Center Of Eastern Studies 22.06.2022

The relatively weak ruble (RUB). Russia's attack on Ukraine - state after 71 days

The relatively weak ruble (RUB). Russia's attack on Ukraine - state after 71 days

Center Of Eastern Studies Center Of Eastern Studies 09.05.2022 07:36
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, has reported that the defenders have moved to the offensive in the Kharkiv and Izyum directions, where fierce fighting is ongoing. According to the collective reports of the operational commands ‘East’, Combined Forces Operations (in Donbas), ‘South’ and the Air Force Command, the Russians lost within 24 hours: an aircraft, 14 unmanned aerial vehicles, 11 tanks and 14 armoured fighting vehicles, among others. The defence of the Odesa area reported that a winged missile was shot down and a Black Sea Fleet frigate was hit.   The invaders continue to implement the ‘ruble zone’ in the occupied territories, which is intended to weaken the ties of these territories with the Ukrainian economy and create links with the so-called people’s republics and Russia. The announcement of the introduction of the ruble from 1 May has still not been realised – the hryvnia remains in circulation. In Kherson, pensions and social benefits are to continue to be paid by Ukrainian institutions. Russian soldiers, after receiving their pay, exchange roubles for hryvnias in exchange offices. In unofficial circulation, foreign currencies, above all the dollar, are gaining in importance. Difficulties in the rapid introduction of the rouble have led the occupier to announce a four-month transition period allowing payments in Ukrainian currency. During this time, it is planned to open Sbierbank outlets and introduce regulations requiring local entrepreneurs to open ruble accounts with it.   In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russians are forcing residents to fill in documents on land ownership. On presentation of these, cultivation licences will be issued. Failure to register acreage risks confiscation. Security has been tightened in some Ukrainian cities from 7–10 May as authorities anticipate that rocket fire will increase in connection with Russian Victory Day celebrations. The mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk called on the population to temporarily leave the city and not to gather in public places. In Zaporizhzhia, a stricter curfew was announced, including a ban on movement around the city.   The third stage of the UN-led evacuation of Mariupol has been completed. So far, over 500 civilians have left the city, including 200 people from the embattled Azovstal metallurgical plant. In between transports, aggressor troops are shelling the defended facility. The evacuation is expected to continue on 6 May.   In an interview with the AP news agency, Alexander Lukashenko stated that the Belarusian army would not take part in Russia’s war against Ukraine, and that everything Minsk could and can offer Moscow (logistical security of forces, the possibility of air and missile attacks from Belarusian territory) had already been done. He added that the war could be ended within a week, but this would not happen ‘because of the attitude of the United States and Britain’... read more
Russia’s attack on Ukraine day 70

Russia’s attack on Ukraine day 70

Center Of Eastern Studies Center Of Eastern Studies 06.05.2022 10:32
Russian troops continue to shell and bomb Ukrainian positions in the combat areas and their deep hinterland. Mykolaiv and Kramatorsk fell victim to a massive rocket artillery strike (multiple launch rocket systems with a range of tens of kilometres). The rocket attack damaged, among others, railway infrastructure in Cherkasy and Dnipro, as well as facilities near Brovary in the Kiev Oblast and Kropyvnytskyi. Defenders reported that some enemy rockets were shot down. Delays in the movement of dozens of passenger trains have reached several hours. The information provided by the Ukrainian side from the battle areas is increasingly enigmatic or, as in the case of the situation in the Izyum-Barvinkove-Sloviansk triangle, non-existent.   The Ukrainians point to the increasingly intensive shelling of the border areas of the Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts and the expansion of enemy groupings on the opposite side of the border. Subdivisions of the 90th Tank Division from the Central Military District (MD) are to be developed in the Kursk Oblast, while in the Gomel Oblast the aggressor is increasing the number of air defence systems. Also, the exercises of special forces and electronic warfare subunits, which began in Belarus, are presented in the context of the threat of renewed Russian activity from the north. Kiev fears an armed provocation in this border region.   After a hiatus of nearly two weeks, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine provided information on the invader’s personnel problems. Soldiers of the 38th Mechanised Brigade from the 35th Combined Arms Army (CAA) of the Eastern MD were to refuse further participation in the war. In turn, the subunits of the 2nd Army Corps (the so-called Lugansk People’s Militia) of the Southern MD, after being complemented with residents of the villages closest to the combat area, are characterised by a low moral and psychological state, have major problems with their weapons and are not ready to perform their tasks.   According to American data, two of the twelve battalion tactical groups that took part in capturing the city remained in Mariupol (they are supposed to number less than 2,000 soldiers). The remaining units were redeployed to the border of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts, in the area of Velyka Novosilka.   According to Ukrainian military intelligence, the aggressor is escalating the situation in Transnistria to create the appearance of preparing the Russian troops stationed there for an attack and to disperse and tie up the Ukrainian army in the next direction. The personnel of the Russian Army Operations Group in the Transnistrian region does not exceed 300 people, and the combined human potential of the Transnistrian and Russian forces is about 1,400 people. The territory of Transnistria may be useful for establishing supply lines for the invading troops. However, a condition for the success of this plan is the establishment of a land corridor through the southern regions of Ukraine, which, given the effective resistance of the defenders, currently seems unlikely.   The Ukrainian defence ministry has said that a covert mobilisation of unemployed and members of Cossack organisations is underway in the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts and the southern regions of Russia. Former military personnel residing in post-Soviet states are also being sought. They are to be offered to earn at least 200,000 roubles ($3,000) a month.   Over the past 24 hours, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine has demined an area of 396 ha and neutralised 1592 munitions and mines. Since the beginning of the war, 92,909 munitions and 583 kg of explosives, including 1964 aerial bombs, have been neutralised in an area of 17,000 ha.   On 4 May, Spanish law enforcement authorities – following a joint action by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) with the Prosecutor General’s Office and foreign partners – detained pro-Russian blogger Anatoly Shariy. In 2021 SBU charged him with treason and acting against national security in the information sphere. There is circumstantial evidence that he collaborated with Russian services. The activities of the Shariy Party were suspended in March. In 2021 Lithuania revoked his refugee status, granted in 2012...read more
Russia’s attack on Ukraine: day 69

Russia’s attack on Ukraine: day 69

Center Of Eastern Studies Center Of Eastern Studies 05.05.2022 16:28
The aggressor troops continued to shell and bomb Ukrainian positions, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, and undertook offensive actions on various sections of the contact line, locally improving the so-called tactical position, but generally failing to achieve success and suffering losses. On 3 May in the afternoon they were to launch a massive assault on the Azovstal combine. Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said the country did not have enough heavy weaponry to deblock Mariupol.   On the same day, rocket attacks took place in eight oblasts, mainly on railway supply system facilities – six traction substations in Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Lviv (three facilities) and Zakarpattia (in Zakarpattia the gas pipeline in Volovets was damaged). In addition, targets were attacked in Donetsk, Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Odesa oblasts (in the Artsyz region on the route from Romania to Odesa; on 2 May there was another strike on the recently partially opened railway bridge over the Dniester Liman). The Russian defence ministry announced the use of Oniks winged rockets, hitherto considered a weapon for destroying ships, to attack targets in the Odesa Oblast. This gave rise – after a pause of several weeks – to new media reflections on the depletion of the invader’s stock of precision weapons.   According to the Main Reconnaissance Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, a recruitment drive for contract service has been activated in Russia, targeting citizens of Siberia and the Far East. Recruitment quotas of 200 ‘volunteers’ per week are to be in place, with priority given to those with military experience.   The Head of the Personnel Board of the Staff of the Land Forces of Ukraine presented data on the course and prospects of mobilization. At the end of February and the beginning of March the manpower of the units was fully completed. Since then, the rate of recruitment has slowed down and is associated with the need for their ongoing replenishment. It is possible that mobilisation will continue after 24 May (the current one has been announced for three months), but no information has been provided on the army’s main needs in terms of military specialisations.   In the occupied Kherson Oblast, a ‘war for the Internet’ is underway. On 30 April, the aggressor cut off most Ukrainian operators and rerouted network traffic through its infrastructure, meaning it is routed through Russia and subject to censorship. Ukrainian telecoms operators are able to provide telephone services on 70% of the Oblast’s territory, but cannot maintain mobile internet access.   The head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said that the invaders planned to create two provinces in the occupied territories. The first, called Taurida (which was part of the Russian Empire from 1802 to 1917), is to include the territory of Crimea and parts of the Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts, and the second – the Odesa Oblast, the city of Dnipro and parts of the Kherson, Mykolaiv and Donetsk oblasts. The Kremlin was yet to decide whether the occupied Donbas territories would be incorporated into Russia. Budanov warned that the aggressor wanted to orchestrate a humanitarian disaster to force the local population to accept aid on condition of accepting the new political reality. He also announced that the Russians were suffering from a significant shortage of personnel, and that collaborators – due to effective resistance and lack of popular support – were unable to manage the occupied localities.   The invaders exported a third of the grain reserves (about 400,000 tonnes) from the occupied territories in an attempt to reduce shortages in some regions of Russia. According to Kyiv, about 1.3 million tonnes of grain remain in the occupied territories, which is needed to ensure the food security of the population and to carry out sowing of spring crops.   On 3 May, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada voted a final ban on pro-Russian political parties (their activity was suspended in March) whose programme and activities deny or justify Russian armed aggression, portray it as a civil war and glorify or justify those contributing to it. The parliament also adopted amendments to the law ‘On the foundations of national resistance’ allowing territorial defence forces (TDF) to carry out tasks independently in areas of combat operations. This shows that the armed forces need immediate support on the front line. TDF can cover sections where there is no intense fighting, allowing regular troops to be redeployed to where enemy attacks are ongoing.   The Verkhovna Rada was addressed – for the first time since the outbreak of war – by President Volodymyr Zelensky, who appealed to its members to be united and not to waste time on legislation of secondary importance. He stressed that they were MPs of ‘the greatest country at the moment’ and therefore should be guided by ‘rationalism and healthy nationalism’. In turn, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he expressed his belief that a ceasefire could only come about as a result of a meeting between the presidents of the warring parties and the formal signing of an agreement. At the same time, he stressed that Ukraine would never accept the frozen conflict and Russia’s territorial gains..read more