Sitrep for December 6–7 (as of 4:00 pm)
The main news within the past 24 hours is the appearance of Shahed-136 kamikaze drones on the territory of Ukraine. A new large batch (hundreds of pieces) of Iranian drones is reported to have been brought to Russia.
On the night of Dec. 7, these loitering munitions were seen in the Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Dnipropetrovsk regions.
Head of the Ukrainian Military Administration of Kryvyi Rih Oleksandr Vilkul stated that on the evening of Dec. 6, Russian forces attacked an industrial facility with ballistic missiles. Though it was seriously damaged as a result of the attack, as far as we know, there were no casualties. Oleksandr Vilkul emphasized that it is much harder for Ukrainian air defense to intercept ballistic missiles, so they have more chances to hit the target.
The City Council of Kramatorsk reports a strike by four missiles. As a result, about 40 detached houses were damaged, but no one was injured.
Daily strikes on Donetsk continue. On Dec. 6, as a result of a strike in the city center, 8 people were killed. Judging by the photographs, they were civilians. You can also see great destruction of the buildings that do not look like military facilities.
Our team continues to scrutinize photographs of impact sites in Donetsk in order to analyze the direction of the strikes.
On Dec. 6, some pro-Ukrainian Telegram channels discussed the geolocation of one of the attacked buildings. Based on photographs of the damaged facade on the east side of the building, it was concluded that it could not have been a Ukrainian strike.
However, we carefully examined the photographs of the building and found that, although the geolocation is correct, it was not taken into account that the building, apparently, turned out to be hit through. In the Telegram channel JCCC DNR [Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the “DNR”], which publishes photographs of the aftermath of strikes, we found photographs of this building made from different angles and saw a lot more damage on the western side consistent with a large rocket hit, which had almost pierced the building. Thus, we refuted the conclusion that the strike had been carried out from the east of Donetsk.
A new video of the fighting near Bakhmut has appeared, which shows that pro-Russian forces are already slightly east of Klishchiivka.
However, according to OSINT analyst Def Mon, there have been no major changes in this area in recent days.
Based on the map of shelling in the area of Svatove, we can assume that Ukrainian forces are trying to bypass the town from two sides in order to surround it and force the enemy to retreat.
UralVagonZavod [Russian machine-building company] has reported that a batch of new upgraded 2022 version of T-72B3M tanks has been shipped to the Russian Army. According to UralVagonZavod representatives, these tanks have additional, more reliable protection against anti-tank guns. A large number of blocks of reactive armor can be seen in the video.
More detailed satellite images of the consequences of a strike on the Engels airbase have appeared, showing traces of burning near a Tu-95 bomber and foam to extinguish the fire. It is unknown whether the aircraft itself was damaged.
The Fighterbomber Telegram channel published some details of the attack on the Kursk airfield on December 6. According to the information posted there, the previous three attacks on this airfield "had more of a psychological effect," but this time, they managed to set fire to a fuel and lubricants warehouse. The attack took place at 6 a.m. when when you can only detect a flying drone by technical means. The attack was successful, although the airfield is quite well protected (including a powerful air defense system) since it is near the border with Ukraine and is often used by Russian military aircraft to refuel planes before raids on Ukrainian cities.
The publication also describes a failed attack on the Belbek airfield in Crimea: all the drones were shot down by air defense forces.
Governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, reported that about 200 rescuers and firefighters battled the fire at the airfield for more than a day. The fire was assigned the third category of complexity.
A major consequence of attacks on Russian airfields may be the strengthening of security measures and logistics complications related to that.
As to the possible relocation of strategic bombers to airfields inaccessible to Ukrainian drones, it could potentially give the AFU extra time to respond after spotting the departure of these aircraft in the direction of Ukraine (this will give civilians more time to get to shelters).
In the Kursk region, a line of obstacles, including “dragon’s teeth” is being constructed to hinder military vehicles.
Recently published photos of similar concrete blocks in the Belgorod region caused a heated discussion among experts and within the CIT team. The reason is that in one of these photos, concrete pyramids look as if they are hollow. Is it possible that the anti-tank barriers are fake?
The US Army is studying the market for UAVs and analyzing the possibility of future orders for the production of different types of UAVs. Among other things, a public contract is being offered for the study of loitering munitions.
The pro-Russian “Povyornutye na Z voyne” [Possessed about the Z-War] Telegram channel published, as stated, photos of the wreckage of one of the Ukrainian drones that attacked Russian air bases and described some details of its design.
As reported, its warhead is about 2 kg and contains flechettes (pointed projectiles) and small metal balls. It is launched from a ground catapult, has an electrical motor, and is programmed with positioning data. It has no radio channel since communication with the operator is not required. A signal from the controller causes the UAV to explode when it approaches the target. The drone looks handcrafted rather than the result of serial production.
The "Sladkov+" pro-Russian Telegram channel reports that, despite statements by the Russian side regarding artillery superiority, no effective counter-battery fire has been established. Russian troops lack reconnaissance on the ground and UAVs capable of quickly spotting and destroying enemy firepower. Because of this, according to the source, Ukrainian artillery continues to strike Donetsk every day.
The US Army plans to increase the production of 155mm artillery shells from 14,000 per month to 20,000 by the spring of 2023 and to 40,000 by 2025. This is good, but still not enough (the Russian side fires about 20 thousand shells of all types per day). Precision-guided projectiles available to the Ukrainian Armed Forces slightly offset the Russian superiority in artillery. Nevertheless, the availability of shells and artillery pieces proved to be one of the most important factors in this war, if not the most important one.
In the Rostov region, a deserter who fired a Kalashnikov machine gun at police officers and wounded one of them was detained. He turned out to be a convict recruited by the Wagner group.
For the first time, a video of the use of a technical recovery vehicle based on an FMTV truck by Ukrainian forces has been published.
In early December, more than 2,500 seals were found dead on the coast of the Caspian Sea. Pathological material has already been sent to laboratories for research, but so far the cause of such a mass death of animals has not been established. There are several versions at the moment:
- official version: natural factors (natural gas emissions cause suffocation of animals);
- Greenpeace version: global climate change and viruses;
- conspiracy version by Abdulkhakim Gadzhiyev, member of the Russian State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption: American biological laboratories, which are dispersed "almost along the entire Russian border";
- political version by journalist Yulia Latynina: poisonous fuel of Russian missiles that are fired towards Ukraine from the Caspian region.