 1
      • Vehicles and fuel tanks: 12599 (+7)

Intelligence and technology

UK intel: Russia’s proposed 65 and 70 military contract age limit would reduce mobilization requirements. Russia bids to cut mobilization drives by introducing a draft law to hike age limits on military contracts from 51 to 65 for troops and to 70 for officers, binding them for life service, per UK intelligence.

Ukraine intel: Russia buys Starlink terminals for war in “Arab countries”. Despite Elon Musk’s denial of direct or indirect sales to Russia, intercepted conversations point to possible acquisition of SpaceX’s Starlink terminals from Arab countries by the Russian military.

International

US Senate approves foreign aid bill, including $ 61 bn for Ukraine, but House may reject it. The Democratic-led US Senate overcame a key hurdle by passing President Biden’s $95 billion foreign aid proposal, including $61 billion for Ukraine, though House Republicans have voiced disapproval over the lack of border security funds ahead of the bill’s uncertain future.

Biden calls for swift House approval on Ukraine, Israel aid bill. “The costs of inaction are rising every day, especially in Ukraine,” US President Joe Biden said.

Estonia: Russia preparing for military confrontation with West. Estonia spy agency chief cites doubling of Russian forces on NATO frontier in warning of anticipated Kremlin confrontation within the next decade, deeming military buildup key to deterrence.

Humanitarian and social impact

Dnipro authorities evacuate hospital, close schools after Russian attacks on energy infrastructure. Overnight, Ukrainian air defense shot down 16 out of 23 Russian Shahed-136/131 UAVs launched at Ukraine, with ten drones downed in the Dnipro district.

Russian attacks on Kharkiv Oblast kill at least three civilians this morning. Russian attacks killed at least three civilians in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast, and injured three more, per local authorities.

Russia plans to suspend membership in OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Russian parliament, described the OSCE PA as “an absolutely dependent, politicized organization dancing to Washington’s tune.”

Poland probes grain dumping by Polish protestors from Ukrainian trucks. An investigation is underway after Polish farmers spilled some three tons of Ukrainian grain to protest imports, drawing condemnation and a call for accountability from Kyiv.

New developments

Polish farmers announce complete blockade of Ukraine border starting 20 February. The blockade will not be limited to border crossings but will also include communication hubs and access roads to rail transfer stations and seaports, RFM FM reported.

LRT: Pro-Russian cyber group targets Lithuanian military system. The Lithuanian Armed Forces detected a suspicious login to its critical ILIAS military system, LRT reported.

Read our earlier daily review here

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