Issue 207, 24 November 2022

folder_openUkraine Conflict Monitor
Situational report CAO 24NOV2022

Key takeaways

  • Ukrainians are slowly repairing damages sustained during Russia’s Wednesday attack on the power grid;
  • There were no frontline changes in the Kharkiv Oblast, although battles continued;
  • There were no changes in the Luhansk Oblast. However, Ukrainians are expecting a Russian attack towards Lyman;
  • Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast is still under Ukrainian control. Russians probably captured most of Mariinka. We do not expect a collapse of Ukrainian defensive lines if the entire village is taken.
  • Ukrainians reportedly tried to recapture Pavlivka on Thursday, but were pushed back;
  • There were no changes in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast;
  • Russian artillery strikes on Kherson intensified over the last few days, but Ukrainians believe that these strikes are not sustainable over the long term;
  • There were no changes in the posture of the Belarusian Armed Forces;
  • Satellite imagery confirms an increase in the number of Russian main battle tanks deployed to the 230th Combined Arms Training Range near Baranovichi in Belarus.
General outlook

Most of the damages caused by Russian missile strikes had been fixed as the electricity supply was slowly being build-up. Most of the thermal and hydro Power stations are up and running. All nuclear power stations resumed their work as well, with the expectation of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, occupied by Russian forces. A full recovery is probably not expected to occur at all due to the extent of damages. At the same time, Russians are likely to conduct similar attacks soon, which will batter Ukraine’s power grid again and cause new disruptions and blackouts.

More than 70% of critical infrastructure in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast has been fixed, while electricity was supplied to 20% of households affected by Russian strikes. In the Chernihiv Oblast, electricity is provided for three hours, followed by a six-hour break.

A similar situation is in Kyiv. Although the water supply has been largely restored, around 70% of households operate without electricity. We understand that whereas there is enough power to supply Kyiv, the destruction of transmission lines and points means there is no physical ability to “transport” electricity to the capital. However, we expect the situation to improve over the next few days. The overall power deficit across Ukraine stood at 30% as of Friday morning.

According to a Ukrainian MoD spokesperson, Russia needs around a week to prepare a new wave of air strikes. It is thus expected that next will another strike will occur.

On Wednesday, Russians launched 67 missiles and conducted 23 airstrikes on Ukraine. Ten Lancet UAVs were also fired. Altogether, 51 incoming missiles and five UAVs were shot down.

On Thursday, Russians shelled Hai and Khrinivka in Chernihiv Oblast, Basivka, Seredyna Buda and Yasna Polyana in Sumy Oblast. In the Kharkiv Oblast, they attacked Bolohivka, Veterynarne, Hlyboke, Dvorichne, Izbytske, Krasne, Kudiivka, Ohirtseve, and Strilecha of Kharkiv Oblast.

On Thursday, Ukrainian aviation struck six concentration areas and two air defence sites. Ukrainian artillery hit four concentration areas, an air defence site, and another unspecified important military target.

In terms of battlefield strikes, Russian artillery struck Berestove, Andriivka, Kurylivka, Kupyansk, and Kislivka in the Kharkiv Oblast. Ploshchanka and Makiivka in the Luhansk oblast and Yampolivka and Toretsk in the Donetsk region were also hit. In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions, they shelled Bilohorivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, New York, Berdychi, Avdiivka, Opytne, Mariinka and Krasnohorivka. Russians also carried out airstrikes near Spirne, Nevelske and Kamianka. In the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, Russians shelled Oleksandropil, Novobakhmutivka, Velyka Novosilka, Vuhledar, Vremivka, and Zolota Nyva and Zeleniy Hay, Dorozhnianka, Orihiv, Shcherbaki, and Kamyanske in Zaporizhzhia oblast. In the Kryvyy Rih and Kherson directions, they fired at Prydnipryanske in Dnipropetrovsk oblast. Kherson, Mykhailivka, Kachkarivka, Mylovo, Zmiivka, Ivanivka, Antonivka and Chornobayivka in the Kherson oblast were attacked as well.

 The frontline situation in selected directions at axes

Kharkiv/Luhansk direction

There were no frontline changes in the Kharkiv Oblast. On Thursday, battles continued near Orlyanka and Yagidne, but there is no information about the trajectory of these engagements. Due to emergency shutdowns in the Kharkiv region, problems with the electricity supply remain. Oleh Synyehubov, the Governor of the Kharkiv Oblast, said that on Thursday, Russian strikes focused chiefly on areas near the state border, including Vovchansk, Kupyansk and Morokhovets. There were no reports about military targets being hit in these strikes.

Likewise, the frontline in the Luhansk Oblast remained unchanged. Serhiy Haidai, the Luhansk Regional Military Civil Administration Head, again claimed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces achieved some success near Svatove and Kreminna, but again, he did not provide any details of what this involved.

Although he did stress that Russian forces are bringing material to enhance their defensive positions in the Luhansk Oblast.

On Thursday, there were heavy engagements near Novoselivkse – Kuzemivka area. However, there is no information available about developments in this area. A Russian source claimed that the UAF were trying to cut the railway branch and a section of the N-26 highway, which connects to the strategically crucial R-66 highway to the southeast.

In the Makiivka area, battles continued near Ploshchanka. We understand that Ukrainians were offensively active in trying to push east to reach the Svatove – Kreminna highway. It is unclear whether they progressed in this area.

According to Oleksii Arestovych, an advisor to the Presidential Office, there were reports that Russians had been accumulating some forces (around 4-6 BTGs) in the Kreminna area, to conduct an attack on Lyman and restore control over the city. He added that the UAF were aware of these plans and would be prepared. In the previous issue of UCM, we described the Russian order of battle and the formations Russians were concentrating on in this area.

It is noteworthy that there are no reports about Russian counterattacks near Kreminna.   There could be a couple of reasons to explain this behaviour. Firstly, Russians could concentrate solely on massing and preparing their forces for the abovementioned counterattack. Secondly, decreased offensive operations could be linked to poor weather conditions. Thirdly, Russians could be rotating their forces. And lastly, they are preparing their troops for winter operations.

Donetsk Oblast direction

It appears that fighting subsided slightly in this area on Thursday, although Russians continued in their attempts to pierce through Ukrainian defensive lines.

Starting with Spirne, there were no reports about any Russian progress in this area.

Soledar was heavily shelled, but the city was still under Ukrainian control.

Bakhmut saw no changes either. Heavy battles occurred near Kurdyumivka, Ozaryanivka, Klishchiyivka, and Opytne east of Bakhmut. Russians also continue to attack Bakhmutske from the south and east.

According to a Russian source, near Konstantynivka, Ukrainians deployed reinforcements, which were redeployed from the Kherson Oblast. This is not a new development. We can confirm that at least several units we know of have been redeployed from the Kherson Oblast to the Bakhmut area, where they are actively engaged in combat operations. As such, both sides are strengthening their presence near Bakhmut. It appears that Moscow will not be able to break the deadlock.

In the Avdiivka area, heavy fighting continued near Mariinka. According to a Ukrainian source, the attackers continued their attempts to capture the city centre without success. On the other hand, Russian sources maintain that they control more than half of the city. Even if Mariinka falls, it is possible or even likely that it would not have a major impact on the operational situation, Mariinka has been the frontline village since 2014 and battles of various intensity occurred there regularly between 2014-2022. Russians have been ineffectively trying to capture it since 24FEB. Although Ukrainians have been deeply entrenched in this area, we can assume that second and third defensive lines have also been established, allowing Ukrainians to retreat to other fortified areas. Consequently, after Mariinka, Russians can move forward, but the progress will likely be shallow and short-lived.

According to Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, on 22NOV, a Russian motorised rifle company with tank and artillery support (essentially a company tactical group), repeatedly attempted to break through UAF’s lines near Nevelske. Ukrainian forces reportedly destroyed up to five tanks and ten IFVs. The attack was, therefore, unsuccessful.

In the Vuhledar and Pavlivka area, according to a Russian source, the Ukrainian army tried to recapture the lost positions in Pavlivka, but without success.

Zaporizhzhia direction

Thursday saw no changes in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Kherson direction

On Thursday, Russian forces kept on attacking Ukrainian residential areas in Kherson. We predicted that Russians would again resort to indiscriminate shelling campaigns against Ukrainian civilians, and despite the initial break after the retreat from the right bank of Dnipro, this week, the campaign fully started. The city is shelled several times a day.

According to Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to Mariupol’s mayor, Russian troops left Kozachi Lageri on the left bank of the Dnipro River. The settlement is thus a no-mans land.

According to Oleksii Arestovych, only artillery duels are taking place in the Kherson region, mostly in favour of the Ukrainian side. The Russian side is easily detectable, with limited areas to cover their forces. He believes that Russians will not be able to sustainably use gun and tube artillery. Arestovych claimed that on Wednesday, Ukrainian HIMARS fired on ten targets on the Dnipro River’s left bank.

Whether Russians can sustain artillery strikes on Kherson remains to be seen. So far, the number of attacks has been increasing

 Military situation in Belarus

On 24NOV, official Belarusian sources published a few more statements Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka made after the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit he attended on 23NOV in Yerevan.

Answering the questions of present journalists, Lukashenka directly referred to the issue of the Russo-Ukrainian war. He stated that a possible peaceful conflict resolution depends on Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. Lukashenko added that if Ukraine does not want the death of massive numbers of its citizens, it should stop the combat operations and enter peace talks. According to Lukashenka, the prolonged armed activities on the Ukrainian territory will lead to the complete destruction of Ukraine, as well as its statehood.

Belarusian President warned European countries against fighting with Belarus. According to him, in case of a potential armed escalation, both Belarus and Russia will answer strongly, using a joint grouping of forces and presumably even nuclear weapons.

Lukashenka also referred to the Belarusian participation In the Russian Special Military Operation. He reiterated that the Belarusian Armed Forces would not get involved in the conflict. He stated that about 35,000-40,000 Belarusian servicemen who can be engaged at once would not change the situation. Nonetheless, he admitted that there is Belarusian involvement in the conflict. However, it is not related to “harming or killing anyone”. By this, Luhanskeo probably meant providing medical support for Russian forces training in Belarus and allowing Russian forces to train in the country. Secondly, Russia also uses Belarusian air space to conduct air strikes on Ukraine, which harms and kills Ukrainians. So his claims are not true.

In the end, the Belarusian President once more underlined the necessity of starting the peace talks to resolve the conflict as soon as possible. Belarus would always support peaceful initiatives. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian leadership would presumably not be allowed to start negotiations. According to Lukashenka, the United States first wants to maximally weaken Russia and “deal” with China later on.

Going back to Belarus, several Belarusian high-rank officers led by the Belarusian Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Viktor Khrenin, participated in the official farewell ceremony of Maj. Gen. Igor Golub, who was transferred to the military reserve. During the ceremony, Khrenin highlighted the high professionalism and the personal contribution of the former Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence Forces, who served for more than 38 years. In his farewell speech, Golub thanked participants of the event and underlined his readiness to serve at any request of the military leadership.

The Head of the Main Ideological Work Department, Maj. Gen. Leonid Kasinsky, continued his participation in the gathering of the ideological servicemen. On the second day of the convention, the participants got acquainted with the modern “ideological” equipment (campaign ammunition, sound broadcasting stations, etc.) and had an opportunity to pass a psychological obstacle course including flames and animal flesh.

Moreover, the First Deputy Commander of the Western Operational Command, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Kupriyanyuk took part in an event, which summarised the training year of the 11th Mechanised Brigade.

On Thursday, numerous training activities of the Belarusian military formation were reported. Nonetheless, most of them were related to this year’s conscripts’ training.
Such drills were held in the 5th Spetsnaz Brigade (fire, medical, psychological and tactical courses), the 86th Communications Brigade (tactical courses), the 120th Air Defence Brigade (tactical courses), and 111th Artillery Brigade and the 48th Electronic Warfare Battalion (tactical and medical courses).

It should be noted that the cadets of the Belarusian Military Academy were also quite active. This pertains to the representatives of the Combined Arms Faculty, who were involved in the practical classes held on the Belaya Luga Training Ground (mechanised platoon tactics combined with live ammo firing), as well as the cadets of the Aviation Faculty, who took part in the simulator flights carried out in the 50th Mixed Aviation Base. The Gozhsky Training Ground hosted a live ammo ATGM firing training of the 6th Mechanised Brigade. Unofficial sources informed about intense activities carried out on the Osipovichi Training Ground.

On 24NOV, the Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the Ukrainian General Staff Brig. Gen. Alexei Gromov, informed that between 10,000-15,000 Belarusian servicemen of various power structures are ready to participate in the Russian Special Military Operation/ Nevertheless, The Ukrainian General Staff asses that the readiness of the Belarusian Armed Forces to carry out an offensive action is low.

On Wednesday, only two noteworthy transfers of Belarusian military equipment were observed. They consisted of a single trsiler with four S-300 missile containers moving on the M1 highway towards its intersection with the M4 highway, as well as six trucks (KUNGs) moving from Dzyarzhynsk towards Stolbtsy.

At least one training flight of a Mi-8 helicopter and a movement of military echelon with ten BMPs (Zhodino Railway Station>Barysaw Railway Station) were reported. Nonetheless, the affiliation of mentioned IFVs has not been confirmed.

The movement of Russian forces was more visible compared to previous days.

Specifically, it included the arrival of the Tu-134 plane at the Machulischy Air Base, as well as five reported movements of military equipment:

  1. A single medical PAZ-32053 vehicle was moving in Baranovichi;
  2. Two covered URAL trucks were moving on the M3 highway towards Lohoisk;
  3. Two covered KAMAZ trucks were moving on the M4 highway towards its intersection with the M1 highway;
  4. Two trailers with R-149BMR command-staff vehicle and TIGR vehicle, accompanied by two KAMAZ towing ZIL-131 and GAZ-66 trucks from the M1 and R11 highway intersection towards Orsha;
  5. Two covered KAMAZ trucks were moving in Bronnaya Gora;

Regarding the Russian forces deployed in Belarus, it should be added that the Russian Military Television ZVEZDA published footage presenting a joint Russo-Belarusian field hospital deployed on Belarusian soil. According to provided information, the hospital can serve up to 300 servicemen plus about 120 support specialists working in different departments (therapeutic, surgical, pharmacy, etc.)

Satellite imagery analysis

The 230th Combined-Arms Training Ground Obuz-Lesnovsky and Lesna Train Station, Baranovichi, Brest Region, Belarus

Airbus imagery acquired 20 NOV shows at least one brigade in the 230th Combined-Arms Training Ground Obuz-Lesnovsky during exercises on the training ground.

The increased number of tents suggests the appearance of a new company on the training ground. There is also a probable increase in the number of armoured vehicles deployed at the range, especially MBTs. At least four platoons were preparing to enter the training range when the image was taken.

 

Train Station Polonka, Baranovichy District, Brest Region, Belarus

Airbus imagery acquired 20 NOV shows train formation during the loading or unloading of military vehicles.

The imagery of Polonka may show lorries that are „missing” from the 230th Combined-Arms Training Ground Obuz-Lesnovsky.

Lines of advance in Ukraine

**IMPORTANT NOTE**

To improve performance, we have divided the map into two. One is the archive map, which contains data before the current week.

Another one is the current map, which only covers the current week’s events.

The current map is updated daily, and the archive is once a week.

Tags: Ukraine Conflict Monitor

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