December 6, 2022

Sitrep for December 5–6 (as of 3:00 pm)

Details of Ukrainian drone attacks on the Engels and Dyagilevo Russian Air Bases on Dec. 5 have emerged.

Russian propagandist Aleksandr Kots, citing his sources, reported that at least the Engels airfield was hit by Soviet Tu-141 Strizh UAVs, which were previously used by Ukraine to strike military targets in the border regions of Russia.

This version explains the mysterious whizz in the video footage of the explosion as this kind of a sound is typical for a drone's jet engine.

Detailed photographs showing the aftermath of the attack on the Dyagilevo Air Base also appeared. Initially, a tanker truck was said to have exploded there, but in fact it was a vehicle for refueling aircraft with compressed air.

As a result of the drone strike, a Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber and this vehicle were damaged (but the latter did not explode, since it did not contain a large amount of fuel). The aircraft will probably need a long overhaul, but it is no great loss for Russian aviation, since there are still quite a lot of such aircraft.

Satellite images of these air bases have been published. One of them shows a Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber and missile platform and, presumably, fire foam next to it, apparently, used to extinguish a fire near the aircraft.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported on these strikes. They stated that it had been a terrorist attack, and all the attacking drones had been intercepted by air defense systems, but the fallen debris still had caused some damage. This statement contradicts the known facts, including the video recording, which shows an explosion at the Engels Air Base – no air defense work can be seen or heard.

On the night of December 6, two drones attacked the Slava Russian Reserve plant in the Bryansk region; they fell a few meters from tanks with diesel fuel. A serious fire was avoided because the tanks were empty at the time of the attack.

On November 30, this plant was attacked by a UAV, and three fuel tanks caught fire.

On the morning of December 6, Governor of the Kursk region Roman Starovoyt reported that a petroleum reservoir caught fire as a result of a drone attack on an airfield in the Kursk region.

On December 5, after strikes on Russian air bases, there was another massive attack on Ukrainian territory using Kh-101, Kh-555, Kh-22, Kalibr missiles, and several others. According to the AFU, more than 70 missiles were launched, and more than 60 of them were intercepted.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, as a result of these attacks, two people were killed and three injured, with a baby among the casualties.

In Kryvyi Rih, energy facilities were damaged, and part of the city was left without power.

In Odesa, several explosions were heard, and at least one strike reached a power infrastructure facility; blackouts began.

In the Odesa region, residential buildings and civil infrastructure were hit; two people were injured.

The Sumy region was left completely without electricity due to power outages.

Power also went out in Zhytomyr.

Analysts from the Conflict Armament Research investigative organization (its expertsvisited Kyiv earlier to study Russian armaments and Iranian UAVs) went over the fragments of a Kh-101 missile used in this attack (actually it was part of the previous attack – CIT) and determined that it was produced some time in the third or fourth quarter of 2022. Based on this, CAR concludes that either Russia was able to replace the required foreign components, or it already had huge reserves, or the sanctions were unable to cut off all of the import paths for cruise missile components.

A video emerged showing a successful interception of a Russian cruise missile by a Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. It should be noted that using self-propelled anti-aircraft guns such as Gepard is a lot cheaper than utilizing surface-to-air missiles, since AA gun ammo costs a lot less than missiles.

On the night of December 5, the Russian Armed Forces struck a Ukrainian ammo depot in Kramatorsk, ammunition explosions can be heard in the video.

On the night of December 5, Donetsk was attacked again, resulting in casualties. We do not yet know if the targeted objects were of any military significance.

The situation on the frontline

At the moment, active fighting is happening only along the Bakhmut axis. Judging by the continued shelling to the south of Bakhmut, Kurdiumivka is still contested.

To the north of Bakhmut, Wagner group fighters and separatists are trying to attack Bakhmutske, Soledar, Yakovlivka, and Bilohorivka, but so far without success.

New Russian T-90M tanks arrived in the Luhansk region. They probably continue to be produced despite the sanctions, since there is a stock of necessary components.

Mobilization news

Draft offices in the regions received an order from the Russian Ministry of Defense to begin intensive work on mobilizing men for the war in Ukraine. According to the sources of the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel in draft offices, the authorities do not plan to officially announce a new wave of mobilization.

As we expected, there is a large shortage of conscripts in the autumn draft (a similar situation was in the spring). In this regard, in the Primorsky region, the Ministry of Education demanded from the rectors of universities to expel or send students on academic leave so that the region could fulfill the call-up plan.

The Insider [independent Russian investigative media outlet] published an article based on information provided by Vladimir Osechkin, head of the Gulagu.net project [Russian anti-corruption, anti-torture human rights organization and website]. It tells about the prisoner Viktor Sevalnev, who was recruited in the penal colony, signed a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense and ended up in the “LPR People’s Militia”. He fought in the 7th Motorized Rifle Company, and when the company commander was killed, Sevalnev was appointed commander, and later even awarded an order for leading the company out of encirclement.

On November 20, Victor called his wife Lilia and told her that they were going to take him out of the hospital where he was undergoing rehabilitation from the wounds he sustained at the front and execute him by firing squad because soldiers from his company deserted. On December 1, a Ministry of Defense representative informed Lillia in Moscow that her husband was killed in the so-called DPR on November 25 from shell fragment wounds and a serious blow to the head with a blunt object. He then promised that she would soon be receiving a zinc coffin with the body along with the documentation.

Poland transferred a S-125 Newa SC air-defense system to Ukraine. In this modification, the rocket launcher is installed on a T-55 tank chassis.

A correction to our reporting yesterday about the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Czech Republic. Through the end of next year, 5 four-week sessions are planned with up to 800 trainees each. Thus, they are planning to train 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers and not 800 that we reported previously.

Former separatist commander and military blogger Igor “Strelkov” Girkinreturned from the front and told how he went to Donetsk, enlisted in the army as a volunteer, and found himself serving as a chief of staff of a battalion. After finding out that “commanders up the chain” were not happy with his trip and pressured his unit in response by withholding supplies (even though he wasn’t formally on the unit’s roster), Strelkov surrendered the assault rifle, hand gun, hand grenades, and ammunition unlawfully issued to him and returned to Moscow.

Another prisoner exchange has occurred where 60 servicemen returned to Russia. We note that this time it was the pro-Russian sources that first reported the exchange.