November 8, 2023

Sitrep for Nov. 6-8, 2023 (as of 9 a.m. UTC+3)

Frontline Situation Update

The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue their operations on the left bank of the Dnipro River near the village of Krynky. A video has surfaced showing a Ukrainian Medium Floating Carrier purportedly transporting a BTR-4 armored personnel carrier in its cargo hold across the river. While the poor video quality does not allow to make a definitive identification, the vehicle transported is likely some type of armored transport.

Despite this new development, we are still of the opinion that it remains unlikely for the AFU to use this method of transportation to supply a large-scale offensive operation, given the likelihood of Russian forces targeting military vehicles attempting to cross the river.

The Ukrainian DeepState project has analyzed a new tactic employed by Russian forces, referencing footage from battles at the Vremevsky Ledge published last week. Four Russian assault troops were observed using FPV drones to support an attack on AFU positions between Staromaiorske and Pryiutne, which were defended by 13 Ukrainian soldiers.

Earlier, both sides actively used drones to attack enemy military equipment and concentrations of manpower behind the frontline, or employed drones to drop bombs before launching attacks on positions. However, the Russian side has now started to use kamikaze drones as an “assault weapon.” The first video shows Russian soldiers successfully launching kamikaze drone attacks on a Ukrainian trench, killing a machine gunner and three other soldiers. Subsequently, they assault the second trench while continuing to launch improvised airstrikes. Out of the five AFU soldiers present, three were killed, and the survivors, including four soldiers who were in a dugout, had to retreat. As a result, Russian forces were able to capture these positions without incurring losses, using eight drones, whereas the AFU lost seven servicemen.

The effective use of drones during fortification assaults, including by the Russian side, raises questions of the further development of anti-drone warfare.

Ukrainian and Russian Strikes

Russian forces once again attacked the bridge over the Sukhi Yaly River in the South Donetsk direction. A week ago they had already attacked this bridge with a Kh-38 missile. The bridge sustained damage but was not completely destroyed. It remains uncertain whether an air-dropped bomb or a missile was used in this strike.

Ukrainian forces hit a building at 49, Chelyuskintsiv Street, in the Voroshylovskyi district of Donetsk. Pro-Russian sources claim that the Department of Labor and Social Protection of the Population is located at this address; however, the actual target was the Republican Center for Unmanned Systems of the “DPR” named after Vladimir Zhoga [a Russian-Ukrainian separatist who commanded the Sparta Battalion, a pro-Russian separatist force that is involved in the war]. According to the Head of the so-called DPR Denys Pushylin, six people were killed and 11 more were injured as a result of the strike, while the occupation mayor of Donetsk announced 25 casualties.

Not all UAV operator training centers can be classified as military targets. For instance, in Russia, authorities have initiated the training of UAV pilots in regular schools. However, in this particular case, as the chief of this center, operating under the call sign "Inok," revealed in an interview in April 2023, "only active-duty military personnel are trained at the center." Consequently, this Unmanned Systems Center could undoubtedly be considered a legitimate military target.

On the video, a second strike can also be heard, occurring some time after the initial one. However, it remains unclear whether this strike was directed at the same building, and what was the exact extent of human casualties resulting from either of the strikes. In an RT [Russia Today, a Russian state-controlled international news television network]report, a wounded individual in military uniform can be observed.

The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel published the names and photographs of three Russian Airborne Forces colonels killed on Nov. 1: Vadim Dobryakov, the deputy head of the Airborne Troops' command center; Aleksey Koblov, the head of the operational management department of the Airborne Troops' headquarters; and Aleksandr Galkin, the duty officer at the Airborne Troops' command. These obituaries confirm the attack on the command post of the Group of Troops “Dnepr,” allegedly carried out by an ATACMS tactical ballistic missile. Earlier, the Astra Telegram channel reported a minimum of two fatalities and three injuries resulting from this strike.

On Nov. 6, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported that the largest number of air-dropped bombs equipped with Universal Gliding and Correction Modules (UMPK) in a single day had been dropped by Russian forces on populated areas in the Kherson region, totaling 87 bombs. This resulted in casualties and the destruction of houses and civilian infrastructure.

A photograph of a 250 kg air-dropped bomb with UMPK has appeared, clearly showing the preserved mechanism of the gliding and correction module.

Photos of damage to the Russian Navy's Askold Karakurt-Class Corvette have been published, which was hit near the Zaliv shipyard in Kerch on Nov. 4. The damage sustained by the ship appears significant, and it will probably be out of commission until the end of the war.

The first video recording of the strike (reportedly, one missile hit the pier, and two missiles hit the ship) was apparently published by the pro-Russian Telegram channel Osvedomitel [Informant], which was launched in September by former members of the editorial board of the Voyenny Osvedomitel [Military Informant] Telegram channel, even though their post claims that the footage was released by Ukrainian sources.

According to our assessment, Russian forces have significantly reduced the number of 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile strikes this year. Occasionally, interceptions of these missiles make their way into AFU situation reports, but there have been no notable strikes in the last few months. However, substantial damage is still being caused by air-dropped bombs with UMPK, Lancet UAVs, Iskander short-range ballistic missiles, Kh-38 air-to-surface missiles and others.

Head of the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region Yevhen Balytskyi officially confirmed that Russia is building a railway in the southern part of the occupied territories. He stated that the railway will extend from Yakymivka, south of Melitopol, to Rostov-on-Don, passing through Berdiansk and Mariupol. In late September, Petro Andryushchenko, Advisor to the Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol, reported the construction of a road connecting Mariupol to Donetsk and Russian territory. Subsequently, this construction was confirmed by satellite images. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published an investigation about the companies involved in building the railway and also showed satellite images of the road construction.

Western Assistance

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated that the issue of transferring Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles to Ukraine is not urgent, since it will not be “a game changer” in the war initiated by Russia against Ukraine. This argument appears to be somewhat misguided, as no weapon can truly be deemed a "game changer." However, this should not be used as a reason to delay support for Ukraine.

A photo has surfaced, showing an Abrams tank apparently located somewhere in Ukraine. The image also features a belt buckle with the crest of the AFU 14th Tank Brigade.

A video has emerged featuring a Russian soldier who mentions receiving a new type of ammunition from some "friends" similar to the “twenty-seconds,” but with an extended range and improved precision. In the background, one can see BM-21 Grad MLRS 122mm rockets, which strongly resemble Soviet 9M22 rockets. Some analysts believe that these are North Korean projectiles, although it remains unclear why they are being said to have an increased range and precision, given that North Korean projectiles are functionally equivalent to Soviet 9M22 rockets. There have been previous reports of Russian forces using North Korean projectiles supplied by Iran.

In Ufa, Oleg Mikhailov, a 25-year-old former mercenary from the Wagner Group, was detained for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a female acquaintance. He was first arrested in 2012 for phone theft, and later, several more times for causing bodily harm. In 2022, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for murder. However, in the same year, he joined the Wagner Group and went to fight in Ukraine, and was pardoned six months later.

In Moscow, mothers and wives of Russian soldiers organized a picket at a Communist Party of the Russian Federation rally, demanding the return of their loved ones from the frontline. Law enforcement officers led them away from the rally, but no detentions occurred. The organizers of the rally stated that the picket had no affiliation with them.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of former Wagner group mercenaries undergoing military training as part of the Akhmat battalion. According to one of the video's participants, Akhmat is the only unit capable of providing equipment that matches their level of training.