September 26, 2022

Sitrep for September 25-26 (as of 14:00)

Mobilization in Russia

We do not yet have a clear understanding of the criteria for whom the border crossing is refused. If you previously served and are under 35 years of age, you may or may not be let out. If you do not fit those criteria, then, theoretically, you should be free to cross. We are surprised that the closure of borders for certain demographic groups was not announced alongside mobilization. It could possibly coincide with the results of the “referenda” - 28th of 30th of September.

On one hand, mobilization will have a negative impact on the frontline situation. Tens, or even hundreds of thousands of even poorly trained combatants is a serious force that can complicate the situation for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

On the other hand, mobilization can bring some positive changes. By announcing the mobilization, Vladimir Putin has broken the unspoken agreement, according to which society does not interfere in politics, and in return the authorities do not bother the society. For the first time in recent months, we are seeing shifts in public opinion in Russia. This is reflected in the sharp increase of readership of independent Russian-language media outlet Meduza articles, as well as in the huge growth (+100,000) in subscribers to human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov’s Telegram channel. This indicates an increase in demand for objective and independent information regarding all things mobilization, the war, and Russia in general.

Those who remain in Russia will now be intimidated by the allegations that failure to appear at the military recruitment office after being served a summons will incur criminal liability and a sentence of up to 10-15 years in prison. This is false, this misdemeanor is only punishable by a fine.

We see protests against mobilization in different regions of Russia. The most prominent are in Dagestan and Yakutsk.

Judging by the first reports that we see, a training period for mobilized people will be extremely short: two weeks, a month at the most. If there were an operational pause on the frontlines, the Russian Armed Forces would have the opportunity to train the mobilized in calmer conditions. But as the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue their counteroffensives in the south and the northeastern part of Ukraine (closer to the Kharkiv region), it becomes practically impossible for the pro-Russian forces to maintain the front, so the mobilized soldiers can be used to hold this defense line.

Initially, Sergei Shoigu said that it was planned to recruit 300,000 people. But then various media outlets wrote about a million or more people, citing sources in the Presidential Administration. We assume that it is possible to reach such a number of mobilized people, but on the condition that the mobilization will go by waves over several months.

After the announcement of the "partial" mobilization, reports of trains carrying presumably reactivated military vehicles began to appear. No advance preparations were made to prepare training areas and vehicles for the mobilized.

Paradoxically, the actions of the military recruitment authorities in the current situation are an example of a decentralized “mission-type tactic” amid the overall rigid “order-type” Soviet-style Russian command structure. City and regional Draft boards decide on their own how to achieve the required number of mobilized people and what health, age and military experience categories should be called up.

There is evidence from the wife of a man mobilized from Lipetsk that her husband's unit has been sent to the front line in the Donbas after one day of training and without a medical examination. Her husband also said that he was being sent to the 237th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division of the 20th Combined Arms Army, which is currently fighting at the Lyman direction.

Thus, the mobilized are sent to the places with a critical personnel shortage in the Russian army, while there is most likely enough equipment for them.

Earlier, we already reported that in order to increase the number of contract soldiers, the Russian Ministry of Defense decided to speed up contract procedures. Previously, everyone who wanted to sign a contract with the Russian army had to undergo a military medical examination, which could take up to a month. Then (after the beginning of the current invasion), the Russian Ministry of Defense issued an order that a contract can be signed based on the results of a prior military medical examination. That is, at present, anyone who has done military service does not need to undergo a military medical examination again, even if many years have passed since their previous one. And the mobilized, according to the presidential decree, are equated in status with contract servicemen.

Situation at the front

Analysis by Def Mon of the situation in the Kupianks region demonstrates (based on the reports of the UAF General Staff on shellings of territories) that a second Ukrainian bridgehead has appeared north of Kupiansk (in the Dvorichna area). Ukrainian forces are gradually expanding their positions on the eastern bank of the Oskil River. This is an indirect confirmation that somewhere near Kupiansk there is an additional crossing over the Oskil that the Ukrainian forces are successfully utilizing. Pro-Russian Telegram channels (including a prominent analyst Rybar) wrote a lot in recent days about the Russian forces counterattacking the Ukrainians including claims that the RF forces pushed the UAF to the eastern borders of Kupiansk. Nevertheless, we observe that the entire Kupiansk is presently under Ukrainian control.

The situation around Lyman continues to evolve. Let's clarify that the statement we had made previously about Lyman being liberated was not accurate. Nevertheless, the situation in this area is developing in favor of Ukraine. Def Mon believes that the UAF will liberate Lyman in the nearest future since, judging by the map, conditions are now developing in this area for an operational encirclement of the Russian troops there. The Twitter analyst also believes that once Lyman is liberated, Yampil’s fate will also be sealed. Afterwards, the Ukrainian forces may start moving towards Svatove. This direction is now more important than, for example, the liberation of Lysychansk, because it opens up the possibility of reaching the Russian border and proceeding to gradually liberate the Luhansk region.

Photos of a T-80U tank, which the Ukrainian troops acquired as spoils and even painted with their tactical sign, have been published. It was geolocated near the Siverskyi Donets River. It is noteworthy that this particular U-modification is in service only with the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division. This division has long been infamous for its heavy losses in both equipment and personnel.

From September 22 to 26, Russian aviation lost several warplanes (among them a Su-30SM) and helicopters (among them a Ka-52). According to statements of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the losses amounted to 7 planes and 6 helicopters. The Oryx project currently confirms the loss of two planes and one helicopter; we will wait for new photo and video evidence to emerge.

Ukrainian forces keep striking ammunition depots near the Russian railhead in Nova Kakhovka, 4 hits were recorded on September 25.

In Izyum, the exhumation of bodies from mass graves has been concluded. A total of 202 women, 189 men and 5 children were found. Another 11 bodies are so mutilated that it is impossible to establish their sex.

Russian forces continue to use Iranian Geran-2 (Shahed-136) drones. There were cases of shooting them down over Odesa and in the direction of Mykolaiv. One such drone hit the headquarters of the Ukrainian Operational Command "South", which is located in Odesa. The choice by the Russian command to use a drone with a small warhead on such an important target may indicate that they are running out of Kalibr missiles. As a response to the usage of these UAVs, Ukraine withdrew the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador.

Previously there were announcements that Ukraine received two batteries worth (6-8 launchers) of the NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems. Press Secretary of the President of Ukraine Serhiy Nikiforov specified that the systems had not yet arrived in Ukraine but the agreement in principle for the delivery had been established. The NASAMS complex is approximately analogous to the Soviet Buk air defense system but with network-centric capabilities (that is, it can receive data from several different radar stations) and with a shorter range. This system fires mass-produced and field-tested missiles which were previously used only as air-to-air missiles.As a whole, this complex has not yet been used in combat.

We want to reiterate that it is imperative that Ukraine receive new air defense systems.

Several news items related to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch close to Putin, appeared over the last few days. First, a video from a funeral was published where it can be seen that Prigozhin now sports three Hero medals. We believe that the third star is the Hero of the LPR medal. Second, Yevgeny Prigozhin made a comment through his company Concord, in which he acknowledged that he was the founder of the “private military company” known as the Wagner Group and told that it was created on May 1, 2014.