February 1, 2023

Sitrep for January 31 — February 1 (as of 2:00 p.m.)

The situation on the frontline

In the Svatove direction, despite the absence of significant changes, OSINT analyst Def Mon noted that the line of contact is now running through the settlement of Pidkuychansk again (earlier we reported that Russian troops had managed to push the AFU away from this village).

In the Kreminna direction, the situation has not changed much either. The RuAF mainly attack in the Yampolivka direction, which is confirmed by a regular report of the General Staff of the AFU.

In the Bakhmut direction, the situation is still dangerous for Ukrainian forces. Since Blahodatne has been captured for several days, we can state that the route to Siversk has been completely cut off. The two remaining routes — highways to Sloviansk and Kostiantynivka — are dangerous and practically unsuitable for travel. Thus, the AFU can only use country roads for the supply of Bakhmut now.

On the Donetsk axis, after the capture of the settlement of Pisky in October last year, the RuAF had no success, but they continue their efforts to advance in the area of Vodiane.

The situation continues to develop in the Vuhledar direction. According to a Ukrainian military microblogger, the AFU managed to repel the attacks of the Russian marines and push them back at least from the northern suburban settlement (the closest one to Vuhledar). As a result, the pace of Russian attacks slowed down, which is directly related to both the heavy losses of the marines and the worsening weather conditions (muddy season).

It recently came to light that the US will soon announce a new package of military aid to Ukraine. Reuters, citing American officials, reported that the package would include Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDBs). By their nature, these are high-precision aerial bombs, which are launched from the ground. The basis of the design is  the GBU-39 guided Small Diameter Bomb with a 93 kg warhead (which is much less than common 500 kg bombs). It is equipped with wings, which allow it to glide, and various targeting systems. This core is then paired with a missile delivery system from decommissioned cluster munitions for Multiple Launch Rocket Systems HIMARS or M270 (possibly also for MARS 2 and LRU). At high altitude, the bomb section separates from the missile body and glides to its target using precision targeting. There’re two main differences between GLSDB and GMLRS:

  • distance — GLSDB can glide up to the distance of 150 km;
  • cost — a GBU-39 costs around $40,000 while a GMLRS costs $168,000.

The new package will also include:

  • additional missiles for Patriot SAM systems;
  • precision-guided munitions (presumably 155mm M982 Excalibur artillery shells);
  • additional Javelin anti-tank weapons.

The impact of the arrival of GLSDB can be comparable to the impact of HIMARS systems with GMLRS rockets. Before that, Russian forces were positioning command centers and ammunition caches near the front lines, which allowed for effective combat operations. After the arrival of HIMARS systems with high-precision munitions with a 80 km range, there were daily reports of high value targets being struck behind the enemy lines. This forced Russian forces to drastically change their logistics: move all important assets at least 100 km from the front line, which resulted in longer time for resupply and a sharp increase in need of trucks and drivers.

If the front line does not change significantly, GLSDBs would be able to hit the targets in the area of ​​Chonhar [village in the Kherson region] and Armyansk [town on the Perekop isthmus in the north of the Crimean peninsula]. Chonhar is the main logistics hub connecting the southern part of the Russian Armed Forces grouping and Crimea.

President Putin signed a decree that allowed inspection of cars crossing the borders of regions with the “yellow” terror-alert level. Previously, this procedure was allowed only at the "red" (critical) level. The decree also cancels the limit of the length of terror-alert levels in the regions. Before the decree, the established level could not be longer than 15 days. This required to constantly extend the term.

Tomsk State University has created a site for timely notification and collection of reservists and sending citizens to the assembly point. The site should start operating within two hours after receiving the "Line-222" signal from the enlistment office of Tomsk. The messengers must start delivering draft notices in four hours after the start of the site's operation. The ratio is set at one messenger per ten draft notices and allows the University students as messengers.

A source of the Mozhem Ob'yasnit [We can explain] Telegram channel, close to the Ministry of Education and Science, handed over a letter to the editors clarifying issues of mobilization, sent on Jan. 27 to subordinate organizations. According to it, all educational institutions must conduct ongoing preparations for mobilization activities (including issues of draft exemption).

Some sources suggest that the second wave of mobilization will be announced during the presidential address to the Federal Assembly (Feb. 20-21).

A court in Russia returned a verdict under the article “Terrorist act” of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation for the first time in its practice for setting fire to a draft office. Vladislav Borisenko was sentenced to 12 years in a maximum security colony for filming the arson process on video. We are inclined to believe that attempts to set fire to draft offices almost never produce results, but have serious consequences in the form of long terms of imprisonment.

The name of another person who was killed in the strike on Makiivka on Jan. 1 has become known. It’s Ilya Makarov. Now there are 97 people on our dead list.

"Hero's desks" dedicated to the soldiers who were killed in the “special military operation” will soon appear in universities and colleges.To date, more than 11,000 desks have already been placed in 6,000 schools across the country. Although the figure is inaccurate, it corresponds to the number on the name list of KIAs from the Russian side.

The pro-government “military expert” and the author of the Rybar Telegram channel stated that by Sept. 1, shortly before mobilization, the losses of the Russian Airborne Forces amounted to 40-50% of the personnel. We believe this is plausible but do not know how to verify this data. In the war with Ukraine, paratroopers, as a rule, are used in the role of assault infantry, which is unusual for them, so they suffer great losses.

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service has published the latest statistics on the convict population serving time in penal colonies and prisons. The numbers indicate that the rate of recruitment of convicts into the Wagner Group has decreased sharply. In November 2022, Mediazona [an independent Russian media outlet] noticed that the number of convicts at correctional institutions dropped abruptly by 23 thousand people. Currently, this number is no longer decreasing (although the statistics are no longer broken down by gender). It is likely that the convicts are saying no recruiters more frequently after the publication of the video showing the extra-judicial execution of Yevgeniy Nuzhin. The latest number of convicts recruited into the Wagner Group reported by the Rus’ Sidyashchaya [Russia Behind Bars] civil rights movement was 50,000 people.

The Russian Ministry of Defense published a feature about Nikolay Kuznetsov, a grandson of a USSR Navy Admiral, who gave his account of how he had been drafted and how his military service was going. After noticing the tactical marking of the 3rd Army Corps (a bear’s paw) on one of the tanks shown, we conclude that the 3rd Army Corps, initially formed pre-mobilization as an all-volunteer unit, is sustaining losses and is being replenished with draftees.

The German government signed a contract to manufacture Wident 1 armored engineer and demining vehicles for the Ukrainian Army and to deliver them during the year 2023. These vehicles are mounted on the Leopard 1 tank chassis.

A photo has been published showing a captured T-62 tank being repurposed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine into an ARV, which they lack.

A video has surfaced showing an American M88A2 Hercules ARV in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The shipment of such vehicles has never been reported.

On Jan. 31, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov met with French President Emmanuel Macron. Following the meeting, it was announced that France would supply Ukraine with 12 more Caesar self-propelled guns and with Ground Master 200 medium-range radars.

Commander of the Leopard training center in Poland Maciej Banashinsky said that should training be intensified by increasing the number of instructors and optimizing the schedule (by including weekends), an entire tank crew might be ready in five weeks. Such a time frame seems not sufficient enough, but if just the tank crew training was implied, without unit cohesion, then it may be achievable. According to our estimates, the minimum period of full-fledged training, including between-unit cohesion, is about three months.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was sanctioned and had to sell the Chelsea football club. Prior to the deal, he expressed the wish that the proceeds from the sale be "donated to a charitable foundation for the needs of victims on both sides of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine." But these funds are out of his reach, at the disposal of the British authorities, and it is up to them to decide how to allocate them.