ISW KEY TAKEAWAYS: KREMLIN BANNING PUBLIC GATHERINGS, LAYING PROPAGANDA STAGE FOR NEW YEAR MOBILIZATION
Above: A series of explosions and black oily smoke billowing for kilomters, russian media covered strikes on a Kursk military airport fuel storage facility as a minor incident, well under control. (Twitter)
- Russian officials continue to conduct mobilization and set bureaucratic conditions for a future wave of mobilization despite official attempts to suppress reports of both actions. Russian officials are forcing conscripts called up during the autumn conscription wave to be drafted within a day.
- Russian officials face major challenges balancing Russian force generation needs, which require the enthusiastic support of the milblogger community, and control of the Russian information space.
- A large-scale wave of Russian mobilization could begin in January of 2023. Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on December 5 that the Russian military, in concert with the Russian Internal Ministry, is taking steps to launch an electronic database by February 2023 to document the personal details of all soldiers and conscripts.
- Russian President is trying to prevent mobilized men and their families from complaining about mobilization problems, signing a law banning rallies in government buildings, universities, schools, hospitals, ports, train stations, churches, and airports—likely to suppress riots and protests among mobilized men and their families.
- Belgorod and Kursk oblasts have announced the formation of territorial defense units, under the absurd premise of the threat of a Ukrainian ground assault on Russia’s border regions.
- Putin’s decision to order a second wave of mobilization, general mobilization, or even announce a formal declaration of war with Ukraine will not fix the inherent constraints on Russian military power available for the war in Ukraine in the short term.
Above: Ostanni Podii
Ukrainian General Staff of the Armed Forces estimated enemy losses for last 24 hours
- Liquidated personnel, 92,740 +540
- Tanks ,2,935 +6
- Armored personnel vehicles, 5,904 +4
- Artillery systems/MLRS, 1,923/395 +8/0
- Anti-aircraft warfare systems, 211 (0)
- Aircraft/helicopters, 281/264 (0)
- UAV operational-tactical level, 1,601 +14
- Cruise missiles, 592 (0)
- Warships/boats, 16 (0)
- Vehicles and fuel tanks, 4,526 +21
- Special equipment, 163 (0)
- The threat of missile strikes on the objects of the energy system and critical infrastructure throughout the territory of Ukraine remains in the future.
- Russian forces continued to target frontline settlements and rear energy infrastructure in southern Ukraine on December 5 and 6. Russian and Ukrainian sources stated that Russian forces targeted infrastructure in Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk (including Kryvyi Rih), Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Zaporizhia (including Zaporizhzhia City) oblasts.
- Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces continued routine shelling along the line of contact west of Hulyaipole, Zaporizhia Oblast, against Nikopol and Marhanets, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, and against Ochakiv, Mykolaiv Oblast on December 5 and 6.
- The enemy continues to strike critical infrastructure and civilian homes in violation of International Humanitarian Law, the laws and customs of war.
- During the day, the enemy’s rocket attacks damaged the civil infrastructure of the settlement of Stepne, Zaporizhzhia
- In the Volyn and Polissya directions, training of enemy units continues on the training grounds of the republic of belarus. The republic of belarus continues to support the russian federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine, providing territory and airspace for launching missile and air strikes.
- In the Siversky direction, the enemy carried out mortar attacks on the settlements of Zapsilya and Myropillya of the Sumy oblast.
- In the Slobozhanskyi direction, the russian occupiers continue to keep their troops in the border areas of the Belgorod region. Areas of settlements of Strilecha, Ternova, Starytsa, Vovchanski Khutory, Chuhunivka of the Kharkiv oblast were shelled by tanks, mortars, and barrel artillery.
- In the Kupyansk direction, the enemy is conducting defensive operations on captured lines. It carried out shelling from tanks and the entire range of artillery in the areas of Dvorichna, Kotlyarivka, Tabaivka, Pishchane, Berestove settlements of the Kharkiv oblast; as well as Novoselivske and Stelmakhivka, Luhansk oblast.
- In the Lyman direction, the enemy fired tanks, mortars, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of the settlements of Makiivka, Ploshchanka and Nevske of the Luhansk oblast; Terny and Lyman of Donetsk oblast.
- In the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas, the enemy is concentrating its main efforts on conducting offensive operations. More than 20 settlements were shelled by tanks and artillery of various types, including Verkhnokamianske, Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, Bila Gora, Druzhba, Zalizne, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Novomykhailivka Donetsk oblast.
- The enemy is defending in the Novopavlovsk It carried out artillery and mortar attacks on the areas of Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Prechystivka and Zolota Nyva settlements of the Donetsk oblast.
- In the Zaporozhzhia direction, the enemy is trying to improve the tactical position. Fired tanks, mortars and artillery in more than 10 settlements, including Vremivka, Novopil of the Donetsk oblast; Dorozhnyanka, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Stepove and Plavni of the Zaporizhzhia oblast;
- In the Kherson direction, the enemy is conducting defensive operations, strengthening the grouping of troops. It carried out artillery shelling of areas of settlements bordering the contact line, in particular Osokorivka, Zolota Balka, Dudchany, Bilohrudove of the Kherson oblast and the city of Kherson.
Above: Dzerkalo Tyzhnya
- Ukrainian forces have likely made recent gains in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast as part of ongoing counteroffensive operations. The Ukrainian General Staff indicated on December 5 that Russian forces shelled Ukrainian positions about 50km northwest of Svatove and 15km south of the international border, indicating that Ukrainian troops have likely made limited advances in this area.
- Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai reported on December 5 that Russian troops are attempting to hold their positions along the entire Svatove-Kreminna line as they prepare defensive fallback positions in Starobilsk (50km east of the Svatove-Kreminna line).
- The Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Administration reported that Russian officials in Novoaidar, Luhansk Oblast shut off internet access to prevent Ukrainian partisans from reporting Russian forces’ positions to Ukrainian soldiers.
Above: Firefighters battle flames at civilian shopping center in Donetsk Oblast. (Babel)
- Ukrainian Spokesperson for the Eastern Group of Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhiy Cherevaty, stated on December 5 that the Bakhmut area is currently experiencing the most intense battles on the frontline but that Ukrainian forces are holding their defenses and inflicting maximum losses on Russian forces.
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are concentrating on improving their tactical positions around Bakhmut and conducted ground assaults in Bakhmut; north of Bakhmut, in Bilohorivka, Soledar, Berestove, Verkhnokamianske, Bakhmutske, and Andriivka; and south of Bakhmut in Opytne, Kurdyuimivka, Yakovlivka, and Klishchiivka on December 5 and 6.
- Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area on December 5 and 6. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Marinka (30km southwest of Avdiivka), Novomykhailivka (36km southwest of Avdiivka), and Krasnohorivka (about 28km southwest of Avdiivka) on December 5 and 6.
- Russian forces continued to conduct defensive operations in western Donetsk and eastern Zaporizhia oblasts on December 5 and 6. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted an airstrike near Vuhledar on December 5.
- Kremlin is carrying out information operation to suppress panic over the prospect of a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive in southern Ukraine that could eventually threaten Russian positions in Crimea and the few logistics lines connecting Crimea and the rest of occupied southern Ukraine.
- Russian Deputy Prime Minister announced on December 5 that Russian authorities completed repairs to all four road spans of the Kerch Strait Bridge following an attack on the bridge in September.
- Russian media outlets and milbloggers circulated footage of Russian President Vladimir Putin himself driving across the bridge, likely an effort to convince Russians that the bridge is stable and secure enough for Putin and therefore the rest of the populace.
- Crimean Occupation Administration Head announced that Crimea will operate under a high (yellow) level of terrorist threat awareness with unspecified enhanced security protocols from December 7 through December 22 during Crimean winter tourist season.