October 25, 2022

Sitrep for October 24-25 (until 3:00 p.m.)

The situation on the frontline

Fighting continues along practically the entire frontline. An operational pause remains only in the Zaporizhzhia direction.

In the Svatove direction, the Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated Miasozharivka, Karmazynivka, and Nevske. Ukrainian forces are now close to the Russian defense line around Svatove. Also, the DefMon analyst corrected his mistake and wrote that the previously geolocated video of the Russian military from Makiivka was old, so Makiivka (in the Luhansk region) is still under Ukrainian control.

In the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian troops liberated a concrete or asphalt plant (different sources write it differently) in the eastern suburbs of Bakhmut. It was not previously known that it was under Russian control.

The Ukrainian soldiers also managed to push back pro-Russian forces in this direction by 2 km. The Wagner Group had been trying to approach Bakhmut by this 2 km for two months, and they were pushed back in two days.

The Russian side also reports fighting in the Donetsk direction and shows a video of strikes (although it may have been anti-tank mines) on a convoy of Ukrainian forces near Opytne (not far from Pisky).

Russian aviation is working in the Lysychansk direction: Russian Air Force Su-25 attack aircraft are shooting off heat traps (which are used to protect aircraft engines from man-portable air defense systems) and launching unguided aerial rockets.

The head of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence Service, Kyrylo Budanov, said that the evacuation from Kherson does not mean that Russian forces are going to leave the city. On the contrary, they will take even more troops there and reinforce themselves. The evacuation of civilians is needed in case the Ukrainian Armed Forces take the dam at the Kakhovka HPP, where one of the few remaining crossings over the Dnipro River is located. In such a case, the Russian military will need to evacuate from Kherson urgently using the nearest crossing, and it is important that pro-Russian residents of Kherson do not create traffic jams near that crossing at that moment.

American military officials are saying the same thing - the Russian soldiers are building a defense on the right bank of the Dnipro River, and new forces are arriving there.

The ongoing fighting in the Kherson direction is also evidenced by reports of trophies. Among the Ukrainian trophies are seen T-62 tanks, BTR-D and BMD combat vehicles, and an Ural truck (captured and damaged). Patches of the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade from Crimea were found in a captured T-62MV tank.

There is a video showing Russian 11th Airborne Assault Brigade artillery strikes at positions of the AFU near the village of Potyomkyne in the direction of Beryslav.

On the night of October 24, Ukrainian forces hit Russian positions in the village of Kairy on the Dnipro's left bank. Strikes on Nova Kakhovka are also continuing.

Mobilization updates

Apparently, Belarusian instructors have begun training mobilized Russian soldiers near the towns of Osipovichi and Baranovichi. According to Major General Budanov, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, 3,200 mobilized Russians have arrived in Belarus. Currently, the Ukrainian intelligence service does not see any signs that these Russians are forming a striking force.

Investigative report of Bellingcat, The Insider and Der Spiegel about Russian military engineers responsible for missile programming.

We cannot independently verify either the methodology or the results of the investigation, but we trust our colleagues' reputations.

The investigation is based on a study of the metadata of telephone calls. Journalists found that various employees of the Main Computation Center of the General Staff, including officials, engineers, and IT specialists, called each other whenever cruise missiles were launched. Various groups were responsible for different types of missiles, such as Kalibr, Kh-101, and Iskander cruise missiles.

The routes of cruise missiles are programmed entirely from point A to point B. We believe that these people calculated the route with the goal of avoiding air defense systems yet not all the way to point B but to a grid square (for example 3 by 3 km) which contains point B. During the final leg of the route, the missile guides itself. Even the most accurate missiles have a certain circular error probability which is deviation from the target. Most likely, these people were given general information on the coordinates but not the specific details on what the target was.

Given the above, we conclude that these people are (at minimum) suspected of war crimes, since they may not have known what was located at the coordinates they used for aiming the Russian missiles. Obviously, they could find out the consequences of their work post factum from the news. On the other hand, a military person who refuses to follow an order  for the reason of not wanting to be a war criminal may end up in prison according to the new laws.

Other news

Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin dismissed the Deputy Minister of Transportation Alexander Sukhanov, who oversaw transport security issues (including the security of the Crimean bridge). We believe that all materials (for example, x-ray images of the truck) presented by the FSB (Federal Security Service) after October 8 were an attempt to exonerate themselves. Judging by the results, they have succeeded.

The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain and France issued a joint statement regarding Russia’s defense minister Sergey Shoigu's calls to his counterparts in the respective countries. All three nations rejected in advance the arguments of Sergei Shoigu concerning "an impending provocation from Ukraine."  In the future, such statements will be regarded as a provocation and escalation on the part of Russia.

Following Shoigu, the Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov also began making calls to his counterparts.  He speaks about Ukraine’s preparation for further escalation.

The Russian ambassador to the UN told the UN Secretary General that President Putin and the Government of Russia would regard the use of a "dirty bomb" against Russian forces in Ukraine as the first nuclear strike against Russia (with a hint of retaliation).  Our team is inclined to think that this is yet another attempt at nuclear blackmail.

Not only civilians and the occupation administration but also monuments are being evacuated in Kherson. Monuments to Generalissimo Aleksandr Suvorov and Admiral Fedor Ushakov have already been removed.

Therealso appeared a video confirming that not only is the equipment of backbone Internet service providers being removed from Kherson (which causes downtimes), but also Internet and telephone cables are being cut in sewer tunnels.

The occupation administration of Kherson announced the formation of [pro-Russian] Territorial Defense Forces. According to their reports, all the men left in the city can join these units. A question remains - what will happen when the Ukrainian forces enter the city (one can remember how Russian troops shot point blank at the local Territorial Defense forces at checkpoints at the beginning of the invasion).

Kyrylo Budanov, the Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, says that a third of Shahed-136 loitering munitions reach the target, and Russia can continue launching them at this pace for a long time. Now about 1700 more UAVs of all types have been ordered from Iran, but their production takes time. Iran can ship a batch of about 300 items at a time. At the moment, Russia is using drones from the second batch. As of October 22, 330 units of Shahed-136 loitering munitions have been used, of which 222 items were shot down.

The ambassador of Israel in Ukraine Michael Brodsky explained the refusal of the Israeli Government to supply weapons for Kyiv. Point is, there can be no government in Israel, which would take responsibility for going beyond “red lines” in relationships with Russia by agreeing to supply weapons for Ukraine. No one will stand up for Israel in case of conflict escalation in the Middle East, the officials consider. The country is not a member of NATO and confronts the aggression of neighboring countries alone.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal stated that Ukrainian gas reservoirs are filled enough to survive this winter.

Rishi Sunak will become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He has already assured that the UK will stay a faithful ally of Ukraine and will continue to provide assistance to it.

A batch of Black Hornet drones (produced by the Teledyne FLIR company) was given by the UK to Ukraine. A photo of the drone in hands of the “A” Center of Special Operations employee has already appeared.