North (assessed Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) Main Effort).
- To the northwest of Kyiv, offensive activities slowed. RFAF continued to deploy engineering equipment in order to build sustainable positions for the long siege of the city ahead. One attack did occur in Brovary which was halted reportedly inflicting heavy casualties on Russian Forces.
- Unconfirmed reports suggest that additional reinforcements from 90th Tank Division arrived in Chernihiv. Russian forces have not conducted ground operations against Chernihiv city in the past 24hrs but bombardment continues.
- RFAF in Sumy did not conduct any offensive operations in the past 24hrs.
- RFAF continue to shell Zhytomyr Region it is now reported that GRAD rocket launchers were used – this may be the first time in this region.
With caption: Ukrainian defence forces preparing for further ground assaults on Kyiv, SOURCE: @Reuters
- Kharkiv faced no ground assaults but remains under artillery fire.
- No significant activity in Izium occurred in the reporting period, but it remains contested on two flanks.
- RFAF are reportedly re-building a railway between Valuyki (Russia) and Kupiansk (Ukraine). There is very little to corroborate this reporting but it is possible given Russian doctrinal use of rail for logistics.
- Russian troops continue to attack Kreminna, Rubzhne, Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk and Popasna. Control of key terrain fluctuates between sides with no significant progress achieved
- On the eastern axis ground assaults did occur. Attempts by RFAF to break Ukrainian lines near Avdiivka and Horlivka were unsuccessful successful.
- In vicinity of Kamyanske, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukranian Forces have been targeting Russian heavy armour with at least one recorded success. Russian forces are not making advances in the area which gives Ukrainian defence Forces the opportunity to cause damage.
- Russian and proxy forces continue to push from the Donbas. It is likely that the next objective for these forces is Novomykhailivka.
- Russian forces have seized the abandoned Mariupol airfield. Fighting in the city remains heavy. Contested areas include the Azovstal industrial complex which has been well publicised.
- OSINT has been used to further corroborate the presence of Chechen fighters in Mariupol. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has released several videos of his forces in the area via his Telegram account.
- Ukrainian 80th Air Assault Brigade were engaged in counter attacks in vicinity of Pisky and Inhulka in the Mykolaiv Oblast.
- Ukrainian forces are also reportedly pushing towards Kherson in further ambitious counter attacks. In Kherson the Russian National Guard opened fire on civilians attending a pro-Ukrainian rally.
- There is also a renewed RFAF attempt to move north to Kryvyi Rih, but the progress is slow.
- Russian forces also shelled the village of Kamyanske at the forward edge of their advance but have made no progress towards Zaporizhzhia.
Footage from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is circulating social media, SOURCE: @chambersharold8
Russian aggression towards Ukrainian civilians is recorded and released on social media – this is in Kherson, SOURCE: @RALee85
- OSINT analysts have highlighted the presence of a dedicated SEAD platform (Il-22PP) flying near Ukraine in Belarus. ISR has not been heavily used in the conflict but is an area where RFAF seek to improve. The Il-22PP performs SIGINT and stand-off jamming missions.
- Pressure on PM Johnson to reconsider plans to visit Ukraine has increased. Opposition members and the media highlight lack of progress on domestic issues as just cause for a delay/stop to plans.
- US President Joe Biden has used very strong language to suggest the possibility of Russia using Chemical weapons has increased, stating that Putin’s “back is against the wall and now he’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up including, asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe” and suggesting this is a clear sign of intent.
- Offensive activity has not yet recommenced with added intensity. Although bombardments and other shaping operations will continue it appears RFAF will focus on building sustainable positions. These are likely designed to better cope with Ukrainian counter attacks. Such attacks will be well publicised but remain indecisive at this time. A long period of siege is expected in Kyiv and in the shaping phase Ukrainian deterrence and defences as well as RFAF sustainability will dictate the length of the siege.
- RFAF use of rail is to be expected where possible, as this allows for increased military supply. Historically and doctrinally Russia depends on rail for military activity. Speed and maintenance of momentum in an offensive are similarly doctrinal as logistic chains are enforced at later stages of conflict. Although Ukrainian successes are over publicised compared to the progress RFAF, each day’s delay does force RFAF to act not in accordance with doctrine.
- Pressure on RFAF is still assessed to have had little impact on Putin’s decision to use Chemical Weapons. Accepting that precursor activity has happened to enable a false flag operation it is likely that this is still considered dangerously escalatory by Putin, and Biden knows this, hence his more recent statements. In the short term an increase in Cyber attacks is more likely.
- Use of proxy forces in the Donbas, Chechens in Mariupol and Syrian Forces which are highly likely bolstering RFAF is another divergence from doctrine. This divergence is due to pressure on Putin. But this pressure in domestic as Putin wants to delay the use of reserves as long as possible. Reserve deployments would be an indicator to both the West and the Russian Public that the conflict is not going as planned.
Kyiv and Mariupol are the main effort for RFAF in the short term. Kyiv is unlikely to receive a considerable increase in ground activity whilst RFAF make preparations. These are likely to take another 48hrs. A siege will take approximately 2 weeks to conclude with Russian control of key sites but even still this will not equate to the end of fighting as resistance forces are likely to endure far longer. Ukrainian Government functionality is not predicated on their presence in Kyiv, but Russian control of the city will be totemic. RFAF assess that they can take Mariupol without the same levels of preparation needed for Kyiv. In the next 48hrs we are likely to see fighting intensify. The next 24hrs will see incremental gains for RFAF across most axes but Ukrainian defences will continue in incur heavy losses on RFAF logistics and static targets. Successful Ukrainian counter attacks are only likely to hold for a short period.