ISW KEY TAKEAWAYS: ENEMY WILL CONTINUE TO TARGET CIVILIAN INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER OUTAGES AT LEAST THRU NEXT MARCH
Above: Damage to a high-voltage electrical substation. (New York Times)
- The Russian military has significantly depleted its arsenal of high-precision missiles but will likely still be able to attack Ukrainian critical infrastructure at scale in the near term. Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov released figures on November 22 detailing that the Russian military has only 119 Iskanders missiles, 13 percent of its initial February 2022 arsenal.
- Ukrenergo head Volodymyr Kudrytsky stated on November 22 that Russian forces have damaged almost all thermal power plants, large hydropower plants, and Ukrenergo hub substations in Ukraine. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stated on November 18 that more than half of the Ukrainian power grid has failed as a result of Russian missile strikes.
- DTEK CEO Maxim Tymchenko urged Ukrainians to leave the country, if possible, on November 19 to ease demand on the Ukrainian power grid, and YASNO CEO Serhiy Kovalenko stated on November 21 that regular power outages will likely last at least until the end of March 2023.
- ISW continues to assess that the Russian military will fail to achieve its goal of degrading the Ukrainian will to fight through its coordinated campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure.
- The Kremlin appears to be setting information conditions for a false-flag attack in Belgorod Oblast, Russia, likely in an effort to regain public support for the war in Ukraine. Kremlin propagandists have begun hypothesizing that Ukrainian forces seek to invade Belgorod Oblast, and other Russian sources noted that Russian forces need to regain control over Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, to minimize the threat of a Ukrainian attack.
- Russian claims of an imminent Ukrainian attack on Belgorod Oblast are absurd and only aim to scare the general public to support the war. Ukraine has no strategic interest in invading Russia and no ability to do so at such a scale.
- Support for Russia’s nonsensical invasion is declining among Russian residents of border regions and the rest of the country as a result of mobilization and military failures. Russian opposition outlets reported that relatives of mobilized men have ignited protests in 15 Russian regions since the end of October, with the most notable ones taking place in regions bordering Ukraine.
- Emerging calls for demobilization among relatives of mobilized men suggest that Russian propaganda is ineffective in countering the real-life consequences of the war on the society.
- The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Russian forces in the Melitopol area of Zaporizhia Oblast are searching private garages on the grounds of searching for partisan affiliation and that Russian officials in Luhansk Oblast are arbitrarily detaining citizens under suspicion of harboring pro-Ukrainian sympathies
- Russian sources continue to tout the forced adoption of Ukrainian children into Russian families on November 22. A Russian milblogger circulated the fifth part of a Russian documentary series following the adoption of three children from Snizhne, Donetsk Oblast into a Russian family.
Above: Ukrainian Emergency Services fighting fires on critical infrastructure. (Kyiv Post)
- 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: Kharkiv is an ancient city filled with historically significant architecture, much of it destroyed by the invaders. (Vgorode)
- Ukrainian forces are continuing to liberate occupied settlements in western Luhansk Oblast following their victory in northern Kharkiv Oblast.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line on November 22. Ukrainian officials reported that bad weather continues to slow down Russian operations on the Svatove-Kreminna line.
- Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Administration stated that Russian forces conducted defensive operations and continued artillery fire in the areas of Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Ploshchanka, and Makiivka, all west of the N26 and R66 highways.
- Ukrainian forces continued to repel Russian assaults west of Lysychansk. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Ukrainian forces repel Russian attacks on Bilohorivka (15km northwest of Lysychansk) daily.
Above: Rain and snow are hampering operations in eastern Ukraine. (New York Times)
- Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions on November 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Bakhmut; within 30km northeast of Bakhmut near Spirne, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, and Soledar; and within 4km south of Bakhmut near Opytne.
- The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults within 8km northeast of Avdiivka near Kamianka and Vesele, and within 37km southwest of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske, Krasnohorivka, Marinka, and Novomykhailivka.
- Russian military movements suggest that Russian forces are likely reinforcing positions in eastern Zaporizhia and western Donetsk oblasts. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 22 that Chechen and Wagner Group formations deployed to Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast, and that Russian forces are regrouping individual units in the area of Molchansk, Zaporizhia Oblast (just northeast of Melitopol).
Above: Police stand guard at a civilian evacuation train leaving Kherson station. (New York Times)
- Geolocated images show Russian military vehicles moving through Bezimenne and Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast carrying a notable amount of military equipment.
- ISW has previously assessed that Russian forces have begun reinforcing positions in eastern Zaporizhia Oblast with personnel from Kherson Oblast and mobilized personnel.
- Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security also reported that Ukrainian forces are continuing to carry out unspecified operations on the Kinburn Spit, but specified that Russian forces are still holding positions at the spit.
- The Russian MoD continued to accuse Ukraine of provoking a man-made disaster at Zaporizhzia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on November 22. ISW has previously assessed that these accusations are likely a continuation of Russian information and false-flag operations to consolidate control of the plant and an effort to portray Russian control of ZNPP as an essential condition for avoiding a man-made nuclear or radiological disaster.
- Crimean occupation officials demonstrated heightened unease on November 22, likely over Ukrainian strikes on Russian GLOCs on the peninsula and ongoing military operations on the Kinburn Spit. Crimea occupation head Sergey Aksyonov subsequently announced that Crimea is raising its terrorist threat level to high (yellow) until at least December 7.
- Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian authorities are preparing for an evacuation of administration officials and military equipment in Armyansk (about 100km southeast of Kherson City) due to the threat of Ukrainian strikes on northern Crimea.