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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 274: Russia launches 70 missiles on Ukraine, Ukraine’s air defense shoots down 51

Russia launches 70 missiles on Ukraine and Ukraine’s air defense shots down 51. Ukrenergo: no reason to panic, electricity is gradually being restored. Water supply suspended in Kyiv.

Daily overview — Summary report, November 24

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, November 24, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW.

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“Over the past day, units of the Defense Forces have repelled attacks by occupiers in the areas of Andriivka, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Ozaryanivka, Opytne, and Yakovlivka settlements in the Donetsk oblast.

Over the past day, Russian forces launched 78 missiles , 23 airstrikes and more than 70 MLRS attacks on the positions of our troops and populated areas.

[During the day, the Russian occupiers inflicted massive strikes on the objects of the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. According to preliminary information, up to 65 Kh-101 cruise missiles were used, 51 of which were shot down by the Defense Forces of Ukraine. Residential buildings and Combined Heat and Power (CHPs), Thermal Power Stations (TPPs) and substations in the city of Kyiv, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Lviv and Zaporizhzhia oblasts were hit. The information is being clarified.]

In the course of a massive attack on residential buildings and energy infrastructure in the city Kyiv, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Lviv, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Donetsk oblasts, the Russian occupation forces launched 67 cruise missiles and up to 10 Lancet attack UAVs. 51 missiles and 5 specified drones of the Defense Forces of Ukraine were shot down.

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.

  • In the Siversky direction , Russian forces shelled the areas of the settlements of Hai and Khrinivka in the Chernihiv oblast and Basivka, Seredyna Buda and Yasna Polyana in the Sumy oblast with MLRS and artillery.
Kharkiv Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Slobozhanskyi direction , in the border areas of the Belgorod region, Russian forces are holding units of its troops to conduct demonstration actions. It periodically fires mortars and artillery at the positions of the Defense Forces, as well as the areas of the settlements of Bologhivka, Veterynarne, Hlyboke, Dvorichne, Izbytske, Krasne, Kudiivka, Ohirtseve, and Strilecha of the Kharkiv oblast.
  • Russian forces are defending in the Kupyansk and Lyman directions . Cynically shelling from tanks, mortars and artillery, in particular, the areas of the settlements of Berestove, Vilshana, Vyshneve, Kyslivka, Krokhmalne, Tabaivka of the Kharkiv oblast; Makiivka, Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka and Ploschanka in Luhansk oblast and Terny, Torske and Yampolivka in Donetsk oblast.
Donetsk Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions , Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on conducting offensive operations. Fired from tanks and the entire range of artillery in the areas of the settlements of Avdiivka, Andriivka, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Berkhivka, Verkhnyokamianske, Vyimka, Vodyane, Hryhorivka, Klishchiivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Nevelske, Pervomaiske, Rozdolivka and Yakovlivka.
  • Russian forces are defending in the Novopavlivka and Zaporizhzhia directions . Shelling of the areas of the settlements of Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Novopil, Prechystivka and Shakhtarske in the Donetsk oblast and Hulyaipole, Zeleny Hai, Dorozhnyanka, Orihiv, Poltavka, Stepnohirsk, Temyrivka and Chervone in Zaporizhzhia oblast were recorded.
Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson and Mykolaiv Battle Map. November 23, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson directions , Russian forces do not stop artillery shelling of the positions of our troops and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River. Used MLRS and artillery for shelling the settlements of Antonivka, Beryslav, Veletenski, Bilozerka, Dniprovske, Dudchany, Kachkarivka, Novooleksandrivka, Ponyativka, Stanislav, Tokarivka, Shyroka Balka of the Kherson region and the city of Kherson, conducting positional defence. Russian forces are improving the logistical support of advanced units and improving the fortification equipment of the positions in the specified directions.

Work on the manufacture of reinforced concrete structures is actively underway in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Finished products are exported to the city of Armyansk.

The occupying authorities instructed the medical staff of the hospitals of the temporarily occupied Horlivka of the Donetsk oblast to seize the documents of the deceased mercenaries of the private military company “Wagner”, not to conduct a forensic examination of the bodies, and to pack them in sanitary bags for transportation. The destination is currently unknown.

[Russian forces continue to suffer losses . So, over the past few days, more than 30 seriously wounded servicemen from the northwestern outskirts of the city.]

[In the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk oblast, the occupiers continue to forcibly resettle pro-Ukrainian residents . So, under the pretext of counter-subversive actions, during the past week, about 20 local farmers were taken from the settlements of Denezhnykovo and Shtormove in the Luhansk oblast.]

[It has been confirmed that the Defense Forces destroyed Russian manpower and military equipment in the previous days. Thus, in the Luhansk oblast, an ammunition depot was hit, about 50 occupants were killed and up to 50 were wounded. In the Zaporizhzhia oblast, Russian forces lost up to 15 people killed and up to 20 wounded.]

During the past 24 hours, the Air Force of the Defense Forces struck 6 areas where Russian personnel, weapons and military equipment were concentrated and 2 anti-aircraft missile systems.

Units of the Ukrainian missile forces and artillery hit 4 areas of concentration of personnel and weapons and military equipment, an air defence position and another important enemy object.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst. ~

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russia launches 70 missiles on Ukraine on 23 November, and Ukraine’s air defence shots down 51 , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “ On 23 November, the terrorist state once again carried out a massive missile attack on critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine using strategic aircraft and vessels of the Black Sea Fleet. 10 Tu-95MS missile-carrying jets launched missiles from the Volgodonsk district of Rostov Oblast [Russia] and the Caspian Sea, as well as from two small missile-carrying boats from the Black Sea.

The Air Force reported that Russia has launched around 70 Kh-101/Kh-555 and Kalibr cruise missiles over Ukraine. Ukraine’s anti-aircraft defence systems and forces destroyed 51 Russian missiles. Ukraine’s defence forces also destroyed five Russian Lancet UAVs in the south of Ukraine .”

31 missiles were launched at Kyiv, 21 were shot down, and several critical infrastructure facilities were hit, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “ Vitalii Klychko, the Mayor of Kyiv, has reported that 31 missiles were fired on Kyiv on the afternoon of 23 November. Ukrainian defenders managed to shoot down 21 of them, but several critical infrastructure facilities have been damaged. […]

We have had several hits on critical infrastructure facilities, and now part of the city is without power. There is no water supply. Representatives of Kyivvodokanal [the capital’s water supply company] and Kyivenergo [the capital’s energy company] are working to restore both water and electricity supplies. 11 people were injured, 10 people were taken to hospital, including one child. As yet we have no information on fatalities .”

Explosions sounded in Crimea on Wednesday: occupying administration reports drone attack , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Suspilne.Crimea, Ukrainska Pravda.Strichka andRIA Novosti. “ Explosions occurred in the cities of Sevastopol and Evpatoria in Crimea. The occupying administration reported about a drone attack and activation of the air defence system. As reported by Suspilne.Crimea, the residents of the occupied cities of Sevastopol and Evpatoria have heard the explosions .”

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

  • In the last two weeks, Russia has likely redeployed major elements of the VDV (airborne forces) to the Donetsk and Luhansk fronts in the Donbas. From September to October, most of the severely weakened VDV units were dedicated to the defence of Russian-held territory west of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
  • Some VDV units have likely been reinforced with mobilised reservists. Although these poorly trained personnel will dilute VDV’s supposedly elite capability, Russia will likely still allocate these units to sectors deemed especially important.
  • Potential operational tasks for the VDV include supporting the defence of the Kremina-Svatove area in Luhansk Oblast or reinforcing offensive operations against the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut
  • Since September, Russia has likely launched hundreds of Iranian-manufactured uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine. These have been a mixture of one way attack (OWA) UAVs and more traditional reusable armed systems.
  • Russia has largely used these weapons against tactical military targets and the Ukrainian electricity grid. However, recently Russian commanders likely also wanted Iranian-sourced UAVs to prioritise medical facilities as targets of opportunity , and strike them with guided munitions if identified.
  • Russia likely conceived of the UAV campaign to make up for its severe shortage of cruise missiles , but the approach has had limited success. Most UAVs launched have been neutralised.
  • No OWA UAVs strikes have been publicly reported since around 17 November 2022. Russia has likely very nearly exhausted its current stock but will probably seek resupply . Russia can probably procure UAVs from overseas more rapidly than it can manufacture new cruise missiles domestically.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 24 November , the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

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

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

  • Personnel – about 85720 (+310),
  • Tanks – 2898 (+1),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 5837 (+7),
  • Artillery systems – 1889 (+2),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 395 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 209 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 278 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 261 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 4400 (+4),
  • Vessels/boats – 16 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 1547 (+10),
  • Special equipment – 161 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 531 (+51)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Avdiyivka, Bakhmut and Lyman directions.

The Russian military has significantly depleted its arsenal of high-precision missiles but will likely still be able to attack Ukrainian critical infrastructure at scale in the near term , the ISW reports, citing the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov . “Russia has only 119 Iskanders missiles, 13 percent of its initial February 2022 arsenal.

Reznikov’s figures also show that Russian forces have significantly depleted other key high-precision weapons systems with only 229 Kalibr missiles (45 percent of the initial February 2022 stock), 150 Kh-155 missiles (50 percent of the initial February 2022 stock), and 120 Kh-22/32 missiles (32 percent of the initial February 2022 stock) remaining. Reznikov’s figures show that Russian forces have substantially depleted stocks of 3M-55 “Onyx”, S-300, Kh-101, Kh-35, and Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles as well.”

Humanitarian 

DTEK summed up the consequences of a new large-scale attack by the Russians on the energy sector , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing DTEK. “ Over the past two months, this is already the 14th terrorist attack by Russia on the energy enterprises of DTEK Energo. As a result of the previous attacks, 22 energy workers were injured, and three were killed. Rescuers were also injured .”

Ukrenergo: no reason to panic, electricity is gradually being restored , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ukrenergopress service. “ On Wednesday, 23 November, 70 missiles were launched against Ukraine, 51 of which were shot down. Sadly, some energy infrastructure facilities have been struck, causing emergency blackouts in all regions of Ukraine, Ukrenergo added.

Ukrenergo remarked that due to significant damage, frost and rain with snow, restoration works in some regions may take longer. Despite this, there is no reason to panic since the power company has clear plans and protocols in place, which are being followed at the moment.

Critical infrastructure facilities will be the first to be supplied with electricity: water channels, district heating companies, hospitals, train stations, etc. In some regions, they are already being supplied with power .”

Mayor does not rule out an evacuation of some of Kyiv’s population: “Toughest winter since World War II” , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Bild. “ Vitalii Klychko, the Mayor of Kyiv, is not ruling out that some residents of the Ukrainian capital may have to be evacuated if the electricity supply situation gets even worse and temperatures plummet.

Due to Russia’s missile attacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure facilities and the need to save electricity, the mayor said that “the worst winter since the Second World War” awaits the citizens, because the Ukrainian capital has not experienced such a “terrible winter” since then.

Municipal services are being forced to turn off the electricity in certain areas every few hours, otherwise, the power system will be overloaded, and a total blackout may follow.

We must also prepare for the worst-case scenario. This could happen if there are widespread power outages and even colder temperatures. Then we will have to evacuate some of [the residents of] the city, but we don’t want it to come to that !”

Water supply suspended in Kyiv – Kyiv Mayor , Ukrainska Pravda reports. “ Vitalii Klychko , the Mayor of Kyiv, has reported that the supply of running water has been suspended in the entire city as a result of Russian attacks. The water supply has been suspended in all of Kyiv as a result of the attacks. Kyivvodokanal [Kyiv Waterworks] engineers are working to restore it as promptly as possible.”

An infrastructure facility in the city of Kyiv has been struck as a result of a Russian attack on the afternoon of 23 November. A two-storey building has been damaged, killing at least one person and injuring another one .”

Another 36 Ukrainians released from Russian captivity , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Andrii Yermak, Head of the Office of the President. “ Another exchange of prisoners of war was carried out. 36 of our people, one civilian and 35 military, were brought back. The guys who defended Mariupol and were on Azovstal, as well as National Guardsmen who were captured at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the first days of the invasion, are among those released.

In total, 22 National Guardsmen, 8 border guards, 4 Navy servicemen, and one guy from the Armed Forces were released. Unfortunately, the released civilian’s leg was amputated. »

OHCHR recorded 16,784 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of November 21. 6,595 were killed (including 415 children) and 10,189 injured (including 755 children).

Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country. The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance the UNHCR reports. As of 22 November :

Individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe: 7,865,619
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia 2,344,806
Other European countries 2,651,985
Russian Federation, Belarus 2,868,828
Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe: 4,749,465
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia 2,337,761
Other European countries 2,411,704
Border crossings from Ukraine (since 24 February 2022): 15,591,979
Border crossings to Ukraine (since 28 February 2022): 7,938,861

Environment

No nuclear power plants in Ukraine are generating power for Ukraine’s grid , Ukrainska Pravda reports. “ Emergency protection measures at the Rivne, Pivdennoukrainska, and Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plants were triggered due to a decrease in the frequency in Ukraine’s power system; as a result of this, all power units at these power plants have automatically shut down .

The [power plants] are currently operating in an [emergency] mode, without generating power for the national power grid. Radiation background on the grounds of the nuclear power plants and their adjacent territories has not changed, all indicators are normal .”

IAEA chief meets Russians to discuss Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant protection , Reuters reports. “ The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog met a Russian delegation in Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss safety at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the watchdog said. The Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia seized shortly after its Feb. 24 invasion, was again rocked by shelling at the weekend, leading to renewed calls from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to create a protection zone around it to prevent a nuclear disaster. […]

Grossi has been warning for months of the risk of a potentially catastrophic accident because of the shelling.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month ordered a subsidiary of Rosatom, Russia’s state-run nuclear energy agency, to seize the plant’s assets and transfer its Ukrainian staff to a new Russian legal entity. Kyiv said that move amounts to theft. […]

The nuclear plant, Europe’s biggest, provided about a fifth of Ukraine’s electricity before Russia’s invasion and has been forced to operate on backup generators a number of times.

Repeated shelling around the plant has raised concern about the potential for a grave accident just 500 km (300 miles) from the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chornobyl disaster .”

️ Legal 

Some Russian commanders encouraged sexual violence, says lawyer advising Kyiv , Reuters reports. “ There is evidence that Russian commanders in several instances were aware of sexual violence by military personnel in Ukraine “and in some cases, encouraging it or even ordering it,” according to an international criminal lawyer assisting Kyiv’s war crimes investigations. British lawyer Wayne Jordash told Reuters that in some areas around the capital of Kyiv in the north, where the probes are most advanced, some of the sexual violence involved a level of organisation by Russian armed forces that “speaks to planning on a more systematic level.” He didn’t identify specific individuals under scrutiny.

The previously unreported findings by investigators about the alleged role of commanders and the systematic nature of attacks in some locations are part of patterns of alleged sexual violence that are emerging as Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its ninth month.

Jordash, who is part of a Western-backed team that provides legal expertise to Ukraine, said it was too early to conclude how widespread the practice was because investigations in recently-recaptured areas of the northeast and south are at an earlier stage. However, the patterns suggest that sexual violence “maybe even more frequent” in territories that were occupied for longer periods , he added, without providing evidence.

Reuters interviewed more than twenty people who worked with alleged victims – including law enforcement, doctors and lawyers – as well as an alleged rape victim and family members of another. They shared accounts of alleged sexual violence by Russian armed forces that occurred in various parts of Ukraine: many included allegations of family members being forced to watch or multiple soldiers participating or acts being conducted at gunpoint.

Reuters couldn’t independently corroborate the accounts. Some of the circumstances – including family members witnessing rape – feature in alleged attacks by Russians documented by a United Nations-mandated investigation body in a report published last month, which said victims ranged in age from four to over 80. […]

Rape can constitute a war crime under the Geneva Conventions that establish international legal standards for conduct of armed conflicts. Widespread or systematic sexual violence could amount to crimes against humanity, which are generally seen as more serious, legal specialists said. […]

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said Moscow’s war on Ukraine “is aimed at exterminating the Ukrainian people” and that sexual violence is among Russian crimes “intended to spread a state of terror, cause suffering and fear among the civilian population of Ukraine.”

“ There are indications that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war ,” Pramila Patten, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, told Reuters citing accounts of circumstances such as rape in front of family members, gang rape and forced nudtiy.

Kyiv has said it is examining tens of thousands of reports as part of its investigations into alleged war crimes by Russian military personnel; sexual violence accounts for only a small part of those. Ukraine’s probe is at the centre of multiple efforts to investigate potential war crimes related to the conflict, including by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Evidence that sexual violence was planned could indicate it was part of a systematic attack or that some level of command was aware , said Kim Thuy Seelinger, an advisor to the ICC on sexual violence in conflict and a research associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis. […]

Allegations of rape and sexual violence surfaced soon after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and have come from across the country, according to accounts Reuters gathered and the U.N. investigative body. […]

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office said it has opened dozens of criminal cases involving sexual violence by members of the Russian armed forces against women, children and men. Ukrainian authorities and other specialists say the numbers of victims is likely to be far greater because parts of the country remain occupied and victims often are reluctant to come forward, including due to fears of reprisals and distrust of authorities.

The U.N.’s human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine said in a September report that most of the dozens of alleged instances of sexual violence it had documented were committed by members of Russian armed forces and two were by members of Ukrainian armed forces or law enforcement .”

440 children were killed, 847 children injured , 11,461 deported by foe forces, and 323 reported missing – the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of November 24. 2,719 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 332 of them are destroyed fully.

Support 

Pentagon announces new military aid package for Ukraine , Ukrinform reports, citing a statement from The US Department of Defense. “ According to the Pentagon, the new package of security assistance provides for the allocation of additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), 150 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights to counter Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). In addition, the US will supply Ukraine with 200 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, 10,000 120mm mortar rounds and High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs).

Ukraine will also receive 150 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), over 100 light tactical vehicles, over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition, more than 200 generators, as well as spare parts for 105mm howitzers and other equipment .”

Britain sending helicopters to Ukraine for first time , BBC reports. “ Britain is sending helicopters to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said, the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since the war began. Three former British military Sea Kings will be provided and the first has already arrived, the BBC understands. In the last six weeks, Ukrainian crews were trained in the UK to fly and maintain the aircraft – to provide search and rescue capabilities.

Mr Wallace said the UK would also send an additional 10,000 artillery rounds .”

Poland asks Germany to transfer Patriot systems to Ukraine , Ukrinform reports, citing Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak. “ After more Russian missile attacks, I turned to the German side with the request that the Patriot batteries offered to Poland be transferred to Ukraine and deployed on the western border. This will protect Ukraine from further casualties and blackouts and increase security on our eastern border, Blaszczak wrote .”

PM Shmyhal: EU plans to collect thousands of generators and power equipment for Ukraine , Ukrinform reports. “ The European Union plans to collect and send thousands of generators and power equipment to Ukraine.

I personally thanked President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola for recognizing Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Now the EP will focus on the Generators of Hope initiative. In the near future, the EU plans to collect thousands of generators and power equipment to hand them over to Ukraine,” Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal posted on Telegram .”

New Developments 

  1. European Parliament Declares Russia State Sponsor of Terrorism , European Pravda “ The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on Wednesday, recognising Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The resolution was adopted by 494 votes in favour, 58 against with 44 abstentions .”
  2. ‘Pro-Russia’ hackers down EU Parliament website for hours , Reuters “ The European Parliament’s website was unavailable for several hours on Wednesday due to a denial-of-service attack by “Pro-Kremlin” hackers, after its lawmakers designated Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, the institute’s president said .”
  3. Pope compares Russia’s war in Ukraine to the 1930s famine inflicted by Stalin , Reuters “ Pope Francis said on Wednesday that Ukrainians were suffering today from the “martyrdom of aggression” and compared Russia’s war in Ukraine to the “terrible genocide” of the 1930s when Soviet leader Josef Stalin inflicted famine on the country .”
  4. Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure are escalation in war – US ambassador , Ukrinform reports, citing Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Representative to the United Nations. “ Let’s be clear: these are attacks on critical infrastructure. And they are a shameful escalation in Russia’s already brutal, unjustifiable war, she said. She noted that Putin is “clearly weaponizing winter” to inflict immense suffering on the Ukrainian people. Thomas-Greenfield called such a strategy by the Russians “inhumane,” adding that Moscow resorted to it amid a series of setbacks on the battlefield. She said that Russia’s attacks are so extensive that they have cut off external power to Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. In addition, they created serious risks at nuclear facilities in Ukraine .”
  5. Danilov to Kremlin: missile attacks won’t bring negotiations any closer – only at gunpoint , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Oleksii Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. “ We’ll say this one syllable at a time. Neither your rockets. Nor your Shaheds [Iranian-made drones]. Nor your shelling of maternity hospitals will bring your desire for negotiations one millimetre or step closer. As Danilov put it, attacking our country only makes us want to “destroy the Ruscist monstrosity”. Negotiations with a terrorist state are only possible at gunpoint of the Ukrainian Defence Forces, Danilov emphasised .”
  6. Kremlin has no doubt that war with Ukraine is “successful” , Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “ Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, has said that the Russian authorities have no doubt about the success of military operations in Ukraine . ”
  7. Zelenskyy addresses UN Security Council: it’s time to condemn Russia and support Ukrainian Peace Formula , Ukrainska Pravda “ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed an urgent UN Security Council meeting and called on the members to support the Ukrainian Peace Formula and to condemn the aggression towards Ukraine by the Russian Federation .”
  8. PM Shmyhal outlines priority areas of investment at Rebuild Ukraine conference , Ukrinform “Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal believes that the countries that will be the first to invest in Ukraine will benefit the most in the future.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war.

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 23 November, 2022:

“ Eastern Ukraine: (Eastern Kharkiv Oblast-Western Luhansk Oblast)

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the directions of Svatove and Kreminna on November 23. […] A Russian milblogger posted videos purporting to show Russian forces striking a Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group in the direction of Svatove. […] A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted the assault toward Chervonopopivka to cut a section of the R-66 highway that connects Kreminna to Svatove. A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces are concentrating forces in Kharkiv Oblast in preparation for a possible major offensive against Svatove. ISW does not assess claims about future Ukrainian operations.

Russian forces conducted limited counterattacks aimed at constraining the actions of Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts on November 23. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces neutralized a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group within 47km northeast of Kharkiv City near Staritsa, Kharkiv Oblast. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted an assault within 15km northwest of Svatove in the direction of Stelmakhivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces also repelled a Russian attack within 12km south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued routine indirect fire along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian military concentrations and logistics in Luhansk Oblast. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 23 that Ukrainian forces struck several Russian manpower and equipment concentrations and destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in Luhansk Oblast in the previous days. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces killed about 50 Russian military personnel and wounded up to 50 others in the strikes.

The Russian military conducted another set of massive, coordinated missile strikes on Ukrainian critical infrastructure in a misguided attempt to degrade the Ukrainian will to fight. Ukrainian Air Force Command reported on November 23 that Russian forces launched 70 cruise missiles and five drones at Ukrainian critical infrastructure targets. Ukrainian Air Force Command reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 51 of the Russian cruise missiles and all five drones. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces struck residential buildings, thermal power plants, and substations in the city of Kyiv as well as in Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Lviv, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. Ukrainian, Russian, and social media sources claimed that Russian forces also struck targets in Ivano-Frankivsk, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Poltava, Kirovohrad, and Kharkiv oblasts. Ukrainian officials reported widespread disruptions to energy, heating, and water supplies as a result of the Russian strikes. […] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that the Russian military mistakenly believes that the destruction of energy infrastructure will direct Ukrainian efforts to protect rear areas and divert Ukrainian attention away from the front in eastern and southern Ukraine. Malyar stated that Russia’s campaign against critical infrastructure will not weaken the motivation of Ukraine’s civilian population, and the Ukrainian Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov asserted that Russian missile and drone strikes will not coerce Ukraine into negotiations.

Prominent Russian politicians continue to promote openly genocidal rhetoric against Ukraine. Moscow City Duma Deputy and pro-Kremlin journalist Andrey Medvedev posted a long rant to his Telegram channel on November 23 wherein he categorically denied the existence of the Ukrainian nation, relegating Ukrainian identity to a “political orientation.” Medvedev called Ukraine a pagan cult of death that worships prisoner executions and called for the total “liquidation of Ukrainian statehood in its current form.” This rhetoric is openly exterminatory and dehumanizing and calls for the conduct of a genocidal war against the Ukrainian state and its people, which notably has pervaded discourse in the highest levels of the Russian political mainstream. As ISW has previously reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin has similarly employed such genocidal language in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with calls for negotiations.

The Kremlin has not backed down from its maximalist goals of regaining control of Ukraine but is rather partially obfuscating Russia’s aims to mislead Western countries into pressuring Ukraine to sue for peace. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated on November 21 that changing the current government in Ukraine is not a goal of the Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine, observing that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has already spoken about this.” Putin had said on October 26 that Ukraine has “lost its sovereignty” and come fully under NATO’s control. Putin’s speech at the Valdai Discussion Club on October 27 again rejected Ukraine’s sovereignty, noting that Russia “created” Ukraine and that the “single real guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty” can only be Russia. Putin has also consistently upheld his talking point that Ukraine is a Nazi state that must be “denazified.” Putin’s demands amount to a requirement for regime change in Kyiv even if he does not explicitly call for it in these recent statements. The fact that Peskov refers back to these comments by Putin makes reading any serious walking-back of Russian aims into Peskov’s comments highly dubious.

The Kremlin’s obfuscation of its aims likely intended for a Western audience is nevertheless confusing Russian war supporters. Peskov’s statement likely aimed to mitigate the effects of Vice-Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev’s pro-war rant declaring that Russia can only normalize relations with Ukraine following the capitulation of the Ukrainian government. The two contrasting statements confused the pro-war community. A Wagner Group-affiliated milblogger sarcastically observed that Russia is aimlessly fighting a war without a clear goal in response to Peskov’s statement. ISW has reported on similar reactions to the Kremlin’s decision to exchange Ukrainian prisoners of war from Mariupol, whom Kremlin officials and propagandists vilified as “Nazis” and ”war criminals.”

The Kremlin’s hesitance to publicly commit fully to an extreme nationalist ideology and to the war is also bewildering propagandists who preach such ideology to the Russian masses. Russian political and military “experts” on a Russian state TV show pushed back against Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov’s claim that Kherson Oblast is fully Russian, which would justify the use of nuclear weapons. The “experts” said that the use of nuclear weapons to defend territory that is not fully occupied is irrational and even said that NATO poses no threat to Russia. Russian propagandists have been making outlandish nuclear threats and accusing NATO of planning to attack Russia throughout Putin’s regime and especially before and during the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine; such dismissal of common Kremlin talking points in such a forum is unprecedented. ISW has also previously reported that Russian extreme nationalist ideologist Alexander Dugin accused Putin of not fully committing to the pro-war ideology. Putin has generally sought to balance extreme nationalist talking points to gather support from the nationalist-leaning community and a more moderate narrative to maintain the support of the rest of the Russian population. Russian military failures and the increasing sacrifices Putin is demanding of the Russian people to continue his disastrous invasion are bringing his deliberate obfuscation of war aims and attempts to balance rhetorically into sharp relief, potentially fueling discontent within critical constituencies.

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian military conducted another set of massive, coordinated missile strikes on Ukrainian critical infrastructure.
  • Russian politicians continue to promote openly genocidal rhetoric against Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin continues to pursue its maximalist goals and is likely issuing vague statements about its intent to mislead Western Countries into pressuring Ukraine into negotiations.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the directions of Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian forces continued defensive operations on the east (left) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
  • The Kremlin is continuing crypto-mobilization efforts at the expense of other Russian security services.

Russian forces and occupation officials continued to forcibly relocate residents and confiscate their property. “

The present frontline , as presented by (((Tendar))). “ The Russian defeats and withdrawals have considerably decreased the length of the front line and I’m only counting the one inside Ukraine. […] The overall length of the remaining front line is around 880 km, but around 380 km are rivers, especially the Dnipro River, making up around 350 km the lion’s share. The remaining “water” front lines are the Oskil and Siversky Donets River as well as a few lakes and ravines.

The Zaporizhzhia front (land based) is currently the smallest, making up only 115 km. It is also currently the quietest front […]. The Donetsk front is around 230 km long and currently the most active front. […] The most Northern fronts are in the Luhansk/Kharkiv sector. It is around 187 km long with some intense battles primarily at the Svatove-Kreminna line. […]”

  1. Consequences and what to do?

European Parliament declares Russia state sponsor of terrorism , European Pravda reports. “ The European Parliament acknowledges that Russia has “deliberately targeted civilian objects” in Ukraine, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people. In the occupied territories, the aggressors carry out “executions without trial and investigation, carry out kidnappings, sexual violence, torture, and other atrocities,” the resolution added. Mass murders in Bucha, Irpin, Izium and Lyman were also mentioned, as well as attacks on the Mariupol theater and the Kramatorsk railway station.

The authors of the project also calculated that Russia violates the principles of the UN Charter, caused a humanitarian crisis in Mariupol and destroyed 95% of the city, blocks Ukrainians’ access to gas, electricity, water and the Internet, as well as to basic goods and services.

The European Parliament underlines that the deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror against the Ukrainian population and constitute war crimes ; expresses its unreserved outrage at and condemnation of these attacks and atrocities and the other acts that Russia has committed in pursuit of its destructive political aims in Ukraine and on the territory of other countries; in the light of the above, recognises Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism ,” the text of the resolution reads.

In this regard, the European Parliament calls on the European Union to further isolate Russia internationally , including when it comes to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council. MEPs also want diplomatic ties with Russia to be reduced , EU contacts with official Russian representatives to be kept to the absolute minimum and Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned .

In addition, the European Parliament calls for the EU and its Member States to take action to initiate a comprehensive international isolation of the Russian Federation , including with regard to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council, and to refrain from holding any formal events on the territory of the Russian Federation.

“The European Parliament calls for diplomatic relations with Russia to be reduced further and for contacts with its official representatives at all levels to be kept to the absolute minimum necessary; calls on EU Member States to close and ban Russian state-affiliated institutions, such as the Russian Centres for Science and Culture and Russian diaspora organisations and associations, which operate under the auspices and leadership of Russian diplomatic missions and promote Russian state propaganda around the world,” the resolution reads.

Also, in view of the escalation of Russian attacks on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine, the European Parliament called on the EU to swiftly complete its work on a ninth sanctions package against Moscow.

After approval, the President of the European Parliament must send the resolution to the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Council, the European Commission, the governments and parliaments of the member states, the UN Secretary General, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights person, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Criminal Court, the president, government and parliament of the Russian Federation, the president, government and parliament of Ukraine.”

Hans Petter Midttun : On October 13, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously adopted a resolution that calls the Russian Federation a terrorist regime. PACE became the first international organisation to recognise Russia as a terrorist state.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has designated the Russian Federation and its regime as a terrorist. Yesterday, the European Parliament also declared Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.

“ MEPs highlight that the deliberate attacks and atrocities committed by Russian forces and their proxies against civilians in Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of international and humanitarian law amount to acts of terror and constitute war crimes. In light of this, they recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism.

As the EU currently cannot officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism, Parliament calls on the EU and its member states to put in place the proper legal framework and consider adding Russia to such a list. This would trigger a number of significant restrictive measures against Moscow and have profound restrictive implications for EU relations with Russia.

In the meantime, MEPs call on the Council to include the Russian paramilitary organisation ‘the Wagner Group’, the 141st Special Motorized Regiment, also known as the “Kadyrovites”, and other Russian-funded armed groups, militias and proxies, on the EU’s terrorist list .”

Several European countries had already concluded by themselves. On May 10 already, Lithuanian lawmakers adopted a resolution declaring Russia “a terrorist state” and calling Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine “genocide against the Ukrainian people.” In the resolution, the lawmakers stressed that Russia ” deliberately and systemically chose civilian targets to bombard, is the state that supports and carries out acts of terrorism”. Russia’s deliberate attacks on critical infrastructure to cause a humanitarian catastrophe at the onset of winter has since increased dramatically.

The Senate of Poland and the Lower House of the Czech Parliament, have also passed a decision to designate Russia a terrorist regime. The US has until now, not yet made a similar decision. As of 6 September, President Biden declined to designate Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism despite repeated calls from Capitol Hill. “White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre elaborated on the president’s thought process.

“This designation could have unintended consequences to Ukraine, and the world,” she said. “For example, according to humanitarian experts and NGOs we have spoken to, it could seriously affect the ability to deliver assistance in areas of Ukraine.

“Another one is it could drive critical humanitarian and commercial actors away from facilitating food exports to help mitigate the global food crisis and jeopardize the Black Sea ports deal that has already led to over a million tons of Ukrainian food exports reaching the world, including those in Horn of Africa.

“It will also undercut unprecedented multilateral conditions that have been so effective in holding [Russian President Vladimir] Putin accountable and could also undermine our ability to support Ukraine at the negotiating table,” she said. “So, again, we do not think this is the most effective way to go, or the strongest path forward.”

Some argue that this is mostly a symbolic declaration since the EU currently lacks the legal framework to officially designate states as sponsors of terrorism. Without the US on board, Europe’s ability to influence Russia is also limited.

President Biden’s stand, however, was made before Russia started its unprecedented missiles and drone attacks against the Ukrainian energy sector on October 10. Russian actions might, therefore, force his hand as was the case for both NATO and the EU.

In my opinion, the decisions have repercussions far beyond the declaration itself. It totally redefines the relationship between Europe and Russia. The Russian Federation has joined the infamous group of countries bearing the same designation. Currently, the US has designated four countries as State Sponsors of Terrorism: Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Iran, and Syria. Russia will, hopefully, soon be added to the list.

That means restrictions on US foreign assistance; a ban on defence exports and sales; control over exports of dual-use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

The declarations, however, go further. They call for an international tribune to hold the Russian leadership responsible similar to what happened after WW2. They are calling for limiting diplomatic relations. The European Parliament is also calling on the European Union:

“… to further isolate Russia internationally, including when it comes to Russia’s membership of international organisations and bodies such as the United Nations Security Council. MEPs also want diplomatic ties with Russia to be reduced, EU contacts with official Russian representatives to be kept to the absolute minimum and Russian state-affiliated institutions in the EU spreading propaganda around the world to be closed and banned .”

Through its actions, Russia is compelling a reluctant NATO to act. In its declaration, the NATO PA acknowledges that “the Russian regime that its policy and practices, including murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, rape and sexual assaults, severe physical injury to civilians, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, destruction of property, and attacks on hospitals, among others, which aim at removing by violent and terror-inspiring means the Ukrainian civilian population from certain geographic areas, constitute war crimes.”

“ Condemning in the strongest terms Russia’s continuing escalation of the horrific war against the Ukrainian nation, including the despicable attacks deliberately targeting civilians and infrastructure that amount to acts of terror against the population and constitute war crimes;

Stressing that Russia currently represents the most significant and direct threat to Euro-Atlantic security

URGES member governments and parliaments of the North Atlantic Alliance […] to recognise fully the value that Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration would add to Allied collective defence , to continue active support for Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions and to agree on the next steps towards Ukraine’s NATO membership, which the Ukrainian people have chosen and is anchored in Ukraine’s Constitution;

  • to support the work of the International Crimea Platform, including its Parliamentary Summit as a tool to consolidate inter-parliamentary efforts aimed at de-occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol;
  • to take collective action towards the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression committed by Russia with its war against Ukraine as well as to impose an obligation to make full reparation of damage loss or injury under international compensation mechanism;
  • to state clearly that the Russian state under the current regime is a terrorist one . ”

What does that mean?

The West does not negotiate with terrorists. On the contrary, the US declared war on terror in 2001, rallying NATO support under Article 5. While that was a result of the 11 September attack on the USA and, therefore, does not apply to the Russian atrocities in Ukraine, it still defines the impact of the designation on international relations.

All talks of “Ukraine fatigue” and negotiations are suddenly off the table. It is very hard to see anyone suggesting talks with the president of a state-designated State Sponsor of Terrorism. Especially any suggestions of compromise at the cost of Ukrainian territory and sovereignty.

The basis for the designation itself also means that Europa must find the resolve and resilience to meet the consequences of the “tsunami of ripple effects” from the war. While these will be painful and have very real political repercussions, they are nothing compared to what Ukraine is experiencing. Not even close. Ukrainians are paying the price in blood, suffering and destruction; and it’s laid out for all to read in the two declarations.

As repeatedly stressed. Russia has for the last 9 years tried its uttermost to avoid a direct confrontation with the West knowing that it will be defeated if it ever was to happen. It has been waging an influence operation in the cognitive space to persuade both populations as well as key western decisions and policymakers for years. Its nuclear blackmail, military diplomacy, energy war, political warfare, disinformation and propaganda have all been meant to convince the US, NATO and the EU to remain detached.

It is, therefore, ironic that Russia’s actions over the last 9 months might be compelling the West to act. An Alliance that has done its uttermost to remain detached.

I believe the designation of Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism is one step closer to a NATO military intervention in Ukraine. As previously argued: It is inevitable for so many objective reasons.

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