ISW KEY TAKEAWAYS: RUSSIAN DUMA TO LEGALIZE CHILD AND PRISON LABOR TO ADDRESS PRIVATE SECTOR LABOR SHORTAGES
Above: russian people adore the annual Red Square propaganda spectacles that paint false pictures of boundless and unbeatable military power and nostalgia for the good old soviet days. (Time)
- Russia may attempt to use prison labor, overtime, and child labor to resuscitate the Russian military-industrial complex and fill general labor shortages. Russian opposition media source Meduza reported on November 29 that 250 convicts from Sverdlovsk Oblast will serve forced-labor sentences at a Russian tank and armored vehicle construction plant.
- Russian State Duma will consider a bill amending the Russian labor code to simplify the employment procedure for those under 18. Russian deputies may hope such actions will reduce the severe Russian labor shortage exacerbated by mobilization.
- Russian news sources continue to report official actions indicative of a probable second wave of mobilization for which the Russian military system is highly unprepared. Russian force generation structures have not recovered from the last mobilization and the Russian military-industrial complex remains stretched, so Russian force generation infrastructure is unlikely to be able to accommodate another mobilization wave this rapidly.
- Another Russian source claimed on November 28 that Russian military registration and enlistment offices have begun prohibiting men they have subpoenaed for data clarification from leaving the country.
- A nationalist Russian politician scathing condemnation of Russian military leadership and framing of the war in Ukraine claimed that hundreds of thousands of mobilized soldiers with smartphones have directly undermined state narratives that the reports of organizational and planning issues are slander or falsified claims. He argued that the “organizational catastrophe” and “complete impotence of military leadership” will prevent Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine.
- The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MoD) reported on November 29 that Russian forces have likely stopped deploying battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in the past three months. ISW assessed starting in April that Russian BTGs were degraded in various failed or culminated Russian offensives, including the attacks on Kyiv, Mariupol, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk, and later efforts to reconstitute these BTGs to restore their combat power have failed.
- Russian forces have likely since thrown their remaining combat power and new personnel, including mobilized personnel, into poorly trained, equipped, and organized ad hoc structures with low morale and discipline.
Above: Chornobaivka airfield where enemy equipment was hit dozens of times. (New York Times)
Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces estimated enemy losses for last 24 hours
- Liquidated personnel, 88,880 (+500)
- Tanks, 2,914 (+3)
- Armored personnel vehicles, 5,872 (+6)
- Artillery systems/MLRS, 1,902/395 (+1/0)
- Anti-aircraft warfare systems, 210 (+1)
- Aircraft/helicopters, 280/261 (0)
- UAV operational-tactical level, 1,562 (+7)
- Cruise missiles, 531 (0)
- Warships/boats, 16 (0)
- Vehicles and fuel tanks, 4,429 (+6)
- Special equipment, 163 (0)
Above: Watching a petrol station burn in Donetsk Oblast. (New York Times)
- There is still a threat of the enemy launching missile strikes against critical infrastructure facilities deep within the territory of Ukraine.
- The republic of belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, provides its territory and airspace for launching missile and air strikes.
- Enemy units are conducting demonstration and provocative actions on the russian-Ukrainian border in the Siverskyi direction in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions. The enemy fired mortars and barrel artillery, in particular in the areas of Yanzhulivka, Mykolaivka, Halahanivka of Chernihiv oblast and Vilna Sloboda of Sumy
- In the Slobozhansk direction, in the border areas of the Belhorod region, the enemy continues to hold groups of its troops. Fired from tanks, mortars and barrel artillery in the areas of settlements of Strilecha, Hlyboke, Zelene, Starytsa, Ohirtseve, Vovchansk, Budarka, Ambarne of the Kharkiv oblast. In the areas of the settlements of Zelene and Budarka, the enemy used attack drones.
- The enemy is defending in the Kupyansk and Lyman It carried out shelling from tanks and the entire range of artillery in the areas of Orlyanske, Kislivka, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, Pishchane of Kharkiv oblast and Novoselivske, Stelmakhivka, Myasozharivka, Makiivka, Nevske of Luhansk oblast, as well as Yampolivka, Torske, Ozerne of Donetsk oblast.
- In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, the enemy continues to focus its main efforts on conducting offensive operations. Fired tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Siversk, Verkhnokamianske, Spirne, Berestove, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Andriivka, Vodyane, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Novomykhailivka settlements of the Donetsk oblast.
- In the Novopavlivka direction, the enemy fired artillery of various types at the positions of the Defence Forces of Ukraine and the areas of the settlements of Vuhledar, Neskuchne, and Prechystivka of the Donetsk oblast.
- The enemy is conducting defensive operations in the Zaporizhzhia Conducted shelling from tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery positions of the Defense Forces of Ukraine and areas of populated areas of Novopil, Donetsk oblast; Olhivske, Dorozhnyanka, Charivne, Hulyaipilske, Mala Tokmachka, Mali Shcherbaky of the Zaporizhzhia oblast, as well as Vremiivka, Chervone of the Kherson oblast. In the vicinity of the settlements of Novopil and Vremivka of the Donetsk oblast, the enemy used an attack UAV.
- The enemy is conducting a positional defense in the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson Artillery shelling of units of Ukrainian troops and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River, in particular the city of Kherson, does not stop.
Above: Repairing a captured enemy tank near Kharkiv. (France 24)
- Russian forces are conducting constant artillery attacks on Ukrainian positions in Kupyansk but Ukrainian forces are holding the line and repelling Russian forces.
- Ukraine continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Svatove and Kreminna on November 29. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian concentration area in Svatove, Luhansk Oblast, which Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai claimed was a deployment point and ammunition depot.
- A Russian source conjectured that operations will intensify in the coming days as the weather improves.
Above: Artillery from both sides rains down incessantly on the Donetsk front. (The Telegraph)
Map via ISW
- Russian forces made marginal gains around Bakhmut on November 29, but Russian forces remain unlikely to have advanced at the tempo that Russian sources claimed.
- Geolocated footage shows that Russian forces made marginal advances southeast of Bakhmut but ISW remains unable to confirm most other claimed gains around Bakhmut made since November 27.
- Ukrainian forces repelled attacks northeast of Bakhmut near Bakhmutske along the T1302 highway and near Soledar. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled attacks near Serebrianka, Verkhnokamianske, Berestove, Bilohorivka, and Yakolivka, all within 35km northeast of Bakhmut.
- A Russian milblogger prematurely called this operational offensive around Bakhmut the first victory since the capture of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk; however, there is no evidence that Russian forces currently threaten key Ukrainian logistics lines into Bakhmut and ISW continues to assess that Bakhmut is currently not under threat of Russian encirclement.
- Various Russian sources also claimed that Russian forces established control over the Siverskyi-Donets-Donbas canal (13km southwest of Bakhmut), which directly impacts the water supply to Horlivka and Yasynuvata, on November 29.
Above: the wide flat coastal plains of southern Kherson Oblast. (New York Times)
- Russian forces continued strengthening their defensive positions in eastern Kherson Oblast and conducted routine shelling on the west (right) bank of the Dnipro River on November 29.
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces increased their administrative law enforcement presence in occupied Kherson Oblast and plan to deploy Rosgvardia (Russian national guard) elements to the area.
- The use of Rosgvardia elements to police rear areas means these elementsmay eventually strengthen Russian defensive capabilities throughout occupied Kherson Oblast, supporting ISW’s recent assessment that Russian forces take the threat of a possible future Ukrainian counteroffensive seriously.
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported Ukrainian strikes on November 27 against four areas of Russian force concentrations, including Polohy, Tokmak, and Basan, Zaporizhia Oblast (all along the T0401 highway), inflicting losses of 470 personnel, 50 pieces of military equipment, and unspecified amounts of ammunition.
- An independent investigation conducted by Alexei Navalny’s “Sirena” team found that Russia may have transported thousands of Ukrainian prisoners from penal colonies in occupied Ukraine to Russia following the withdrawal from the west bank of Kherson Oblast. Russian officials are likely taking measures to move prisoners to free up prison infrastructure in occupied areas, either to use prisoner assets as military bases for personnel and equipment storage or to free up space to detain Ukrainian citizens as law enforcement crackdowns continue throughout occupied areas.