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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 21 – Kyiv Post

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Key Takeaways

  • Two times of shelling caused prevalent injury to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
  • The Russian federal government is continuing to escalate control more than the Russian information and facts place.
  • Ukrainian intelligence documented that Russian distinctive companies are organizing wrong flag attacks on Belarusian vital infrastructure in an try that would probably fall short to pressure the Belarusian military services to enter the war in Ukraine. ISW continues to assess that it is not likely Belarusian forces will enter the war.
  • A Ukrainian formal acknowledged that Ukrainian forces are conducting a navy procedure on the Kinburn Spit, Mykolaiv Oblast.
  • The November 18 video clip of a Russian soldier opening hearth on a group of Ukrainian servicemen although Russian troops ended up surrendering has served as a catalyst for even further division in between the Kremlin and prominent voices in the Russian data area.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in eastern Ukraine amid worsening weather conditions ailments.
  • Russian forces continued ground assaults in the vicinity of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian forces continued conducting defensive steps and setting up fortifications in Kherson Oblast south of the Dnipro River as Ukrainian forces ongoing putting Russian drive accumulations in southern Ukraine.
  • Russian mobilized staff go on to protest and desert as their kin keep on to publicly advocate versus mobilization concerns.
  • Russian profession authorities intensified filtration actions and the incorporation of occupied territory into Russia.

Two times of shelling induced common destruction to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Electrical power Plant (ZNPP) on November 20 and 21. The Worldwide Atomic Electrical power Company (IAEA) stated on November 21 that there are no fast nuclear security and protection problems and that the integrity of all six nuclear reactors and the spent and clean fuel storage facilities stay uncompromised inspite of the powerful shelling.[1] Russia and Ukraine the two accused the other of conducting the artillery strikes on the ZNPP on November 20 and 21.[2] One Russian milblogger referenced a movie of the shelling taken by Chechen forces and said that it appeared the shelling came from positions in Russian-managed territory south of the ZNPP, not Ukrainian-controlled territory north of the ZNPP.[3] Russian nuclear operator Rosatom Head Alexey Likhachev warned of a nuclear catastrophe at the ZNPP, and Russian milbloggers largely amplified his statements and identified as for the transfer of all Ukrainian nuclear electrical power crops to Russian procedure.[4] ISW has previously assessed that Russian forces have staged bogus flag attacks versus the ZNPP and earlier described on Russian forces’ unlawful militarization of the ZNPP.[5] Artillery strikes by themselves are not likely to penetrate the containment models defending each individual nuclear reactor and alternatively pose a better danger to the expended nuclear gas storage facilities, which could leak radioactive product and cause a radiological (as opposed to nuclear) catastrophe if compromised. The continued conflation of radiological and nuclear incidents and the regular discussion of the danger of catastrophe at the ZNPP is most likely portion of a wider Russian facts procedure intended to undermine Western help for Ukraine and frame Russian management of the plant as crucial to steer clear of nuclear disaster in order to consolidate additional operational and administrative manage of Ukrainian nuclear belongings and compel features of the worldwide local community to acknowledge Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory at least obliquely.

The Russian government is continuing to raise its management of the Russian details house as a Russian milblogger mentioned that Russian attempts to shape the facts area “look like a kitten from a rhinoceros” in contrast with overseas “think tanks,” non-profit corporations, and “independent media.”[6] Russian news outlet Kommersant reported on November 21 that the Russian State Duma may possibly contemplate a invoice prior to the end of 2022 on the regulation of online “recommender” algorithms that would eventually make it possible for the governing administration to switch off unique algorithms.[7] The invoice is reportedly staying formulated by Duma Deputy on Information Plan Anton Gorelkin and will consist of the regulation of social media networks, online cinemas, research engines, and world-wide-web marketplaces.[8] Kommersant pointed out that this bill will need the proprietors of all websites and platforms to assure the government’s skill to completely or partially block the participation of certain users and that these provisions appeared before the beginning of the war in October 2021 to particularly target Western outlets this sort of as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube due to the possibility of “social conflict.”[9] Certain Russian milbloggers responded to the speculation relating to the monthly bill and noted that this sort of recommender algorithms make it more difficult for nations to disperse propaganda because of to the prevalence of accessible and personally customized information and facts obtainable on the world wide web.[10]The Duma is probably thinking about this monthly bill in an try to deal with a reliable point of neuralgia in the Kremlin’s capability to current and defend the war to domestic audiences and to establish a immediate implies of countering both of those internal and exterior resources of on line dissent.

The Russian Federal State Stability Services (FSB) in addition took actions to codify control about the information and facts room and signed a decree on November 4 that accredited a list of army and military services-technological things to do, which if acquired by foreign resources, can be applied from the security of the Russian Federation.[11] The decree effectively codifies types of facts relating to Russian navy functions that the FSB regards as threats to Russian security that are not technically labeled as formal condition secrets and consists of a wide list of provisions relating to informational coverage of the war these kinds of as “information on the assessment and forecasts of the improvement of the armed forces-political, strategic (operational) predicament,” and “information about the observance of rule of law and the moral and psychological climate” of Russian troops.[12] This decree represents an extended exertion on the component of the FSB to broadly ban a huge vary of information and facts on the Russian army, which would ostensibly area tighter controls on discourse amongst Russian milbloggers and other this kind of resources who often go over and criticize tactical, operational, and strategic proportions of the war in Ukraine.

Both equally the proposed Duma bill and the FSB decree suggest that the Russian federal government is scrambling to acquire command of the information house as it is more and more inundated by criticisms of the Russian armed service that are levied equally internally and externally. Russian officials most likely request to consolidate censorship actions to crack down on the prevalence of foreign voices and domestic critiques by making use of legislative stress to basic algorithms and presenting a extensive variety of functions that can be regarded harmful to Russian state protection.

Ukrainian intelligence described that Russian exclusive providers are planning bogus flag attacks on Belarusian critical infrastructure in an endeavor that would very likely fail to force the Belarusian armed service to enter the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Most important Navy Intelligence Directorate (GUR) described on November 20 that Russian special expert services are organizing to perform quite a few wrong flag terrorist assaults on Belarusian significant infrastructure amenities, specifically on the “Ostrovets” Belarusian nuclear electricity plant.[13] GUR also reported that Russian special products and services will blame the attacks on Ukrainian and NATO member states to accelerate the Belarusian military’s involvement in Russia‘s war in Ukraine.[14] ISW has beforehand assessed that Belarus’ entry into the war stays highly not likely because of to the hefty domestic hazard that involvement would pose to the survival of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and that Russian and Belarusian spotlight their bilateral defense cooperation to perpetuate an ongoing info operation that the Belarusian military will enter the war.[15] Potential untrue flag assaults stay unlikely to alter the domestic components that ISW carries on to evaluate constrain Lukashenko’s willingness to enter the war on Russia’s behalf.

A Ukrainian formal acknowledged on November 21 that Ukrainian forces are conducting a army operation on the Kinburn Spit, a place which would allow Ukrainian forces to far better carry out probable functions on the remaining (east) bank in Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian Southern Defense Forces spokesperson Natalia Humenyuk mentioned on November 21 that Ukrainian forces are conducting a army procedure on the Kinburn Spit and termed for operational silence to be revered.[16] Humenyuk emphasized that the Kinburn Spit is the very last piece of territory that Russian forces occupy in Mykolaiv Oblast.[17] The Kinburn Spit is only 4km throughout the strait from Ochakiv and allows for command of the entrance to the Dnipro and Southern Bug rivers as perfectly as the Mykolaiv and Kherson metropolis ports. Russian forces applied positions on the Kinburn Spit to carry out schedule missile and artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in Ochakiv, southern Mykolaiv Oblast, and other places together the Ukrainian-managed Black Sea Coast.[18] The Kinburn Spit is also out of the 25km assortment of 152mm artillery that Russian forces have amassed on the remaining (east) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. Regulate of the Kinburn Spit would permit Ukrainian forces to relieve Russian strikes on the Ukrainian-managed Black Sea coastline, increase naval action in the region, and carry out opportunity functions to cross to the remaining (east) bank in Kherson Oblast beneath appreciably much less Russian artillery hearth as opposed to a crossing of the Dnipro River.

The November 18 video clip of a Russian soldier opening fire on a team of Ukrainian servicemen though Russian troops have been surrendering has served as a catalyst for even further division in between the Kremlin and notable voices in the Russian information and facts place. As ISW noted on November 18, a video clip widely circulated on social media demonstrates a Russian soldier fire on Ukrainian troops as Ukrainian soldiers were being using prisoners in Makiivka, Luhansk Oblast, resulting in the fatalities of the Russian prisoners. Open up-supply analysts and later a New York Times independent investigation verified that the Russian serviceman was the initial to open up hearth but did not present conclusions about how the Russian prisoners died.[19] While Russian officers responded to the movie by adamantly accusing Ukraine of war crimes and contacting for an investigation into the identities of the Ukrainian soldiers, quite a few Russian milbloggers capitalized on the written content of the online video to criticize the Russian navy and mobilization techniques. 1 milblogger noted that the Makiivka shooting movie is a obvious case in point of how mobilized recruits lack the simple morale and willpower to thoroughly combat for their beliefs and claimed that it is ridiculous that so a lot of Russian troopers even surrendered to Ukrainian troops in the very first put.[20] The divide amongst milbloggers criticizing the Makiivka shooting is emblematic of Russian navy failures, and the Kremlin’s applying it to even further an facts operation against the Ukrainian military services may possibly even more fragment the data space.

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The post ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 21 – Kyiv Post appeared first on Ukraine Intelligence.

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