Sitrep for October 13-16 (as of 16:00)
The situation on the front line
Ukrainian troops are advancing in the direction of Svatove from Petropavlivka and Kupiansk. The Kraken unit reports about the liberation of Kyslivka and Kotlyarivka. There is also a video showing Ukrainian forces in Krokhmal'ne (south of Kotlyarivka).
Many experts believe that Russian forces will now attempt to attack Bakhmut from the north and south, cutting it off from the supply line. Both sides try to use this tactic in order to force the enemy forces to retreat from cities.
It was relatively quiet on the Kherson axis in the previous days. Russian attacks on Nova Kam'yanka and Sukhyi Stavok were reported, both attacks were repulsed.
Western media (with reference to Western military officials) report that the entire Kherson region up to the Dnipro could be liberated as early as next week. Our team doubts the feasibility of these plans.
Over the past 24 hours, many pro-Russian Telegram channels (including WarGonzo – the channel of pro-Russian journalist Semyon Pegov) have reported that Ukrainians have started attacks on the Russian defense line, but their outcome is not yet clear. FIRMS satellite imagery of fires confirms the intensification of fighting.
Also, pro-Russian Telegram channels (for example, Grey Zone, and Sladkov +) write that a crisis for the Russian Armed Forces in the Kherson region is developing. Heavy fighting has begun, and a Ukrainian counteroffensive with artillery preparation is underway in the Novohryhorivka-Mylove axis. After pulling up the reserves, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are again trying to break through the front line. With a further offensive they may be able to reach the outskirts of Kherson.
Russian forces continue to bombard Ukrainian cities with S-300 missiles and Shahed-136 loitering munitions. On October 13, Kharkiv was shelled, and on the morning of October 14, Zaporizhzhia was shelled. We do not have exact information about the casualties yet.
Shelling of the Belgorod region
On October 14, the "Luch" thermal power plant in Belgorod was hit. We believe that it was either an Excalibur high-precision projectile or a HIMARS missile. We assume that it was not a loitering munition, because on the video at the moment of arrival we hear a sound similar to a whistle, but no sound of a drone engine.
Considering that this is not the first similar incident, we believe that this may be a demonstration of the Ukrainian willingness to fire on the Russian energy infrastructure in response, which is a violation of international humanitarian law, even if it is in response to the actions of the Russian Armed Forces. Our team believes that such shelling could be bad for the prospects of supplying long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine.
The AFU struck an ammunition depot in the Belgorod region on October 13, 3 National Guard servicemen were killed, 19 were injured.
In the morning on October 14, there was a strike with a Tochka-U missile (presumably an Ukrainian one) in the Belgorod region, power transmission lines along a railway were damaged.
In the morning on October 16, there was shot a video of a hit of presumably an AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile on a Russian air defense system in the vicinity of the Belgorod airport.
Mass shooting in the Belgorod region
Two mobilized (three according to some reports) soldiers started shooting other servicemen with a machine gun at a shooting range, where the mobilized had been brought for shooting practice. Currently, 11 servicemen are reported to have been killed at once, 15 to have been injured and stationed in hospitals. The two shooters were killed with return fire. It's unknown so far what caused the accident.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia declared the incident a terrorist attack and stressed that the attackers were from one of the CIS [post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States which does not include Ukraine] countries. Perhaps in this way the ministry is trying to shift the blame for what happened to the FSB.
Putin announced that partial mobilization would end within two weeks. Of the planned 300 thousand people, 222 thousand have already been dispatched to their units, and no new requests have been received from the Ministry of Defense. Putin also explained that the length of the line of contact exceeds a thousand kilometers and it is impossible to protect it only by the means of contract soldiers, that is why it was crucial to initiate a partial mobilization. Note that the “line of contact” is indeed the front line, therefore, most likely, the mortality rate among the mobilized will be much higher than it had been among contract soldiers in the months prior to the mobilization, which means new waves of conscription may be expected.
Reportedly, the mobilized in Crimea were handed out torn body armor with duct tape covering the holes.
Alexei Martynov, a mobilized employee of the Moscow mayor’s office, was killed in Ukraine. He used to head one of the departments of the Moscow city government. He was mobilized on September 23 and was killed in action on October 10. Due to a very large number of reports of the mobilized being killed, we will no longer include all such cases in our mobilization summaries. We will limit our coverage to extraordinarily important ones such as the case in Belgorod.
Reportedly, Igor Girkin (aka Igor Strelkov, former separatist commander, war criminal and military blogger) went to the front.
The United States announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine. The package includes:
- additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
- 23,000 155mm artillery shells;
- 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery shells;
- 5,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems;
- 5,000 anti-tank weapons;
- high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);
- more than 200 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);
- small arms and more than 2,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
The US plans to increase the production of 155mm shells threefold and more than double the production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) for HIMARS. At the moment, the US has allocated a substantial part of its ammunition reserves to Ukraine, including more than one million artillery shells and a large number of GMLRS munitions.