November 16, 2022

Sitrep for November 15–16 (as of 15:00)

On November 15, apparently, a Ukrainian S-300 (SA-10 Grumble) air defense system missile fell in Poland, near the village of Przewodów.

First, photographs of the crater appeared, and then photographs of the missile fragments were published, which made it clear that it was a 5V55 missile of the S-300 air defense system.

The Ukraine Weapons Tracker project also identified the wreckage of this missile.

Most likely, during the massive missile attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, Russian forces tried to hit the Dobrotvir TPP (near Lviv), which connects the Ukrainian energy system with the European one (in July, Ukrainian electricity was exported to Europe with the help of this TPP).

Ukrainian air defense launched an S-300 air defense system missile to intercept a cruise missile flying towards the power plant. The interception failed, and the Ukrainian missile did not self-destruct, but flew towards Poland and exploded on its territory. If this version is correct, then the air defense of Ukraine cannot be accused of a war crime.

The scenario whereby a Russian cruise missile flew towards Poland due to some kind of malfunction seems to us almost improbable.

A similar incident occurred in Dagestan, Russia, in 2020 during the Karabakh war, when a missile, most likely fired by an Azerbaijani S-300 air defense system, fell in the mountains of Dagestan.

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, said there was no evidence to suggest it was an intentional attack on Poland and that it was most likely a Russian-made S-300 missile.

US President Joe Biden said the missile that landed in Poland was unlikely to have been fired by Russia. Other US officials say that (according to preliminary data) the missile was fired by Ukrainian air defense at an incoming Russian missile.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that precision strikes were carried out only on targets on the territory of Ukraine at a distance of at least 35 km from the Ukrainian-Polish border — which exactly corresponds with the distance from the border to the Dobrotvir TPP, a power line to Zamosc (Poland) is also situated there. It is very likely that Russian forces tried to attack this thermal power plant in order to prevent the possible electricity transmission from Poland to Ukraine.

On November 15, one of the largest missile attacks on Ukraine took place. Energy infrastructure facilities were targeted once again.

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine reported that a missile which fell on a residential building in Kyiv was shot down by an air defense system. One woman has been confirmed dead. All residents of the building have been evacuated.

As a result of the attack, significant parts of the grids in Lviv, Rivne, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr were without power.

Ukrenergo called the current situation critical. Most of the hits were recorded in central and northern Ukraine. In Kyiv, the situation is very difficult, special emergency blackout schedules are being introduced. Emergency blackouts are necessary to balance the power system and avoid equipment failures. Strong power surges were recorded in the neighborhoods where power wasn’t cut.

Due to power cuts in different districts of Rivne, traffic lights and street lighting stopped working, trolleybuses stopped right on the road.

There were also problems with electricity in Moldova, as it stopped receiving electricity from Romania. Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Spinu linked the blackouts to a Russian missile attack: “After the Russian bombardment of the Ukrainian energy system, for the past hour, one of the power lines providing our country with electricity was automatically disconnected.”

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban convened a meeting of the Security Council after supply of oil to the country via the Druzhba pipeline was halted. The Hungarian company explained the shutdown by Russia’s firing at a Ukrainian transformer substation which provided electricity to the pumping station of the oil pipeline.

Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said that Russia had launched about a hundred Kh-101, Kh-555 and Kalibr missiles at Ukraine. Also, 10 Shahed-136 loitering munitions and an Orion attack drone (better known in Russia as Inokhodetz) were also shot down.

Sea-based Kalibr missiles were launched from the Black Sea, and air-launched Kh-101, Kh-555 missiles — from the Caspian Sea and the Rostov region.

21 missiles were fired at Kyiv, 18 of them were intercepted.

During the retreat from the Dnipro's right bank, Russian forces destroyed two autotransformers (each weighing 250 tons), which provided power supply to the entire right bank of the Kherson region and a significant part of the Mykolaiv region..

According to reports, Russian troops also destroyed two electrical substations in the town of Oleshky located on the left bank of the Dnipro, depriving the settlement of electricity, water supply and heating. There are still quite a few Russian servicemen in the town.

On November 15, the town of Shebekino, Belgorod region was attacked. A few local media outlets have reported on the Ukrainian shelling, but no exact information has been released. A water pavilion and a pharmacy were hit, and several people were killed.

The governor of the Orel region Andrei Klychkov reports that on the morning of November 16, an unknown UAV attacked an oil depot in the village of Stalnoi Kon located about 175 km from the border with Ukraine.

The situation on the front line

Over the past couple of days, there have been many rumors that the Kinburn Spit, Hola Prystan, Nova Kakhovka, and Oleshky have come under Ukraine's control. Analyst Def Mon considers it a myth. Areas on the left bank located 15-20 km from the Dnipro are expected to become no man’s land in the near future, since they will be within Ukrainian artillery range.

Russian troops will probably reduce their presence in the area, leaving small reconnaissance groups and locating the main forces 20-30 kilometers behind. Most likely, Ukrainian forces will not attempt to liberate or hold settlements on the Dnipro's left bank. This is because it is too difficult to supply a large number of troops via ferry crossings. Ukraine's special operations forces, however, may carry out activities across the river.

There is a map of Russian fortifications showing that they are not located at the Dnipro's bank, but a little further away on higher ground, making these positions more suitable for defense.

Conscripts from the Smolensk Region say that they were forced to retreat away from the left bank of the Dnipro river because they haven’t been provided with means to defend themselves nor with ways to communicate with their headquarters. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces are shelling Russian positions there and correcting fire with the help of aerial drones.

November 15 saw shellings along the entire front line. The UAF General Staff no longer withholds information about strike locations in the Kherson Region.

The UAF General Staff hasn’t confirmed the capture by Russian forces of the town of Bilohorivka in Donetsk Region as attacks there continue.

The complete takeover of the village of Pavlivka is not being confirmed either. Most likely, half of Pavlivka is under Russian control and the other half is controlled by the Ukrainians.

The head of Donetsk regional military administration Pavlo Kyrylenko warned that the winter would be very difficult for Mariupol.

Sweden will transfer a package of military aid to Ukraine worth almost 300 million dollars. Air defense systems are included. According to the Swedish Defense Minister Ulf Kristersson, this package is larger than the eight previous ones put together and its contents correspond to the priorities listed by the Ukrainians.

The United States has intelligence on Russia deliberately delaying the public announcement about the retreat from the right bank of the Dnipro river until after the US midterm elections lest such news give additional advantage to the Biden administration.

According to Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Chief of Staff of the President of Ukraine, Evgeny Nuzhin, the man whose execution was published by Telegram channels close to the Wagner Group, underwent the official prisoner exchange procedure and voluntarily agreed to be exchanged.

The head of the Wagner Group Evgeny Prigozhin submitted a statement to the Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov accusing American special services of the execution of Evgeny Nuzhin.

A volunteer soldier Aleksandr Leshkov who spoke on behalf of the mobilized soldiers at a riot at the Patriot Park and shoved an officer is under preliminary investigation and has been detained.

According to Russian zookeeper Oleg Zubkov, the decision to take racoons from the Kherson Zoo was taken by the local authorities (i.e. the occupation administration).