Sitrep for December 8–9 (as of 3:00 pm)
The situation on the frontline
The situation on the Kupiansk axis continues to change. There is evidence that Ukrainian forces managed to liberate Kyslivka.
After analyzing the satellite data and maps of strikes, OSINT analyst Def Mon suggested that Novoselivka and Kotlyarivka could also have been liberated. However, there is no conclusive evidence for this, so they are still marked as contested.
The situation in the Kreminna area remains unchanged. Chervonopopivka is still under Russian control. Ukrainian forces are trying to advance towards Ploschanka, but without much success.
Since pro-Russian journalist Semyon Pegov (a.k.a. WarGonzo) is the only source to report the situation on this part of the frontline, it is unclear how far the AFU managed to advance south of Kreminna near the village of Dibrova.
On Dec. 8, Bakhmut came under heavy strikes; residential buildings were also hit there. Although Bakhmut has been a front-line town for quite a while, there are still civilians.
Head of the Ukrainian Military Administration of Donetsk Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that five civilians were killed (three people in Bakhmut, one person in Toretsk, and another one in Netailove). Two civilians were injured as the result of strikes on Dec. 8.
Numerous reports appear in pro-Russian Telegram channels about Ukrainian strikes on Donetsk, allegedly with MLRS. Strikes on multistory residential buildings and in the area of the Government House [seat of the DPR’s “Cabinet”] were recorded. According to the currently available visual evidence, it is impossible to establish either the direction of the strikes or the type of munitions.
In the Mykolaiv region, a grave containing three killed civilians (male, 39, 42 and 55 years old) was found. Forensic experts noted the signs of torture and gunshot wounds. As can be seen from the photographs, representatives of the International Criminal Court are already working in the Mykolaiv region.
In the occupied city of Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia region, explosions were heard at an airbase. According to Victoria Galitsyna, head of the City Military Administration of Berdyansk,, at first, three massive explosions were heard, followed by 15 smaller ones, then a heavy fire started. We have not seen any photo or video evidence yet.
According to Ukraine’s nuclear power agency Energoatom, Russian troops brought several Grad MLRS to the territory of the seized Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and placed them near Power Unit 6, which is near the stationary storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.
The lower the temperature gets, the more incidents of widespread alcoholism among Russian soldiers, who have severe problems with their winter gear and heating equipment, will occur. At the same time, it is risky for them to make bonfires at night as they can be detected by the enemy. It is obvious that soldiers will increasingly suffer from infectious diseases, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Rumors emerged of soldiers freezing to death, but so far, there is no conclusive evidence of this (such as obituaries).
After the beginning of mobilization, about 30% of companies began to pay attention to the category of fitness for military service when hiring men of conscription age. Some of them refuse applicants with in-demand military specialties, and others have reduced the number of vacancies for potential draftees. Also, a number of organizations reported that they began to consider female applicants more often.
The BBC News Russian published a story about the ongoing recruitment of prisoners by the Wagner Group. Now, most of the prisoners who have been captured are asking not to be exchanged. Not everyone is familiar with the stories of Nuzhin or Sevalnev, but many recall Wagner's recruiters showing videos of extrajudicial executions of deserters.
Olga Romanova, the Executive Director of the civil rights movement Rus’ Sidyashchaya [Russia Behind Bars], said that convicts serving time in the Russian penal colonies had reported dozens of extrajudicial executions, often of “foreigners” (i.e., citizens of Belarus, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Azerbaijan, etc.). However, Romanova suggests that some of the victims could have been killed in combat but it was easier for the Wagner Group to just inform the convicts’ relatives that they were executed for desertion rather than to bother with the transportation of their remains and the monetary compensation.
Advertisements in the languages of several CIS states [former USSR republics] have appeared on Moscow public transportation calling on migrants to volunteer for the “special military operation.” The men are promised Russian citizenship once their period of military service is over.
In other news
During the last 30 days, the Ukrainian Armed Forces approved the military use of 7 new types of Ukrainian-made unmanned aerial vehicles. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense initiated changes to the procedures of procuring weapons and special military equipment, significantly streamlining the approval process (previously, only one or two types of aerial drones were being approved annually). To further simplify the interactions with the manufacturers, there is now a website where any developer can petition the Ministry of Defense to approve the military use of their product. In particular, the UAF are now armed with D-80 Discovery and E-300 Enterprise UAVs. During peacetime, the former model was designed for agricultural use and the latter as a delivery drone.
Meanwhile in Russia, aerial vehicles designated for the Russian Army keep being stolen, both at the front and in the rear.
The European Union is set to increase the size of its fund to finance weapons supplies to Ukraine by at least 2 billion euros as early as next week. The EU foreign ministers may agree on the increase during their meeting in Brussels on Dec. 12.
Hungary, however, opposes both the proposal to double the EU fund from which these supplies are financed and the new package of sanctions.
Estonia has sent 11 buses with generators and power equipment to Ukraine.
We were asked to analyze a video that reportedly shows Ukrainian soldiers carrying out a summary execution of their fellow comrades. As well as other researchers, such as Necro Mancer, we consider the video to be staged. Firstly, the "executioners'' did not shoot directly at the "prisoners", but somewhere to the side.
Secondly, the moment when "Ukrainian soldiers" allegedly notice a UAV and start shooting at it looks strange. In the video, there is no sound that could prevent them from spotting the UAV earlier (for example, a working engine).
Russia's opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison. He was found guilty of spreading false information about the Russian Armed Forces during a live stream on YouTube in which he described the Bucha massacre. On that live stream, he presented two versions of what occurred in Bucha: the Russian authorities' position and the real one. However, Yashin was required, according to the prosecutor, to agree with the Russian Defense Ministry's version and emphasize that it is the only true one.
We would like to thank our readers for clarifying the story of the strange-looking concrete blocks. Now we know for sure that the blocks are not hollow, but filled with concrete. To prevent significant chipping on their tops, they are reinforced with additional metal structures.
The recording of a livestream for our patrons during which we summarized the year and talked about our team's plans for the future is now available.