January 23, 2023

Sitrep for January 21-23 (as of 1:30 p.m.)

The situation on the frontline

In the Svatove direction, heavy fighting continues for Novoselivske. Reportedly, the reinforcements for the Russian forces, in particular, units of the 11th Army Corps and the 1st Guards Tank Army have arrived there and are currently pursuing counteroffensive attempts. There was a video showing Russian tanks driving quite safely along a street in Novoselivske (the tanks are firing, but there are no signs of active hostilities), which indicates that the settlement is already a disputed territory.

Russian forces are trying to push back the AFU from Kreminna: fighting is going on in the forests southwest of the town and in the direction of Terny. The RuAF also continue to attack Verkhnokamianske, trying to divert Ukrainian forces from Kreminna.

There have been no significant changes in the Bakhmut direction. Klishchiivka appears to have been completely captured by Russian forces. The settlement of Krasnopolivka, which had been disputed for some time, was also reported to have been captured. This was confirmed by the Territorial Defense HQ of the “DPR”. Pro-Russian forces continue offensive attempts on Krasna Hora, Bakhmut, and Bilohorivka.

Fighting continues on the Zaporizhzhia axis, but without much progress so far.

Despite the fact that, following the results of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group meeting at the US Ramstein Air Base in January, Germany did not give permission for the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, some time later, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated that Germany would not interfere with the supply of these tanks from Poland and other countries. This happened after the conflict between the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Scholz's adviser Wolfgang Schmidt. The SĂĽddeutsche Zeitung notes that public statements that Germany will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine only after the US delivers its Abrams tanks caused particular dissatisfaction in Washington.

Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale concluded that between 33 and 73 tanks can be delivered to Ukraine by spring, and that by the beginning of summer the total will be 87, indicating that delivering 300 tanks requested by Ukraine is not possible. Rheinmetall can provide 22 additional Leopard 2 and 88 Leopard 1 tanks, but no earlier than the end of the year.

Cyprus is ready to give its T-80U tanks to Ukraine in exchange for Leopard 2 tanks. To our knowledge, Cyprus possesses approximately 80 of these tanks. It’s important to note that the Ukrainian military will not need additional training to operate the T-80U and they can be deployed to the front lines right away.

Despite earlier statements by the Czech Republic and by Slovakia of their intention to deliver to Ukraine the Leopard 2 tanks supplied to them in exchange for Soviet-era tanks already sent to Ukraine, the Czech Ministry of Defence has denied these reports.

The first photo of a supposed IRIS-T air defense system in Ukraine has surfaced.

Italy and France are reportedly nearing completion of preparations for delivery of aSAMP/T air defense system to Ukraine. The Italian Foreign Minister has also stated that Italy is planning on providing additional aid to Ukraine, details of which have not yet been made public.

The first video of a British Sea King helicopter in service with the Ukrainian Army has appeared.

There were also photos of Panzerhaubitze self-propelled guns provided by Italy at the disposal of the 43rd Artillery Brigade of the AFU. It is unknown how many have been transferred but it has been previously claimed that Italy would supply 6. In addition, one of the photos shows an Oshkosh M1070 tank transporter, donated to the brigade by the Poroshenko [ex-president of Ukraine] Foundation.

Videos of trains with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles in Poland have been posted; many believed that they were going to Ukraine. However, this is a newer modification than the one that will be transferred to Ukraine. Most likely, the IFVs shown in the videos were sent to reinforce the eastern flank of NATO.

Lithuania is donating a €2 million autotransformer to Ukraine as part of humanitarian aid aiming to restore Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian soldiers have protected the AHS Krab self-propelled howitzer from the attack of a Lancet kamikaze drone by making an anti-drone net from chain-link fencing above the vehicle. The drone crashed into the net and exploded without causing serious damage.

Some of the so-called pro-Russian military correspondents report with reference to the Wagner Group that on Jan. 21, mercenaries shot down a Ukrainian Mil Mi-8 helicopter with MANPADS in the Bakhmut area. However, the quality of the video does not allow us to see whether the helicopter was actually shot down, and if so, which one.

Pro-Russian “military correspondent” Alexander Sladkov believes that a second wave of mobilization is inevitable. In his opinion, it is needed at least to "reinforce the lessons of the first [wave] of mobilization, and to replace the men mobilized during the first wave on the frontline."

He also writes that Russian repair units have long been salvaging and returning to service US-provided Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and Stryker armored fighting vehicles. Note that such vehicles have not yet been supplied to Ukraine.

The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, citing several workers from Kyrgyzstan, writes that at least one of them was not allowed to leave Russia for Kazakhstan at the end of December. Apart from citizenship of Kyrgyzstan, the worker also had Russian citizenship. The border guards explained that his name was in the list of those subject to mobilization and, therefore, he was prohibited to leave Russia until Feb. 12.

The New York Times, citing American sources, writes that the Russian Imperial Movement, an organization headquartered in St. Petersburg, founded in 2002 by Stanislav Vorobyov, is behind a mail bombing spree in Spain in November and December of 2022. It was recognized as a terrorist organization by the US State Department in 2020 and by Canada in 2021. The Movement is believed to have close ties with Russia’sGRU [Main Intelligence Directorate, and thus, it implies that Russia is willing to organize terrorist attacks throughout Europe in case of an escalation.

Pro-Russian Telegram channels and military correspondents write that after Valery Gerasimov was appointed Commander of the Joint Group of Forces, General Teplinsky, who had been appointed commander of the Airborne Forces on June 16, 2022, was dismissed due to a refusal to use paratroopers in the ongoing direct assaults. The information is yet to be confirmed, and the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense still shows Gen. Teplinsky as the commander of the Airborne Forces. We cannot prove whether airborne infantry took part in the assault on Soledar, but we know that they fought in this direction. We also know that these units have been used as assault infantry (which is not their primary function) from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Lieutenant General Oleg Makarevich, who has nothing to do with paratroopers, has been reportedly appointed the new commander of the Airborne Forces. He served in various motorized rifle divisions. In 2017, he was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy responsible for the coastal troops, and in 2019 he took up the post of First Deputy Head of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia.

Makarevich is considered to be close to Gerasimov since he was deputy head of the Military Academy of Russia’s General Staff. We believe that these reshuffles will not change the approach of the Russian command to the war and the paratroopers will continue to be used as assault infantry. The Army of the Russian Federation is a monolithic structure: if an independent general appears and expresses his opinion on the use of any kind of troops, he will be quickly removed.

A video has been posted showing a Readovka [Russian online news resource linked to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin] correspondent being wounded near Soledar. It is important to note that she is dressed entirely in military attire without any insignia associated with the press. It can also be seen that she was wounded by accident by a mine fragment and not by any high-precision weapon.