Ukraine Situation Report: No Russian Cruise Missile, Iranian Drone Strikes In Past Week Kyiv Says
The pause in missile and Iranian drone strikes is being chalked up to Russia’s dwindling stockpile of those weapons.
The Russians, facing supply shortages, have not fired any cruise missiles or launched any attacks using Iranian Shahed-136 drones on Ukraine’s power infrastructure over the past week, the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman said Monday.
“We don't see any [attacks] within the last week [by] Shahed-136 drones and cruise missiles,” said Yuri Ignat during a media briefing Monday, calling the pause a “conditional quietness.”
“Obviously, the enemy cannot afford to launch massive missile strikes all the time, because it experiences a shortage of these weapons. This also applies to Iskanders and [Kh]-555, [Kh]-101 missiles, as well as Kalibr” cruise missiles.
Last month, the Russians only fired 15 Kalibrs, said Ignat, "which means that these missiles are in deficit with the enemy and they cannot manufacture them on the large scale in a fast manner.”
As for "the quietness in terms of rocket strikes and missile strikes, I think that the enemy is accumulating its forces because as I previously mentioned, they cannot afford to constantly strike on us,” said Ignat. “And we can relate it to something that happened in the southern direction. We witnessed the liberation of the [west] bank of the Dnipro River. And apparently, the enemy concentrated their attention to preserve the group of troops in that area to get regrouped and relocated.”
The missile shortage described by Ignat tracks with what Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of that nation's Defense Intelligence Directorate, told Ukrainian Pravda last month.
“About 13 percent remains for Iskanders, about 43 percent for Kalibr-PL, Kalibr-NK missiles, and about 45 percent for Kh-101 and Kh-555 missiles,” Budanov told the Ukrainian newspaper. “It is generally very dangerous to fall below 30 percent because it already goes [in]to 'NZ' [reserve stocks]. … Due to the lack of missiles and their low efficiency and accuracy, they were forced to use Iranian drones. They use 'Shahed' en masse here.”
But now Russia appears to be a shortage of those drones, Ignat said.
To date, more than 330 out of some 400 Iranian “suicide” drones have been destroyed by the Ukrainian Defense Forces, he said Monday. “They were [launched] from the Crimea, from the Kherson region, from the Zaporizhzhia region, as well as from the Kursk region of Russia and the territory of Belarus.”
Russia has ordered another 1,500 Iranian drones, said Ignat, "but to order is one thing: they have to be delivered, they have to be located at the launch sites, and only then they can be used. These deliveries appear to continue depending on a number of factors.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials said that they expected a new tranche of Iranian drones, as well as Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to be delivered from Iran to Russia for its war in Ukraine. You can read more about that here.
During a press briefing Monday afternoon, a senior U.S. military official told reporters, including from The War Zone, that the Pentagon has seen a slowdown in the number of Russian missile and drone strikes.
“Missile strikes and drone strikes have slowed down a bit since the end of October,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “However, we do continue to see the Russians strike at civilian infrastructure, doing damage to things like the electrical grid as Ukraine heads into the winter.”
Russia's "munitions stockpiles are challenged and particularly when it comes to precision-guided munitions," the official said.
The official had "no new updates" to provide about future delivery of Iranian drones and SRBMs.
"We do remain concerned about Russian and Iranian discussions to provide additional weapons to Russia for their fight in Ukraine," the official said. "And so that's something that we will continue to keep an eye on."
On Monday, the European Union (EU) expanded the sanctions it previously placed on Iran over the supply of drones to Russia.
The EU added two individuals and two Iranian legal entities to the sanction list due to suspicions of drones’ supplies to Russia, according to the official Russian state news agency TASS, citing the EU’s Official Journal.
Before heading into today’s news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can get caught up on our previous rolling coverage here.
There have been reports, as yet unconfirmed, about new Ukrainian advances in the Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts.
Rumors are swirling about Ukrainian troops crossing over to the east bank of the Dnipro River at the town of Oleshky, just south of the Khavhova Hydroelectric Power Plant dam.
There are additional reports about Ukrainian forces capturing the Kinburn Peninsula, the last piece of Russian-held territory in Mykolaiv Oblast.
Though Russia now has tens of thousands of more troops on the east side of the Dnipro in the wake of its loss of Kherson City, it still has a very long front to maintain. And it is possible that Ukrainian forces could just bypass the river in any future attack on the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.
The senior U.S. defense official deferred specific questions about the location of Ukrainian forces to Kyiv, but is "not aware of any operations at this stage of the Ukrainians crossing the river."
Elsewhere on the battlefield, fierce fighting continues in the Donbas, with the Russian Defense Ministry (MOD) claiming that its forces recaptured the town of Pavlovka in Donetsk. Here are some key takeaways from the latest Institute for the Study of War assessment.
- Wagner Group Financer Yevgeny Prigozhin asked the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to open a case against St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov for high treason amid viral footage of Wagner forces murdering one of their own. Prigozhin and Russian nationalist milbloggers largely supported the murder of the alleged traitor.
- The Russian military grouping stationed in Belarus continues to generate social tensions among Belarusians.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove.
- Ukrainian forces continued to consolidate control over the right bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces struck a Russian military base in Chaplynka, Kherson Oblast, 50km south of Beryslav on the eastern bank of the Dnipro.
- Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the directions of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that Russian forces captured Mayorsk, southeast of Bakhmut.
- Russian forces continued routine indirect fire against frontline settlements in Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts. Russian forces struck Zaporizhzhia City with an Iskander missile.
- Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the demobilization of mobilized students in Russian-occupied Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, likely as part of an ongoing effort to integrate proxy forces into the Russian Armed Forces.
- Russian forces and occupation officials are forcibly mobilizing men in Russian-occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhia Oblast, and forcing them to construct trenches and defensive fortifications in the city.
- Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces are withdrawing from the left bank of the Dnipro River and concentrating forces and equipment in Melitopol, Zaporizhia Oblast, and Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed an amendment to a draft law that would allow Russian officials to revoke Russian citizenship for disseminating “false” information about the Russian military, participating in extremist or undesirable organizations, or calling for violations of Russian “territorial integrity.”
During a three-hour meeting in Bali on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting, U.S President Joe Biden met with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to talk about, among other things, the war in Ukraine.
The White House said the two leaders agreed that “a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.” Though Xi has signaled his concerns about the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine before, the White House was eager for the Chinese president to reiterate that stance during the meeting, officials said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Xi also restated China’s support for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, and expressed hope that the U.S., the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will commence comprehensive talks with Moscow.
And in Turkey, CIA director William J. Burns met with his Russian counterpart on Monday to warn Russia against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a White House spokesman said.
The National Security Council said Burns’s meeting in Ankara was not in any way to negotiate or to discuss any settlement of the war in Ukraine. Ukraine was briefed in advance on the trip, the spokesman said.
Biden has insisted that Ukraine will dictate if and when negotiations commence to end the war. "But a disagreement has emerged at the highest levels of the United States government over whether to press Ukraine to seek a diplomatic end to the war with Russia, with America’s top general urging in closed-door meetings that Ukraine should negotiate to cement its recent gains," The New York Times reported.
Burns also planned in the meeting to raise the matter of Americans detained in Russia, the National Security Council said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday concurred with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it is up to Ukraine to decide how and when to negotiate an end to Putin's all out war.
"Most wars end at some stage around the negotiating table," Stoltenberg said Monday during a press conference. "But what happens around the table is fundamentally linked to the situation of the battlefield. So what we should do is to support Ukraine and strengthen their hand so at some stage, they convene negotiations where Ukraine prevails as an independent sovereign nation. It is for Ukraine to decide. They are paying the highest price in terms of people's lives and the damage to the country. So it's for Ukraine to decide what the kinds of terms that are acceptable for them. It is for us to support them and maximize the likelihood for an acceptable outcome."
The UN General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution calling for Russia to pay war reparations to Ukraine, as ambassadors met to resume their emergency special session devoted to the conflict.
"Nearly 50 nations co-sponsored the resolution on establishing an international mechanism for compensation for damage, loss and injury, as well as a register to document evidence and claims," according to the UN. "Ninety-four countries voted in favor of the resolution, and 14 against, while 73 abstained." Russia, of course, objected.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson City three days after Ukrainian troops recaptured the regional capital, the only one Russia had held during its all-out invasion. Zelensky joked with reporters about "Kherson watermelon," the region's prized fruit, but was serious when talking about taking a risk to support the people of that city.
Not surprisingly, Moscow was not pleased by the visit.
"Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, is outraged by the arrival of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s President, in the city of Kherson, which has been liberated from the occupiers," Ukrainian Pravda reported. "Peskov did not want to comment on journalists' questions about Zelenskyy's arrival in Kherson, but he said that the administrative center of Kherson Oblast is "the territory of Russia".
In what has become a disturbing pattern of discoveries after Ukraine offensives, there are new allegations of Russian atrocities in Kherson. During his visit to Kherson, Zelensky told the Kyiv Independent that there were likely "hundreds" of war crimes committed by Russians during their occupation.
The U.S. has not ruled out providing Ukraine with General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle armed drones, CNN reports.
"According to two officials, the US has been looking into modifications that can be made to the deadly drone," according to CNN. "Changes that would make the potential of losing any – with their sensitive onboard technology – less of a danger and possibly increase the likelihood of Ukraine receiving them."
“There are specific and very technical tweaks and neutering that can be done to these that may make it possible in the nearer term,” a congressional official said. “But those things take time and are fairly complex.”
In June, Ukrainian pilots questioned the need for those drones, which you can read more about here.
Citizens of the Czech Republic, meanwhile, have launched a fundraising campaign for the purchase of 15 Czech-made Viktor air defense systems.
"It is a modified Toyota all-terrain vehicle equipped with a pair of KPVT machine guns, which are capable of effectively defending strategic and civilian targets from suicide drone raids and aerial bombardment," according to Dalibor Dědek, the Czech businessman behind the effort. "But there is only one goal: to close the sky over Ukraine to Putin's killers."
More definitely though, Ukraine has received 12 more M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Lithuania, including 10 120 mm self-propelled mortars, according to Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas . That makes a total of 62 of those APCs Lithuania has delivered to Ukraine, he said.
And up to a dozen French self-propelled CAESAR howitzers as well as 20 ACMAT Bastion APCs are on the move from France to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine Weapons Tracker OSINT group reports that a Chinese W85 12.7X108 heavy machine gun has been spotted mounted on a Ukrainian technical vehicle. Its sourcing remains a mystery.
On the battlefield, video has emerged of Ukrainian forces using a drone to correct fire from an automatic grenade launcher with devastating effects on Russian troops.
Ukrainian forces are continuing to use drone-released grenades with great effect as well.
And more video has emerged of drone on drone battles, with a Ukrainian drone reportedly victorious in this engagement.
Ukrainian forces also apparently took out another drone from the ground, this time a Russian Orlan-10, destroyed by a Martlet man-portable air defense system (MANPADS).
During the Kherson offensive, Ukrainian forces were seen storming a Russian position with a BMP infantry fighting vehicle. Things apparently did not go so well for the Russians.
An attempted Russian advance in Donetsk, on the other hand, was apparently repulsed.
A Ukrainian sniper apparently killed a Russian soldier from a distance of 2,710 meters, or about 1.7 miles, according to the Ukrainian military.
That unnamed soldier knocked the kill by British former soldier Craig Harrison out of second place, according to The Mirror. A confirmed sniper kill in combat, he shot and killed two Taliban machine gunners from a distance of 2,475 meters (nearly 6,600 feet).
"We would like to remind [people] that the first place in the world is occupied by a shot from a Canadian sniper at a distance of 3,540 meters [11,614 feet] while performing a task in Iraq, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said.
Russian "hacktivists" have infected several Ukrainian organizations with a new ransomware strain called "Somnia," encrypting systems and causing operational problems.
"The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) has confirmed the outbreak via an announcement on its portal, attributing the attacks to 'From Russia with Love' (FRwL), also known as 'Z-Team,' whom they track as UAC-0118," bleepingcomputer.com reported.
During their retreat from Kherson, the Russians stole a number of things, but perhaps nothing more bizarre than a raccoon they apparently purloined from the Kherson Zoo.
And of course, in a war that has inspired a million memes, another has emerged commemorating the ripped-off raccoon.
That's it for now. We will update this story if there is anything major to add until our next new update is published.
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