Sitrep for January 5-9 (as of 4:30 p.m.)
Clarification to our previous sitrep: the M2A2 Bradley is an infantry fighting vehicle since it is equipped with a 25mm autocannon and a TOW missile system. We also note that the BMP-3 IFV and the AMX-10RC AFV are military vehicles of different classes, but, like the M113 APC and a MRAP vehicle, they can be compared in terms of the effect they can have on the battlefield (for example, the differences in the muzzle velocity of the projectile do not have many values during the current invasion, but the BMP-3 IFV has an advantage since it is designed both to transport mechanized infantry units and to provide fire support in combat operations).
The situation on the frontline
The General Staff of the AFU reported strikes in the area of the village of Kuzmine (near the village of Dibrova), which leads to the conclusion that Ukrainian forces are already operating there.
OSINT analyst Def Mon analyzed the situation in the area of Kreminna and marked the positions of the Russian and Ukrainian forces on the map: there is still no objective evidence confirming the presence of Russian forces in Dibrova, but there are both Ukrainian and Russian positions directly next to this settlement. He also marks the Ukrainian advance towards the village of Kuzmine.
The frosts, which partially reduced the negative influence of the muddy season, caused some problems with military vehicles: the mud in which tracked vehicles had got stuck froze, so now some of them are almost impossible to budge. Besides, tracked chassis if not cleaned properly before overnight parking may break down.
Over the past 3 days, a number of serious changes have occurred on the Bakhmut — Soledar — Siversk — Kreminna front. On the Bakhmut — Soledar axis, the Russian forces, having received reinforcements, were able to advance towards Soledar. Now urban fighting is going on there (this maneuver is aimed at cutting off part of Bakhmut's supply routes through Siversk and Sloviansk), so now Def Mon considers it a disputed area. Wagner Group mercenaries have already published videos geolocated in the town center. We believe that reinforcements of several paratrooper battalions were actually able to provide significant assistance to the Wagner Group. This is disputed by Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, the confidant of Vladimir Putin and owner of the Wagner Group], who claims the Wagner Group is the only unit fighting on this axis.
Besides cutting off Bakhmut from its supply lines, one of the aims of pro-Russian forces on the territories between Bakhmut and Soledar is to capture the high-ground needed to establish fire control over roads connecting these two towns.
The situation to the south of Bakhmut hasn’t yet changed significantly. Russian forces are trying to cross the Siverskyi Donets — Donbas Canal (Kurdiumivka and Ozarianivka) and attack Klishchiivka.
Information has emerged on the capture of Bakhmutske (a village northeast of Bakhmut) by Russian forces.
The AFU hit the Russian commandant’s office in the village of Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region. Reportedly, 6 people were killed and 37 wounded. The Russian-appointed head of the Zaporizhzhia region may have been the target; however, he was not hurt in the strike.
Witness accounts have emerged of Russia using thermite incendiary munitions against residential buildings in Marinka, which is a war crime.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed that Russian troops allegedly carried out a "retaliatory operation" for the AFU attack on Makiivka on New Year's Eve (the Defense Ministry reported 89 KIAs). Pro-Russian sources reported the destruction of Ukrainian positions in Kramatorsk with a large number of killed AFU soldiers. However, judging by the photos, one rocket hit near the building (the building itself was not badly damaged), and the second one hit near the garages. Moreover, a CNN team on the ground has seen no indication of any massive casualties in the area, e.g. helping WIAs and transporting KIAs after the strike.
As for the Russian military correspondents, only the most loyal of them are allowed to be on the front line — those who communicate the official position only, instead of real reports from the scene (for example, Evgeniy Poddubny and Aleksandr Kots).
Another large security assistance package for Ukraine and financial support to European allies to replenish their stockpiles has been announced by the USA. Capabilities in this package include:
- 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles;
- 500 TOW anti-tank missiles;
- 250,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition;
- 100 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
- 55 MRAPs;
- 138 HMMWVs;
- 18 М109 155mm self-propelled Howitzers;
- 18 ammunition support vehicles;
- 70,000 155mm artillery rounds;
- 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds (probably, Excalibur);
- 1,200 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems;
- 36 105mm towed Howitzers;
- 95,000 105mm artillery rounds;
- 10,000 120mm mortar rounds;
- additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
- RIM-7 missiles for air defense;
- 4,000 Zuni aircraft rockets;
- 2,000 anti-armor rockets;
- Sniper rifles, machine guns, and ammunition for grenade launchers and small arms;
- Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
- Night vision devices and optics;
- Spare parts and other field equipment.
A video has surfaced showing 50 promised Bradley infantry fighting vehicles already in Bulgaria; very soon, they will arrive in Ukraine. In addition, the start of training for 500 Ukrainian military personnel to operate these infantry fighting vehicles has been announced, from which we can conclude that 50 units are only the first delivery.
We do not rule out the possibility that the situation on the front line may change with such a large-scale assistance package. Perhaps, we will see a Ukrainian offensive — for example, in the Zaporozhzhia direction.
Over the past two days, the press has often written that Poland and Germany are considering supplying tanks to Ukraine. We had already observed a similar situation with the Patriot SAMsystem when Poland and Germany seemed to want to supply the system to Ukraine. Still, no one took responsibility for this decision, fearing an escalation. And now, after the U.S. announced the delivery of this system, European politicians also began to talk about the supply of heavier weapons.
Germany has also updated the list of military aid for Ukraine:
- 20 pickup-based APKWS 70mm missile launchers;
- 2 BREM armored repair and recovery vehicles;
- 1 Oshkosh M1070 tank transporter tractor;
- 7 tracked vehicles with remote control;
- 63 pickups;
- 17 trucks 8x8;
- 1 ambulance;
- 12 heavy trucks with trailers;
- 36,400 wool blankets;
- 21 generators and mobile heating systems;
- 8 reconnaissance drones;
- 27 drone jammers;
- 30 drone detection systems.
Also, the German Defense Ministry discusses the supply of 20 up to 40 Marder IFVs to Ukraine. In case of a positive decision it can be delivered very soon as IFVs are in stock.
Following the USA, Germany announced the supply of a Patriot SAM system.
Semi-annual contracts with first prisoners recruited by the Wagner Group in summer have expired. RIA FAN [Internet news agency linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin] and RIA Novosti [Russian state-owned news agency] have published a video with Yevgeny Prigozhin visiting such prisoners. He congratulates them on being free and going home. The basis for their "release" is still unclear as the pardon decrees can be issued only by Putin. Some prisoners in the video have already been identified. There are convicted of murder among them.
Different Telegram channels publish photos of allegedly new draft notices but they clearly look fake.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, the second wave of mobilization in Russia will start on Jan. 15. Perhaps, such articles push back the date (as in case with the date of the invasion, which was postponed several times).
Some foreign media outlets write that 500,000 people are going to be mobilized additionally but the number will probably be classified as in the September decree.