December 5,2023

Victory Chronicles-DAY 650

Russia controls most of Marinka, but the city is completely destroyed

According to British intelligence, Russian forces have been slowly advancing through the ruined city of Marinka in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. The occupation army currently controls most of the buildings in the town, while Ukrainian forces hold small areas on the western outskirts. 

Marinka has been a frontline town since 2014 and was home to 9,000 people before the Russian invasion. Drone footage confirms that the town is now completely destroyed. These recent operations are part of Russia’s autumn offensive, with a focus on expanding control over the Donetsk oblast. British intelligence considers this a key goal for the Kremlin in the war against Ukraine. 


Symbolic number of the Day

142 million

Germany’s leading arms manufacturer, Rheinmetall, has secured a contract worth approximately 142 million euros to supply artillery ammunition to Ukraine. The order includes tens of thousands of 155 mm artillery shells and will be produced by Rheinmetall’s Spanish subsidiary, Rheinmetall Expal Munitions. 

The ammunition will be delivered in 2025, with a preliminary order of about 40,000 shells expected to be fulfilled in 2024. The customer, a NATO partner country supporting Ukraine’s defense efforts, aims to provide long-term military assistance. The demand for artillery ammunition is high due to Ukraine’s requirements and the need to replenish depleted ammunition depots in Germany, other NATO nations, and EU countries. Rheinmetall plans to significantly increase its ammunition production capacity in 2024 across its plants in Germany, Spain, South Africa, and Australia, with an annual production target of around 700,000 artillery shells.


War in Pictures


The public relations service of the 28th Brigade, named after Lycariv Zymovoho Pochodu ([the Knights of the Winter Campaign]), has published photos of the Armed Forces’ repair units at work. “To take the damaged equipment from the positions, deliver it to the place of repair and, despite all the difficulties, to restore it quickly and efficiently. Weather and time of day do not matter. The work of the repair units may not seem very heroic. But it only seems so,” the Public Relations Service stated. 


Video of the Day

The Ukrinform news agency published a video of Ukrainian defenders destroying Russian Pion self-propelled artillery systems and Wasp air defense systems. Artillery destroyed Russian military equipment thanks to the adjustment of the Flying Skull aerial reconnaissance unit.


ISW report


Russia continues to reckon with the economic ramifications of labor shortages partially resulting from the war in Ukraine. Russian state media outlets reported on December 4 that Russian consulting company Yakov and Partners has recorded increased labor shortages in domestic production that will likely grow to a deficit of two to four million workers by 2030, 90 percent of whom are likely to be semi-skilled workers in critical industries.

Yakov and Partners noted that this supply shortage will place upward pressure on workers’ wages that will outpace GDP growth and make Russian companies even less attractive to foreign investment. Russian outlet RBK cited Russian economic experts who stated that this problem can only be resolved through improved interactions between Russian businesses and the state, including through dedicated programs to repatriate Russians who fled the country due to the war and programs to attract “highly-qualified” migrants from other countries.

ISW previously assessed that Russia continues to face shortages in both skilled and unskilled labor, a problem that is further compounded by the Kremlin’s inconsistent and often inflammatory messaging about Russians who fled Russia because of the war and against migrant workers within Russia. 

The Russian economy will likely continue to grapple with the Kremlin’s competing desires to bolster Russia’s force generation and industrial capacity while simultaneously disenfranchising key labor groups, which is likely to lead to continued concerns over Russian economic output and potential resulting social grievances.


War Heroes


Chief Sergeant Denys Vaselenko, with the call sign “Bull,” died on July 3, 2023, while performing a combat mission near the village of Novodanylivka, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. An enemy shell hit the dugout he was in. On June 17, the fighter turned 38 years old. 

Denys was born in Liepāja, Latvia. Since childhood, he lived in Zaporizhzhia. In 2005, he graduated from Zaporizhzhia Electrical Engineering College. The following year, he graduated from the Dnipro Industrial and Pedagogical College. In 2009, he received his basic higher education at the State Institute for Training and Retraining of Industrial Personnel, specializing in Economics and Entrepreneurship. He worked in the field of repair and construction. He completed a 3D Max design course and planned to realize his projects. With the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Denys voluntarily came to the defense of his country, having no military experience. 

In April 2022, he was drafted into the Berdiansk security company. There, he served as a machine gunner in the city of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Then he was transferred to the 59th separate rifle battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He fought in the Donetsk sector: near Kodema, Kurdyumivka, Zaitseve, Mayorske, Bakhmut, Pavlivka. In January 2023, he transferred to the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade “Magura”. He completed training in Germany and was appointed commander of a mortar team. In early summer, Denys’s brigade received an extremely difficult task – to launch a counteroffensive near Orikhiv. A month later, the warrior fought his last battle. 

“I am the wife of a Hero who gave the most valuable thing – his life – for the sake of our freedom. Denys was the best husband, father, son, brother and friend. He always enjoyed life and was very funny. I love him immensely and will love him for the rest of my life. We miss him very much…” said Liudmyla Vaselenko. The fighter was buried in Zaporizhzhia. Denys is survived by his parents, older brother, wife, son and daughter.


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