November 29, 2022

Sitrep for November 28-29 (as of 2:00 pm)

The situation on the frontline

Based on the reports of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine about strikes on the Svatove axis, it can be concluded that the settlements of Tabaivka and Berestove were liberated by Ukrainian forces. This is particularly important because these are the last settlements before the motorway to Svatove.

The situation continues to develop on the Bakhmut axis. Ozarianivka appears to have finally come under Russian control. The importance of this settlement lies in the fact that the Siverskyi Donets-Donbass Canal passes near Ozarianivka and Kurdyumivka. Its width is about 15 meters, and it is a fairly significant natural barrier, but in Ozarianivka and Kurdyumovka there are land crossings over it. Building a pontoon crossing in the current conditions is fraught with falling under fire.

Kurdyumivka is already reported to have been captured, but there is no confirmation of that fact yet. It would be quite logical for Ukrainian forces to retreat from Kurdyumivka to avoid an encirclement by the Russians.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel WarGonzo claims that the entire line Ozarianivka — KurdyumivkaZelenopillia is controlled by Russian forces, and emphasizes that, advancing along the motorway in the direction of Chasiv Yar, Russian forces are approaching the encirclement of Bakhmut. Nevertheless, they are unlikely to be able to cut the Kostyantynivka-Bakhmut motorway (one of the ways to supply the Armed Forces of Ukraine) in the near future, so the AFU retreat from Bakhmut is not to be expected yet.

On the Kherson axis, Ukrainian forces managed to build a pontoon crossing over the Inhulets River near the destroyed Darivsky bridge; there used to be a Russian pontoon crossing there. This crossing creates a continuous logistical connection between Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih (Nikopol) axes.

On the night of November 29, Russian forces launched a missile attack on an industrial enterprise in Dnipro. To our knowledge, there were no casualties, but the enterprise itself suffered serious damage.

On November 27, five Tu-95 strategic bombers flew from Dyagilevo airfield in the Ryazan region to Engels airfield in the Saratov region. Such redeployments commonly precede massive strikes on the territory of Ukraine, as air-launched cruise missiles are often launched from such bombers. These events were also reported by the Air Force of Ukraine.

On the afternoon of November 29, air raid alerts were announced across Ukraine (alerts were subsequently canceled – CIT).

Ukraine's state-owned defense holding Ukroboronprom reports to have launched the production of 152 mm ammunition (Soviet caliber). Surprisingly, the production is reported to be domestic. If this is true, then this would clearly help reduce logistic costs, but to ensure safety it would be more logical to establish production outside of Ukraine. In addition, it was previously reported that Ukroboronprom agreed with a number of Eastern European countries to jointly produce ammunition and weapons on their territory, so this news needs to be clarified.

German Defense Ministry spokesman Arno Kollatz said that Germany would like to keep its Patriot surface-to-air missile systems in the NATO air defense system. Earlier, these systems had been promised to Poland in exchange for sending some Polish weapons to Ukraine, but after the S-300 missile flew into Polish territory, Polish representatives offered to send the Patriot systems to Ukraine. On this matter, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said that Germany’s word will be the last

The Ukrainian soldiers demonstrate effective use of mounted automatic grenade launchers as a substitute for mortars. They fire on a lofted trajectory while correcting fire from a drone.

Mobilization news

The SOTA online media reports that the Russian draft boards began banning men from going abroad again. It became known from the story of a man who came to a military commissariat to clarify his registration data and was told about the foreign travel ban by the military commissar (possibly to intimidate the man). There are no reports of unsuccessful attempts to cross the border yet.

News that general mobilization will begin on December 10 arouses skepticism. First, the announcement of general mobilization does not seem very plausible. And secondly, the start date – the middle of December – is doubtful since the regular biannual conscription for compulsory military service won't be completed by that time. Military commissariats do not have enough resources to carry out conscription and mobilization activities simultaneously. Therefore, the second wave of mobilization will possibly start in January.

Recently, there have been more reports from both sides about awful weather. This is one of the reasons why the fighting has become less intensive. Shelling is ongoing, but the movement of troops has slowed. Thus, a large number of draftees are not urgently needed in the combat zone.

As the past nine months have shown, it is extremely difficult to predict developments on the front lines. Nevertheless, the liberation of Crimea in the near future seems unlikely.

A contract serviceman in Chita decided to submit a resignation letter to his military unit. His unit's commander refused him, citing the decree on mobilization. The soldier appealed the refusal to a military garrison court, but the court sided with the commander: until a legal act that terminates the "partial" mobilization is in effect or until the existing decree is otherwise canceled, mobilization is considered ongoing.

On November 16, the body of a colonel with five gunshot wounds was found in the Pacific Higher Naval School. According to the official narrative, this was a suicide. The serviceman's widow wrote an open letter to Vladimir Putin, in which she stated that her husband was made responsible for a shortage of equipment for mobilized soldiers. In her view, he took his own life due to this accusation and the treatment of draftees he had witnessed.

An interesting aspect of this story is that it is very typical: the responsibility for a huge shortage of equipment is placed on a random person, no matter who is really to blame. Examples of this can be seen frequently in the military: someone skilled in something is often appointed to a position requiring a totally different skill set.

From Russia’s Republic of Komi, canned meat is sent to the frontline with jokey stickers attached. “Well-fed and dangerous”, “For boosting morale” and so on.

250 convicts sentenced to forced labor in Nizhny Tagil will be employed at UralVagonZavod [Russian machine building company] and involved in the production of various armored vehicles.

Before the start of the NATO session in Bucharest, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba stated that member countries should promptly increase weapon manufacturing: “Instead of counting on them and spending months on trying to convince them, production has to be launched so that … we do not fall dependent on the whims of third countries who have stuff in stocks but who are not willing to share it"

Without weaponry, it is impossible to conduct military operations. One of the key factors in the success of the Kharkiv operation was the steady flow of large military equipment shipments to Ukraine, reported weekly. In recent weeks though, more and more indications have appeared that most European countries have exhausted their capabilities, and they have nothing left to provide Ukraine with, and the production of weapons and ammunition is yet in the early stages of relaunching.

Slovakia handed over 30 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. The BMP is one of the most demanded combat vehicles at the front. The news is good, because such vehicles are very rarely shared: everyone needs them, they are useful in any type of conflict, and few countries want to part with them.