Ukraine Situation Report

 

                                                                                

Starting June 20, 2022, GTAC will release the Ukraine Situation Reports on Wednesdays only. For events that require a major update on days we do not typically release a report, GTAC will publish one. OSAC has also established an OSAC Ukraine Portal, which includes all OSAC products on Ukraine, including previous situation reports. If you would like to receive OSAC Ukraine updates and/or to join a dedicated Signal group, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch with OSAC.

OSAC (the Overseas Security Advisory Council) is a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and private-sector security community that supports the safe operations of U.S. organizations overseas through threat alerts, analysis, and peer networking groups. OSAC’s public representatives work directly with security professionals from U.S. private-sector organizations that have employees, operations, or other interests outside the United States.

GTAC is an active member of OSAC’s Ukraine, Kyiv Chapter.

Please find below:

  • A Sanctions Timeline and a Live Tracker of all sanctions
  • Official war website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Director GCHQ’s full speech on global security amid war in Ukraine
  • Russia-Ukraine – Grain Shipments (the first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under a U.N.-brokered deal to ensure safe passage through the Black Sea departed on August 1, 2022)
  • Europe’s New Refugee Crisis (VisualCapitalist, June 3, 2022)
  • L’histoire se répète: The specter of the Holodomor famine of the 1930s is haunting Russia’s war
  • Human trafficking concerns
  • Up-to-date information from the Institute for the Study of War and Critical Threats Project
  • Cyber Security Issues (and GTAC’s Cybersecurity Awareness page and Understanding Disinformation Disorder page)
  • Growing lists of companies and law firms cutting ties with Russia
  • Key Facts About Ukraine

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SANCTIONS TIMELINE
Source: The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)

LIVE TRACKER OF ALL SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
Source: Correctiv

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WAR WEBSITE

Official War Website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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GCHQ

Director Government Communications Headquarters (CGHQ) Full Speech on Global Security Amid War in Ukraine / Source: GCHC, March 31, 2022

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RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GRAIN SHIPMENTS

The first grain ship to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa under a U.N.-brokered deal to ensure safe passage through the Black Sea departed the morning on August 1, 2022The ship, the Razoni, was led by a government vessel through a maze of mines that had been laid by Ukrainian forces to forestall any attempt by Moscow to launch an assault on Odesa. A rescue ship followed and Russia’s Navy, which controls the Black Sea, granted safe passage. The Razoni, which has been stuck in port since Feb. 18, was carrying 26,000 metric tons of corn, the U.N. said. There are 16 more ships waiting to leave Odesa in the coming days, according to Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kurbakov, the New York Times reports (video).

The bulk carrier Razoni starts its way from the port in Odesa, Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, the ship under Sierra Leone’s flag is carrying 26 thousand tons of Ukrainian corn to Lebanon. The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain set off from the port of Odesa on Monday under an internationally brokered deal and is expected to reach Istanbul on Tuesday, where it will be inspected, before being allowed to proceed. (AP Photo/Michael Shtekel)

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Map of Ukrainian Refugee Crisis across EuropeSource: VisualCapitalist, June 3, 2022

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L’HISTOIRE SE RÉPÈTE

From the (powerful) book: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. By Anne Applebaum

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Human-Trafficking

UN / IOM

There is an increased risk of human trafficking at border crossings, with young women and unaccompanied teenagers at particular risk. Increased reports of rape and sexual violence against Ukrainian women and children must be thoroughly and independently investigated to ensure accountability. The United Nations (UN) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are working with refugee response teams and civil society organizations on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries “to ensure the gendered nature of this crisis is addressed with gender sensitive response.”

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ISW & CTP

Information from the Institute of War and Critical Threats Project.
Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

February 24, 2022 / Russian President Vladimir Putin began a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 likely aimed at full regime change and the occupation of UkraineHis claimed objective to “demilitarize” and “de-nazify” Ukraine is a transparent cover for an unprovoked war of aggression to occupy a neighboring state. Putin and Kremlin media continue to deny that the Russian invasion is a war, instead describing it as a special military operation. Putin’s messaging is likely aimed at a domestic Russian audience, which the Kremlin has not fully prepared for the costs of a war against Ukraine. Russian officials and state media have been denying and mocking Western warnings of the impending Russian invasion for months and as recently as February 23.  Russian forces remain much larger and more capable than Ukraine’s conventional military. Russia will likely defeat Ukrainian regular military forces and secure their territorial objectives at some point in the coming days or weeks if Putin is determined to do so and willing to pay the cost in blood and treasure.
                                                                                            Image above: Putin (The Spectator, April 9, 2022)

 

September 21, 2022 / Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of “partial mobilization” on September 21 reflected many problems Russia faces in its faltering invasion of Ukraine that Moscow is unlikely to be able to resolve in the coming months. Putin’s order to mobilize part of Russia’s “trained” reserve, that is, individuals who have completed their mandatory conscript service, will not generate significant usable Russian combat power for months. It may suffice to sustain the current levels of Russian military manpower in 2023 by offsetting Russian casualties, although even that is not yet clear. It will occur in deliberate phases, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview on September 21, likely precluding any sudden influx of Russian forces that could dramatically shift the tide of the war. Russia’s partial mobilization will thus not deprive Ukraine of the opportunity to liberate more of its occupied territory into and through the winter.

Putin and Shoigu emphatically said that only reservists who have completed their initial military service will be mobilized, making clear that Russia will not be expanding conscription. Shoigu also declared that students will not be affected and told them to go about their studies without concern.  These comments were clearly intended to allay fears among the Russian population that “partial mobilization” was code for general conscription.

It is not clear how much of the Russian reserve has already been deployed to fight in Ukraine. Western intelligence officials reportedly said in November 2021 that Russia had called up “tens of thousands of reservists” as part of its pre-war mobilization. Ukrainian military officials reported in June 2022 that Russian forces had committed 80,000 members of the mobilized reserve to fight in Ukraine. The Russian military likely called up the most combat-ready reserves in that pre-war mobilization effort, which suggests that the current partial mobilization will begin by drawing on less combat-ready personnel from the outset.

Russian reserves are poorly trained to begin with and receive no refresher training once their conscription period is completed. Russian mandatory military service is only one year, which gives conscripts little time to learn how to be soldiers, to begin with. The absence of refresher training after that initial period accelerates the degradation of learned soldier skills over time. Shoigu referred to the intent of calling up reservists with “combat experience,” but very few Russian reservists other than those now serving in Ukraine have any combat experience.

Reports conflict regarding how much training reservists called up in the partial mobilization will receive.  Shoigu described a deliberate training process that would familiarize or re-familiarize mobilized reservists with crew, team, detachment, and then platoon-level operations before deploying them to fight. That process should take weeks, if not months, to bring reservists from civilian life to war readiness. Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security head Viktor Bondarev reportedly said that mobilized reservists would train for over a month before being deployed. A military commissariat in Kursk Oblast, on the other hand, reportedly announced that reservists under 30 would deploy immediately with no additional training.

Putin emphatically did not say that the Russian nuclear umbrella would cover annexed areas of Ukraine nor did he tie mobilization to the annexation. He addressed partial mobilization, annexation referenda in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, and the possibility of nuclear war in his speech—but as separate topics rather than a coherent whole. The fact that he mentioned all three topics in a single speech was clearly meant to suggest a linkage, but he went out of his way to avoid making any such linkage explicit.

Putin framed his comments about the possibility of Russian nuclear weapons use in the context of supposed Western threats to use nuclear weapons against Russia. He claimed that Western officials were talking about “the possibility and permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons—against Russia.” He continued, “I wish to remind those who allow themselves such statements about Russia that our country also has various means of attack…”  His comment on this topic concludes by noting that Russia would use all means at its disposal in response to a threat to “the territorial integrity of our country, for the defense of Russia and our people.” That comment could be interpreted as applying in advance to the soon-to-be annexed areas of occupied Ukraine, but its placement in the speech and context do not by any means make such an interpretation obvious. Nor is Putin’s language in making this comment different from formal Kremlin policy or from previous statements by Russian officials. Putin’s speech should not be read as an explicit threat that Russia would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine if Ukraine continues counter-offensives against occupied territories after annexation.

Putin did not connect annexation with the partial mobilization either, defending the need for partial mobilization by referring to the length of the lines along which Russian forces are now fighting and Western assistance to Ukraine. He noted that the front lines now stretch for more than a thousand kilometers to explain why more Russian forces are needed. He and Shoigu also heavily emphasized the false narrative that Russia is fighting not Ukraine but NATO and the West. This narrative is not new. It is not even markedly different from the initial false justifications Putin offered before ordering the invasion in February. The formal Kremlin position has long been that NATO was pushing Ukraine to war with Russia, that NATO was preparing to give Ukraine nuclear weapons, and that NATO forces were taking up or preparing to take up positions in Ukraine. Putin’s and Shoigu’s repetitions of that line do not reflect an escalation in their rhetoric.

Russia’s partial mobilization will not transform the war this year and may or may not have a significant impact on Russia’s ability to continue operations at their current level next year.  Ukraine and the West should neither dismiss it nor exaggerate it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announced “partial mobilization” will not materially affect the course of the war in the coming months.
  • Putin did not explicitly threaten to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine continues counter-offensive operations to liberate occupied areas after Russian annexation.
  • Ukrainian forces likely continued offensive operations around Lyman.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted strikes north and east of Kherson City as part of an operational-level interdiction campaign against Russian logistics, military, and transportation assets in Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian and Russian sources identified three areas of kinetic activity on September 21: northwest of Kherson City, near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border around Vysokopillya.
  • Russian federal subjects (regions) are continuing crypto-mobilization efforts regardless of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of partial mobilization.
  • Russian-appointed occupation administrators are likely increasing law enforcement and filtration measures in occupied areas of Ukraine in preparation for Russia’s sham annexation referenda.

A Russian Army recruiting billboard that reads: “Serving Russia is a real job!” Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press

Ukrainian officials framed the August 9, 2022 attack in Crimea as the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south, suggesting that the Ukrainian military expects intense fighting in August and September that could decide the outcome of the next phase of the war. Image: Reuters/Stringer

Russian officials remain confused about the August 9, 2022 attack on the Saki Air Base in Russian-occupied Crimea, over 225km behind Russian lines, which destroyed at least eight Russian aircraft and multiple buildings. Image: Reuters

Iran reportedly began training Russian forces on Iranian UAV systems in recent weeks, demonstrating the deepening military cooperation between Iran and Russia. Russia launched a satellite on Iran’s behalf on August 9, 2022 likely in exchange for the drones and other military equipment and economic collaboration. Iranian Space Agency Head Hassan Salariyeh stated that the remote-sensing satellite, Khayyam, has a one-meter camera resolution. Khayyam has already begun broadcasting telemetry data. Iranian officials have denied that another state will have access to satellite feed at any point, but Western intelligence officials have claimed that Russian authorities will maintain access. Source: Iran Front Page, based in Tehran, Iran 

Ukrainian State Emergency Service firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a shopping center burned after a rocket attack in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, late Monday, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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Mariupol 2021

Mariupol 2022

 

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CYBER SECURITY ISSUES

For all Russian cyber-related “incidents” before and after the start of the war on February 24, 2022, please contact us.   

See also GTAC’s Cybersecurity Awareness Page and Understanding Disinformation Disorder.

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Over 600 Companies Have Withdrawn from Russia—But Some Remain | Yale School  of Management

Leaving Russia? Almost 1,000 companies have curtailed operations in Russia, but some remain, according to Yale (September 20, 2022). The Yale School of Management’s list can be found here

However, according to a September 18, 2022, article in Atlantic Council’s UkraineAlert, most multinationals remain in Russia and fund Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.