Summary of the daily livestream with Aleksey Arestovych, kindly brought to you by Anastasiya: @Anastasiya1451A
No major changes on the frontlines. Ukraine conducted a series of successful strikes (artillery, HIMARS, aviation) on Russian positions along almost the entire front (from Kherson to Zaporizhzhija and Lugansk).
🔥Kherson, Zaporizhzhija and Lugansk
Ukrainian artillery, HIMARS and drone strikes hit command posts, ammunition warehouses and military personnel bases on the East bank of Dnieper River in Kherson, Zaporizhzhja, Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
🔥Soledar, Mariinka & Bahmut
Russia continues its attempts to encircle Bakhmut. Heavy infantry clashed between Ukrainian defenders and Russian forces. Russian troops approach the East of the city of Bakhmut but the clashes continue.
Tactical clashes and minor movements of Ukrainian forces.
🔥Shahid drone attack on Kyiv
Russia launched 13 drones from the South (Black Sea) to attack Kyiv. All drones were destroyed by Ukrainian air defence.
🔥Zaluzhny’s interview to The Economist
Commander of Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Zaluzhny, told the journalists at The Economist that Russia will attempt to use the mobilization to prepare a new attack on Kyiv and the North of Ukraine around February 2023. Therefore, Ukraine needs to prepare for that and will require more weapons and heavy armoured vehicles to defend and accelerate effective counteroffensive operations and liberate its territories.
Indeed, while Russia has failed in all of its initial objectives, Russian Regime still attempts to use the mobilization and Iranian drones to try to sell to the Russian populace some resemblance of accomplishment. In particular, the current key objectives are to defend & keep the occupied territories of Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The current Russian tactic is to throw Wagner mercenaries and prisoners as cannon fodder and, in the words of Russian military commanders, “to cleanse Russian prison and society”. Use of bodies to buy time for the accumulation of resources (production, purchasing Iranian weapons, repair of old equipment) and training of mobilized that would be used in the next round of invasion of Ukraine.
Currently, these Russian reserves are about 200k. The addition of this 200k Russian reserve to the current 150-170k Russian troops already in Ukraine would create some problems. Nevertheless, the quality of training, combat preparedness, and equipment of these new reserve Russian forces is inferior to the initial invasion force.
At the same time, Ukraine has about 1M people, and the quality of training and weapons is steadily increasing since the 24th of February.
🔥Arestovych’ forecast for the next 2-3 months
Russia is hoping to repeat the Lysychansk/Severodonetsk (April-July) scenario in 2-3 months. However, the elite Russian troops (VDV, marines) and mercenary companies, with immense artillery firepower while Ukraine didn’t have any substantial Western weapons, only managed to occupy 3 cities, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk and Popasna. Now, the quality of the new invasion force composed of mobilized is under question.
Russia will try to attack Kyiv again to stop Ukrainian resistance, which is an erroneous assumption from the start. The main goal of the Kremlin will still be to occupy the whole Donetsk and Lugasnk region.
🔥Ukraine has its own plan
While the 200k of Russian reserve troops and the potential arrival of Iranian ballistic missiles could make the situation difficult for the Ukrainian Army, the situation won’t be as dangerous as in the first months of the full-scale invasion.
The Ukrainian General Staff is preparing the defence for the worst-case scenario and is actually planning to keep the initiative in the counteroffensive operations. In the same interview, Zaluzhny requested more weapons for Ukraine to speed up the counteroffensive and expand it. General Zaluzhny stated that more weapons are needed to conduct multiple counteroffensive operations. Currently, Ukraine has the resources for only one major counteroffensive, but it’s ready.
Ukraine will not wait for Russia to complete its plans. Ukrainian Army, Government & people have ruined the Russian regime’s plans several times before and they will keep doing it.
As stated by Sun Tzu – the topmost military skill is to ruin the plans of the enemy. And Ukraine is prepared to do it.
🔥Russian losses in Bahmut-Soledar
In the last 3 months, the losses of the Russian army just in the Bakhmut & Soledar area were over 60k troops (KIA+WIA) – the two cities that Russia is still trying to capture.
🔥Acceleration of Western military aid
Together with the discussion of Patriot transfer to Ukraine other transfers of military equipment to Ukraine are accelerations (e.g. Slovakian MiGs). The Western allies of Ukraine are aware of the Russian plans and the Ukrainian determination to liberate all Ukrainian territories. Ukraine is going to preserve its capacity to conduct a counteroffensive and may have a couple of surprises for Russia in Spring 2023.
🔥Mobilization in Russia
The current Russian reserve of 200k mobilized troops, as well as mercenaries-prisoners, will eventually vanish and Kremlin may attempt to mobilize more people. The key question remains – “Is Russia and Russian society capable of another major effort to conduct mobilization and logistical operations without plunging into a major societal and economic crisis?”
Arestovych has his doubts.
🔥Belarus & Belarusian army
While the Russian regime wishes to involve the Belarusian army in the conflict and to stage another invasion in the North of Ukraine, the Belarusian government and military are resisting. Lukashenko is, on one hand, maneuvering between Russia, China and the West to reduce Russian influence. At the same time, the military is also opposed to the direct conflict with the Ukrainian army and uses creative excuses to create an appearance of training the Belarusian army.
Even if Russia starts to prepare the invasion force in Belarus, it will take 1-2 months and even then, the invasion from Belarus would depend on external factors and geopolitical climate. The danger of invasion from Belarus is real but is not imminent.
🔥More sanctions for Russia and financial aid to Ukraine by EU
EU has approved the 9th package of sanctions against Russia (personal and economical ones). At the same time, 18B euros humanitarian aid package to Ukraine was approved, circumventing Hungary’s veto. These are clear signs of united policy of EU and the will to resist Russian aggression and influence.
The next step will be a Russian gas cap.
🔥Negotiating with Russian war criminals?
The aggressive Russian energetical policy, bribing of EU officials, Russian war crimes (the constant attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, torture, rape and murder of civilians, including children) increase the determination of the West to sever all business with Russia.
The West will also be increasing its military-industrial activity and military aid to Ukraine.
🔥Poland & the US
Poland has recognised Russian Federation as a sponsor of terrorism. There is a movement to recognise Holodomor as a genocide against Ukrainians. At the same time, the US congress has introduced an initiative to expel the Russian Federation from the UN council.
Next stream on Friday, 16th of December.