Picture of the 47th week: arms for Ukraine’s counteroffensive
About the new "Ramstein" and record consignments of weapons for Ukraine, the tragedies in Dnipro and Brovary, the battles for Soledar and Bakhmut, and why Ukraine is still without Leopard tanks - in our chronicle. We tell you how the situation has changed over the last week.
In the south of the country, in the Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia regions, heavy positional battles continue. The enemy continues to strengthen in the occupied territories. The forces of the russian federation are constantly shelling populated areas controlled by Ukraine with mortars, artillery, tanks, and aircraft in order to destabilize the humanitarian situation there. Shelling is conducted using incendiary ammunition prohibited by the Geneva Convention.
Ukrainian forces are inflicting fire damage on Russian forces on the Kinburn spit — the last occupied part of the Mykolaiv region. From there, the enemy tried to attack Ochakiv and other towns and villages located near the coast. As the military noted, the issue of control over the Kinburn spit can be resolved only during the complete liberation of the Kherson region.
On January 16, the russians launched a rocket attack on Zaporizhzhia and its suburbs, as a result of which 5 people, including 2 children, were injured.
Fierce battles continue for the cities of Soledar and Bakhmut of the Donetsk region.
The capture of Bakhmut remains the main operational objective of the russian federation in this direction of the front. In turn, the capture of Soledar, which is located further north, according to the plan of the russian military, will be able to accelerate the fall of the Ukrainian fortress city of Bakhmut.
forces, in particular the "Wagner" private military company, the occupiers were unable to completely occupy Soledar. Although the russians have made some progress over the past week, it has cost them dearly — they are actually throwing bodies at Ukrainian positions.
Today, Bakhmut is 60% destroyed. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are on the defensive, the russians are pressing, and so it has been for six months in a row. At the same time, life in the city does not stop. Before the start of the full-scale war, more than 80,000 people lived here. Now there are about 8,000 civilian residents left in the city. There are indomitable points with hot food. There are starlinks.
Fighting continues around the occupied city of Kreminna, Luhansk region, where the Ukrainian counteroffensive is taking place. According to the British Ministry of Defence, the fighting is characterized by a complex series of local attacks and counterattacks in wooded areas. However, in general, the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to gradually advance their front line to the east on the outskirts of Kreminnaya. The return of the city to the control of Ukraine will significantly disrupt the logistics of the entire group of enemy troops in the region.
According to Ukraine's intelligence, Putin ordered the newly appointed commander of the occupation forces in Ukraine, Valery Gerasimov, to seize Donbas by March. We note that these are far from the first terms that the enemy has set for himself. And he never even managed to get close to the goal in the planned time.
The situation in the occupied territories
russia deported from 260,000 to almost 700,000 young Ukrainians. Among them, 1.5 to 2.5 thousand orphans were deported. And at least 400 children have already become members of russian families. This was said during the presentation of the analytical report on the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to russia and belarus.
At the same time, children are sent to at least 57 regions of the russian federation — from Sakhalin to Dagestan. Life in regions geographically and culturally distant from Ukraine can further deepen the psychological problems of children caused by the war and the very fact of deportation.
International organizations such as UNICEF, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have already drawn attention to this situation. They note that neither the deportation nor the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian families complies with international conventions, international humanitarian law, or the principle of the best interests of the child.
The situation on the border with belarus remains unchanged. This week, the joint flight-tactical aviation units of the armed forces of the belarus and russia were launched. The belarusian department emphasized that all airfields and training grounds of the Air Force and military air defense forces of the Armed Forces of relarus should be involved in conducting the training.
Under the guise of training, Russia has strengthened the combat aviation group in Belarus. The total number of aircraft and helicopters on the territory of Belarus is now about 50. However, currently Ukraine does not record the growth of ground forces of the russian federation and belarus near the borders of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to create mobile air defense groups based on powerful air defense systems in the north of the country. They will protect the sky both on the approaches to Kyiv and the airspace over the populated areas of the north and northwest of Ukraine. Mobile fire units are already protecting approaches to critical infrastructure facilities in Volyn, as well as strategic facilities in Sumy Oblast. There are currently 19 such groups.
Controlled and liberated territories of Ukraine
This week, Ukraine emerged from two large-scale tragedies at once. The first occurred on January 14 in Dnipro, when a Russian Kh-22 missile hit a high-rise building during a massive missile attack. As a result of the explosion and under the rubble of the building, 46 people died, about 80 were injured, 11 people remain missing.
Of the 18 entrances to the building, 4 are uninhabitable, 236 apartments have been destroyed. About 400 people were left homeless. Note that the X-22 is not a high-precision weapon. Its use on targets in or near Ukrainian cities has repeatedly led to large-scale tragedies and is an act of terrorism.
The second tragedy occurred on January 18 in Brovary, Kyiv region. A helicopter crashed there, on board of which was the top leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrskyi, his first deputy, Yevgeny Yenin, and State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lubkovich, died as a result of his fall onto the kindergarten building. In total, the tragedy resulted in 14 victims, including 1 child. The security service has launched an investigation into the crash of the helicopter. Among the main versions are violation of flight rules, technical malfunction and intentional actions.
Situation with critical infrastructure
Another massive strike (already the 12th) against critical infrastructure objects was carried out by the russian federation on January 14. Ukrainian air defense destroyed 25 out of 38 russian missiles of various types, but the country's energy system did not escape attacks and destruction. Nine TPP units, three main substations and an overhead line were damaged. This led to an increase in power shortages in the power system, which is why emergency power cuts have been in effect across the country since January 15.
On January 20, the electricity deficit decreased thanks to warm weather and additional generation. One of the CHP units came out of repair, there was a small increase in generation at other CHPs and HPPs, as well as "green" generation from renewable energy sources. But although the capacity deficit has decreased, it still remains significant. In the evening peak, generation can cover a little more than three quarters of consumption.
Important events in the world that affect the war in Ukraine
The European Parliament on Thursday voted for a resolution calling for the creation of a special international tribunal to prosecute the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The deputies emphasized in it that a special tribunal should bring to justice not only the President of the Russian Federation, Putin, but also the self-proclaimed President of belarus, Lukashenka, and the leadership of Belarus.
The European Commission is also considering the possibility of creating an international prosecutor's office to investigate the crime of russian aggression against Ukraine. However, there are still complex legal and political issues that require further discussion, the EU notes.
Immediately, two countries, which the russian federation considers its allies, took steps that were not "allied" towards it at all. Thus, the government of Serbia decided to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine to support its energy system, which is being destroyed by russian shelling. And the head of the Foreign Ministry of Iran stated that his country does not recognize the annexation of the occupied territories of Ukraine by russia.
On January 19, representatives of the defense ministries of nine European countries signed the "Tallinn Declaration", which includes the obligation of further military assistance to Ukraine.
The declaration was signed by the defense ministers of Great Britain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as well as representatives of Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. "We commit to a joint effort to provide an unprecedented array of donations, including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, anti-aircraft defenses, ammunition and infantry fighting vehicles for the defense of Ukraine," the document says.
We are supported
The week turned out to be full of announcements of military support from international partners before the next meeting of the Rammstein format. Many of them announced record support packages for Ukraine.
Germany announced a spring package of military aid to Ukraine in the amount of more than 1 billion euros. It will include 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 7 Gepard anti-aircraft self-propelled artillery installations, another Iris-T anti-aircraft missile system and missiles for it.
Great Britain plans to transfer 600 Brimstone missiles to Ukraine as part of a military aid package. Brimstone can be launched at ground targets both from the ground and from the air.
Sweden announced its intention to transfer Archer self-propelled artillery installations, 50 Stridsfordon 90 BMPs, as well as NLAW anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. The Archer self-propelled gun is widely recognized as one of the most advanced artillery systems in the world, capable of firing projectiles at a distance of up to 50 km.
Denmark decided to transfer all 19 Caesar howitzers ordered from France.
The Netherlands will offer the Patriot anti-aircraft missile complex to Ukraine, following the United States and Germany. Also, the Dutch government is potentially ready to discuss the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, if Kyiv expresses such a request.
Canada hands over 200 Senator APC armored vehicles to the Ukrainian military. The procurement of the NASAMS air defense system for Ukraine also took place.
Finland will allocate 12th package on military aid, worth 400 mln EUR.
Lithuania has announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine, which will include L-70 anti-aircraft guns, Mi-8 helicopters and ammunition.
Estonia will provide a record aid package in the amount of 113 million euros. According to ERR, it includes dozens of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzers, thousands of shells and trucks for their use, more than a hundred Carl-Gustav anti-tank guns and more than a thousand units of ammunition for them.
Latvia will send Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems, helicopters, machine guns with ammunition and drones to Ukraine.
France is considering the possibility of providing Ukraine with French Leclerc battle tanks, but a decision on this issue has not yet been made, Politico reports.
Unfortunately, the issue of providing Ukraine with European Leopard and Leopard-2 tanks was not resolved. Besides Germany, 12 other European countries have the Leopard in their arsenals, but they need Berlin's approval to transfer them. According to German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, Western allies have not yet reached an agreement on providing Ukraine with Leopard 2 main battle tanks at a Ramstein-style meeting, but he instructed his ministry to prepare for "the day that may come."
What is characteristic is that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hinted that Warsaw may hand over a company of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without Berlin's consent if it waits too long for approval.
Despite the drop in the Ukrainian economy by more than a third, Ukrainians on average rated the economic situation in the country better than in November 2021. This is stated in a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.
If before the full-scale war, 58% of Ukrainians had a low assessment of the economic situation, now 53.9% have an average assessment of it. Thus, the survey proved that by December 2022, Ukrainians on average needed to receive about UAH 14.2 thousand ($340) per month in order to live, according to their ideas, normally. For comparison, in November 2021, this number was 16.4 thousand UAH (630 dollars).
Ukraine's experience in digitization will be implemented in other countries. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is actively developing a new major project to support the digitalization of Ukraine and will support the development of "Dia" in other countries, the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov said.
Fedorov noted that Ukrainian innovations in the provision of services – mobile first, digital documents, automatic services without an official, mobile signature, state targeted payments – arouse great interest and demand among other countries. More than 10 countries are actively studying and planning to borrow the experience of the Ukrainian "Dia". In particular, Estonia has already presented the mRiik application at the Davos Forum, which is developed on the basis of "Diya" and is its analogue.