December 15, 2022

Sitrep for December 13–14 (as of 4:30 pm)

There is a video showing the aftermath of an explosion on Dec. 13 in Klintsy, Bryansk region of Russia. A military unit was hit, not far from the barracks with soldiers; damaged military vehicles can also be seen in the video.

A local resident who had filmed the video was detained and made to apologize on camera, because the footage could help the Ukrainian side.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel Voyenny Osvedomitel [Military Informant], based on the size of the crater and inaccuracy of the strike (neither military vehicles nor barracks were hit), concluded that it was a Tochka-U strike. It leads to two conclusions:

  • Ukraine still has Tochka-U missiles;
  • strikes against targets inside Russia with Western weapons are still prohibited.

The situation on the frontline

The situation has not changed much on the Svatove axis, but the activity of Russian forces has intensified. The AFU still retain an advantage there, which they made use of during a short spell of frosty weather last week having advanced near Chervonopivka.

However, now the temperature is again hovering around zero, and fighting has slowed down again, as the muddy season makes it difficult to advance even for tracked vehicles.

Currently,Russian forces are making unsuccessful attack attempts near Kovalivka, Makiivka and Chervonopopivka.

The most dangerous situation for the Russian side is now in the Kreminna area because Ukrainian forces have approached the outskirts of the town quite close and have been attacking Zhytlivka to encircle Russian forces in Kreminna and force them to retreat, for example, to Rubizhne.

To distract Ukrainian troops from the offensive on Kreminna, Russian forces are trying to attack in the direction of Bilohorivka (Luhansk region) and Verkhnokamianske.

Combat activities in the direction of Bakhmut — Soledar remain intensive. According to reports, Russian forces attacked Yakovlivka and Bakhmutske, which they had previously claimed as captured, and also Soledar and Bakhmut.

South of Bakhmut, Russian forces are trying to attack Kurdyumivka again, which has also been declared occupied many times, Klishchiivka and Mayorske. When it comes to such small settlements, fighting on the outskirts means that the entire settlement is a disputed territory.

A volunteer summary from December 13 included many photos and videos of killed servicemen in the BakhmutSoledar direction. Many of them evoke associations with World War I.

Despite the fact that both sides claim potential activation of fighting in the Zaporizhzhia direction, no large-scale combat activities have been observed so far, but intensive shelling only.

At the same time, on December 13, the AFU General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces struck the headquarters of the 58th Combined Arms Army in Melitopol.

Mobilization news

A few days ago, mobilized soldiers from Kuzbass recorded a video in which their combat instructor addressed the regional governor and said that the draftees arrived practically naked (referring to the lack of gear, especially winter uniforms). Now a new video has been published in which these mobilized say that they are provided with everything and have no complaints to the Defense Ministry. This video seems staged to us, as the speech sounds prepared.

In Sevastopol, during a training, a mobilized soldier decided to check the serviceability status of an assault rifle and shot a fellow soldier, causing him serious injuries. The Sevastopol Military Garrison Court convicted the draftee of violation of rules for arms handling and  fined him 50 thousand rubles. He was also discharged from the Russian Armed Forces.

Go Z and Luganmedia Telegram channels published a video with a boy who lives near the frontline. He was dressed in a military uniform and apparently given a gun. The boy says that he dreams of a normal life and of having water and light.

We are not lawyers, but we believe that filming such videos borders on a war crime. If there is a Ukrainian drone hovering in the air somewhere nearby at that moment, its operator may not be able to distinguish whether an adult or a child is standing below in a military uniform, and drop a grenade on him.

Vladimir Saldo, Russian-appointed governor of the Kherson region, announced that Putin decided to build a new town on the Arabat Spit (a strip of land on the west coast of the Azov Sea). The town will be home to a “government quarter” where the administrative offices of the annexed territories in the Kherson region will be located.

Apparently, 100 million rubles from the St. Petersburg snow clearing budget went to restoration of Mariupol as part of the initiative to strengthen the “fraternal ties” between the two cities (note from the CIT: Ruslan quoted the news as if it were a statement by the St. Petersburg government; in truth, the authorities are trying to conceal the fact).

According to The Times, British marines conducted several secret missions in Ukraine. In the beginning of the year, 350 marines helped evacuate the UK embassy from Kyiv to Poland. In April, as Britain attempted to restore its diplomatic presence in Kyiv, the marines came back to Ukraine to guard the embassy. In addition, the British special forces are training Ukrainian servicemen. We think the headline of the article is not very accurate and creates a false impression that British marines have participated in combat on Ukrainian territory while in fact they were simply ensuring the security of the diplomatic personnel which is something they do even at peace time.

France will transfer a new batch of air defense systems to Ukraine in the near future.

The United States has shipped the first part of its power equipment aid worth about $13 million to Ukraine. The second tranche is expected to leave the US this week.

A Ramstein-format conference on Ukraine’s energy security was held in Paris. In his message to the participants of the meeting, Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated:

  • Until the end of this heating season, Ukraine needs electricity to be supplied from the European Union. Such electricity supply support may cost around 800 million euros in current prices.
  • Special missions should be sent by the EU to the facilities of Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure (similar to those the IAEA had sent to nuclear power plants of Ukraine), to ensure that the damage done to this infrastructure by Russian missile attacks is duly documented.
  • Due to the destruction of power stations, Ukraine will need more gas this winter than it was expected. As a result, Ukraine needs financial support for the purchase of about two billion cubic meters of gas.
  • Ukraine requires equipment for restoring high-voltage networks, and resources to finance the purchase of 50 million LED lamps.

News came out on the decision to send Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine. No further details have been provided. Ukraine has been calling for long-range air defense systems desperately, and will continue to need them in the future. With a vast territory that needs to be protected, no matter how many systems are delivered, there will never be too many of them.