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301st Day of the Ukraine-Russia War 21 December 2022

The 10th month of the operation is now complete. On the 301st day of the operation, Russia’s offensive in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions with the aim of capturing the entire Donbas continues, and its defence in the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions continues. Ukraine’s offensive to seize the Svatove-Kreminna line in the Luhansk region, its defence in the Donetsk region, and efforts to control the region in other regions are continuing.

We can say that our predictions that mutual attacks will stop or slow down in the winter season have not come true for now, maybe in the coming days.

The most important news of the day was Zelensky’s visit to the town of Bakhmut on the contact line and the Ukrainian soldiers there, and Zelensky’s departure to the USA today to meet with the USA president. It is the first time that the Ukrainian leader is out of the country since the war started. It is said that he will meet with the USA president and address the USA congress.

Zelensky, who wants the Patriot air defence system from the USA, will get his wish, I think. Also, Ukrainian soldiers in Bakhmut handed Zelensky a signed Ukrainian flag to be forwarded to Biden.

On 19th December, in Minsk, Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met. They did not make a statement outlining the prospects for Belarus to enter the war against Ukraine on the side of Russia, they only stated that they were focusing on the defense of Belarus against the NATO threat. They also shared statements such as that Russia will provide Air Defence Systems and training support to Belarus. It is necessary to follow what Russia’s approximately 12000 military units can do there. The USA spokesperson also stated that they are following this and are concerned. Our estimation is that, at least for now, Belarus will not engage in such an operation, but will continue to allow Russia to use its country. However, it should be noted that the Belarusian leader’s statement “Russia does not need us, but we need Russia”. In other words, we understand this statement as Belarus may intervene at the point of Russia’s failure in the field of operations.

Iran continues to reinforce Russia with kamikaze drones. It was announced that such drones were last used in the Kyiv region. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov evaluated that Russia has enough missiles to carry out three or four more large-scale missile attacks using about 100 missiles, and then it will need to buy more missiles from Iran.

KUPYANSK-SVATOVE-KREMINNA-SIVERSK BATTLE ZONE

Russian forces continue their limited counter-attacks to regain the positions they lost on the Svatove-Kreminna line.

It is stated that the Ukrainian elements stopped the Russian attacks against the Stelmakhivka, Makiivka and Chervonopopivka regions and continued the Ukrainian attacks in the north and south of Kreminna, aiming to break up the Svatove-Kreminna line. It is stated that especially the Ukrainian troops are getting closer to Svatove and the distance to the Russian defence line in the Svatove region is about 7 km.

In the south of the Donets river,

The Russians are trying to advance in the direction of Serebryanske and it has been announced that their attack, which tried to seize the Ukrainian positions around Bilohorivka and Verkhnokamyanske, was not successful.

BAKHMUT BATTLE ZONE

The efforts of the Russian forces to enter the town of Bakhmut from the east and south continue. It is also stated that the Russian elements, who entered the town from the east and controlled several streets, retreated in the face of the Ukrainian reaction. However, we see again the efforts of the recovered Russians to enter the town from the east. We see that the Russians are trying to reinforce the region and take over the town. Moreover, the reward for this goal is despite the losses it has given and will inflict. According to the statements originating from Ukraine, it has been announced that Russia has given approximately 100.000 casualties (Dead-Captive-Missing-Wounded etc.) since the beginning of the operation.

In addition, we see the efforts of the Russians to develop their offensive in the north and south of Bakhmut in order to surround the town of Bakhmut and develop the operation in the direction of Slovyansk.

Ukrainian Forces reported that Ukrainian troops destroyed five to seven Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups near Bakhmut every day – forcing them to retreat.

The Ukrainian General Staff stated:

– Russian troops continued their offensive against Bakhmut near Soledar, Bakhmutske and Pidhorodne, northeast of Bakhmut, but were not successful,

– Russian troops tried to enter the city from the east and south to capture Bakhmut, and they put the city under intense fire,

– Russian troops stopped the offensive near Klishchiivka and Andriivka south of Bakhmut,

– The Ukrainian counter-attack of the Russian elements entering the city from the east of Bakhmut was successful and the Russians withdrew.

Russian milbloggers claimed that Wagner Group fighters fought south of Bakhmut and in Bakhmut’s industrial area, including the southeastern outskirts of Bakhmut.

We would also like to point out that Russia, which could not develop its operation in the town of Bakhmut as planned and still could not capture the town, will almost flood the town with fire, raze it to the ground, and seize it in the future, as it did in the previous settlements.

AVDIIVKA -DONETSK BATTLE ZONE

Russian forces are increasing their efforts to develop their operation westward from Avdiivka, Pervomaiske and Marinka regions.

We understand that it has concentrated in the Prvomaiske and Marinka regions, which it has not been able to capture for a long time, and that it has captured Marinka. On the Marinka contact line, it is the closest residential area to the western administrative border of Donetsk, and its distance to the western administrative border is about 50 km. However, it should be noted that the residential area of ​​Marinka is still dilapidated and completely destroyed. We appreciate that the Russians will try to develop their offensive in this region towards the western administrative border of Donetsk in the direction of Marinka-Kurakhove-Zelenyi Kut. After the Russians failed to capture Avdiivka, they attacked Oleksandropil and Krasnohorivka to encircle the town from the north, but were unsuccessful. It was announced that the Russian attacks in the direction of Russia were forced to withdraw.

Russian milbloggers also claimed:

– There is conflict in most of the same region,

– Russian troops broke through the Ukrainian defenses in downtown Marinka, forcing them to retreat and took control of the town,

– Russia’s capture of Marinka will give the Russian troops the opportunity to move towards Kurakhove, 16 km west of Marinka, which is reported to be an important transportation center and railway line of Ukraine, and that the Russian troops will now attach importance to the operation in the north instead of Vuhledar in the southwest,

– Ukrainian troops pushed Russian troops out of their positions in Pobieda south of Marinka and took control of the area south of Marinka,

– That the Ukrainian troops carried out limited counter-attacks to regain the positions they lost in the Vuhledar region, southwest of the city of Donetsk.

The prolongation of the war and the risks of spreading lead the western countries towards a decision-making point. Western countries, which provided material-weapons-ammunition-resource support to Ukraine for 10 months during the war, can use the following alternatives to prevent the war from prolonging and spreading in Europe:

– The support given to Ukraine can be increased as much as they can earn,

– NATO or some countries joining the war on the side of Ukraine in order to stop Russia and force peace,

– The fact that the support given to Ukraine is no longer given economically and politically, forcing Ukraine to agree with some concessions on Russian demands.

Also, it is useful to follow the US statement in the Biden-Zelensky meeting in this respect. 

We can say that the war in the Ukraine Operational Area may continue for a longer period of time if there is a statement that the USA will continue to provide assistance and support. However, it should be noted that the negative reaction of the USA and England, which played a key role in this support, their domestic political structure and their people’s economic-war risk, etc., may carry the war to different dimensions.  In our opinion, the support given to this war by all the peoples of the countries outside the war will decrease as the duration of the war gets longer. In fact, time is important for both Ukraine and Russia.

(E) Brigadier General Levent Köse

About the Author: Born in 1960 in the Beykoz district of Istanbul, Levent Köse’s hometown is Giresun-Görele. After graduating from primary and secondary school, he graduated from Kuleli Military High School between 1977 and the Turkish Military Academy between 1981 and served as Team and Company Commander in various units. Between 1992 and 1994, he completed his education at the Turkish Military Academy and served as a Staff Officer in various units as Branch Manager, Battalion Commander and Regiment Commander. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2010. He retired in 2014. He taught at the Turkish Military Academy between 2017-2021. During his duty, he studied at the Armed Forces Academy, the National Security Academy, and completed his master’s degree in the Faculty of Communication at Selcuk University.  

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