Above: November 21 marks the 9th anniversary of the start of the Euromaidan demonstrations when Ukrainians took to the streets for the second time to demand a free democratic society. Unlike 2004, Ukraine’s russian-supporting president ordered violent suppression of protesters. (The Ukrainian Week)
- Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russian special services are planning false flag attacks on Belarusian critical infrastructure in an attempt that would likely fail to pressure the Belarusian military to enter the war in Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on November 20 that Russian special services are planning to conduct several false flag terrorist attacks on Belarusian critical infrastructure facilities, particularly on the “Ostrovets” Belarusian nuclear power plant.
- GUR also reported that Russian special services will blame the attacks on Ukrainian and NATO member states to accelerate the Belarusian military’s involvement in Russia‘s war in Ukraine.
- ISW has previously assessed that Belarus’ entry into the war remains highly unlikely due to the heavy domestic risk that involvement would pose to the survival of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
- Russian officials continue efforts to deport children from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) head Leonid Pasechnik claimed on November 20 that occupation officials sent Ukrainian children from Kirovsk, Pervomaisk, and Alchevsk, Luhansk Oblast, to Sochi, Krasnodar Krai.
- ISW has previously assessed that the deportation and forced adoption of Ukrainian children likely amounts to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign, in addition to an apparent violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Above: Atlantic Council
Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces estimated enemy losses for last 24 hours
- Liquidated personnel, 85,000 +(400)
- Tanks, 2,895 (+3)
- Armored personnel vehicles, 5,827 (+5)
- Artillery systems/MLRS, 1,882/395 (+12/2)
- Anti-aircraft warfare systems, 209 (0)
- Aircraft/helicopters, 278/261 (0)
- UAV operational-tactical level, 1,537 (0)
- Cruise missiles, 480 (0)
- Warships/boats, 16 (0)
- Vehicles and fuel tanks 4,393 (+15)
- Special equipment, 161 (0)
Above: Ukrainian engineers are working hard to restore public utilities destroyed by enemy missiles and drones even as russian society celebrates its war on civilians. (CNN)
- In the Slobozhanskyi direction, the enemy shelled the areas of Veterynarne, Strilecha, Hlyboke, Starytsa, Ohirtseve, Zarubinka, Ambarne and Dvorichna settlements of the Kharkiv oblast.
- In the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, the enemy is conducting a defense, fired from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of settlements, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, Pishchane and Krokhmalne of the Kharkiv oblast; Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Ploshanka and Makiivka in the Luhansk oblast and Yampolivka, Torske and Berestove in the Donetsk oblast.
- In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, the enemy is concentrating its main efforts on conducting offensive operations. In the Novopavlivsk direction, the enemy is actively defending the captured lines. Conducts shelling from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery at objects in the areas of 21 settlements. Among them are Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Bilohorivka, Vodyane, Vuhledar, Soledar, Mayorsk, Maryinka and Pervomaiske of the Donetsk oblast.
- The enemy is on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia Fired our positions with mortars, barrel artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Areas of 9 settlements were damaged by enemy artillery fire.
- In the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson directions, the enemy is creating an echeloned defense system, improving fortification equipment and logistical support of advanced units, and not stopping artillery fire at the positions of our troops and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River. Directed fire from tanks, mortars, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Osokorivka, Havrylivka, Mylovo, Shlyahove, Vesele, Vysuntsi, Veletenske, Stanislav and Kherson settlements.
Above: Ukrainian tank operator near Izyum, Kharkiv. (Fox News)
- Weather slowed fighting along offensive lines in eastern Ukraine as Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on November 20 and 21. Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that heavy rain and muddy conditions in eastern Ukraine have nearly stopped Russian ground attacks, slowed but not stopped Ukrainian advances, and led to increased artillery fire on November 20 and 21.
- The Russian MoD notably reported that Russian forces did not conduct any ground operations in the Kupyansk direction northwest of Svatove on November 20, likely due to Russian forces’ inability to handle deteriorating weather conditions.
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in the Lyman and Kreminna-Lysychansk directions and destroyed Russian equipment near Syrotyne (about 25km southeast of Kreminna) on November 20 and 21.
- Russian forces continued to defend their positions along offensive lines and reinforce rear areas in Luhansk Oblast with demoralized troops from the Kherson withdrawal on November 20 and 21. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) reported that Russian forces continued to prioritize constructing defensive positions in eastern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces also fortified defenses by building dragon’s teeth along the frontline in the Svatove direction and near Popasna, Luhansk (about 47km south of Kreminna).
Above: Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery at enemy positions near Bakhmut. (RFERL)
- Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut on November 20 and 21. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Bakhmut itself; within 30km northeast of Bakhmut near Spirne, Bilohorivka, Bakhmutske, Yakovlika, and Pidhorodne; and within 14km southwest of Bakhmut near Opytne, Klishchiivka, and Kurdiumivka on November 20 and 21.
- Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Avdiivka–Donetsk City area on November 20 and 21. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults within 36km southwest of Avdiivka near Marinka, Pervomaiske, and Novomykhailivka.
- Russian forces conducted defensive operations in western Donetsk and eastern Zaporizhia on November 20 and 21. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russia forces are on the defensive in the Zaporizhia and western Donetsk directions.
Above: Kherson residents charge their devices at the Kherson train station. (New York Times)
- Russian forces continued conducting defensive measures and establishing fortifications in Kherson Oblast south of the Dnipro River on November 20 and 21.
- Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Nataliya Humenyuk reported on November 20 that Russian forces are not completely withdrawing from the west bank of the Dnipro River but instead conducting a dynamic maneuver to pull back from Ukrainian artillery range while maintaining their own capability to strike the right bank of the Dnipro River.
- Ukrainian Kherson Oblast Military Advisor Serhiy Khlan stated on November 21 that Russian forces are building second and third lines of defense and storing military equipment in densely populated areas.
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 20 that Ukrainian forces struck Russian manpower concentrations near Polohy, Kamianka, Mykhailivka, and Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, wounding over 100 Russian soldiers and destroying 20 pieces of military equipment and two ammunition depots.
- The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on NOV 20 that Russian forces transported 500 occupation officials and their families from occupied settlements in Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts to Russian-held Sevastopol, Crimea.
- Two days of shelling caused widespread damage to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on November 20 and 21. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated on November 21 that there are no immediate nuclear safety and security concerns and that the integrity of all six nuclear reactors and the spent and fresh fuel storage facilities remain uncompromised despite the intense shelling.
- A Ukrainian official acknowledged on November 21 that Ukrainian forces are conducting a military operation on the Kinburn Spit, a location which would allow Ukrainian forces to better conduct potential operations on the left (east) bank in Kherson Oblast.
- The Kinburn Spit is only 4km across the strait from Ochakiv and allows for control of the entrance to the Dnipro and Southern Bug rivers as well as the Mykolaiv and Kherson city ports. Russian forces used positions on the Kinburn Spit to conduct routine missile and artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in Ochakiv, southern Mykolaiv Oblast, and other areas along the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea Coast.
- Control of the Kinburn Spit would allow Ukrainian forces to relieve Russian strikes on the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea coast, increase naval activity in the area, and conduct potential operations to cross to the left (east) bank in Kherson Oblast under significantly less Russian artillery fire compared to a crossing of the Dnipro River.
Kinburn Spit is a long narrow jut of land at the mouth of the Dnipro River that Ukrainian forces plan to liberate. (Travels-Ukraine)