Day 691 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia Will Go On The Offensive In The Coming Weeks

Ukraine | January 15, 2024, Monday // 12:28|  views

Day 691 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Ukraine shot down two Russian warplanes over the Sea of Azov
  • ISW: Russia will go on the offensive in the coming weeks
  • Three Ukrainian missiles were shot down on Russian territory
  • The war in Ukraine is taking its toll on Russia's health care system
  • Russia welcomes North Korea's foreign minister for talks on deepening relations

Ukraine shot down two Russian warplanes over the Sea of Azov

Ukrainian forces have shot down two Russian military aircraft for early warning and control - A-50 and Il-22, over the Sea of Azov, UNIAN reported. According to initial information, the A-50 was shot down and disappeared from radar, and the Il-22 was hit, but managed to land successfully.

The information was first reported by the deputy from the party "Servant of the People" Yury Misyagin оn his Telegram channel.

"At around 21:00, Ukrainian units fired on two aircraft of the Russian Armed Forces, namely an A-50 aircraft and an Il-22 bomber, which were located over the Sea of Azov," he wrote.

The stricken Il-22 was trying to reach the nearest airfield and disappeared from radar in the Kerch area. Subsequently, the spokesman of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army "South" Sergey Bratchuk said that his sources recorded the disappearance of the A-50 from the radars.

"The information has been confirmed, so we await comments from the Air Force of Ukraine," Bratchuk wrote on Telegram.

RBC-Ukraine reported that the A-50 was shot down immediately after takeoff. The aircraft stopped responding to tactical aviation requests, subsequently a Russian Su-30 pilot filmed a fire and crash of an unidentified aircraft.

The IL-22 was struck off the coast of the Sea of Azov around 21:00. The damaged plane was supposed to land in Anapa. The pilot requested an evacuation. The plane landed successfully, but at least two people were injured. One death was also reported.

However, the ВЧК-ОГПУ Telegram channel claims that the Il-22 aircraft may have fallen victim to friendly fire from the Russian Air Defense Forces. At the moment of the impact on the plane, an alarm was declared and traffic on the Crimean bridge was stopped.

It is not excluded that the Air Defense took the IL-22 for a Ukrainian military plane that was preparing to attack a Russian military object, writes the channel, quoted by Sega.

RBC-Ukraine published a recording of the Il-22 pilots' conversation with air traffic controllers in Anapa.

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Russia has lost 329 aircraft and 324 helicopters.

ISW: Russia will go on the offensive in the coming weeks

Russia is likely to prepare offensive operations in the east in the coming weeks, but for now they are holding off because of the low temperatures, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) predict.

According to them, Moscow will not be able to make significant breakthroughs in the front line due to a lack of forces. The Russian media write that a new offensive should take place from January 12 to February 2.

At the same time, literary critic and alternative historian Sergei Pereslegin is concerned that the Russian Federation does not have enough manpower to carry out large-scale offensives. With the available troops, the Russians can only conduct local tactical maneuvers.

The former head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said that the front line in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region was "buzzing like a beehive" due to the large number of Ukrainian drones. The drones of the Ukrainian armed forces are massively and accurately hitting targets and making it difficult for the Russians.

According to the ISW, sub-zero temperatures in Ukraine are currently holding back frontline operations, but as the ground freezes, the terrain will become more favorable for mechanized maneuver warfare.

"Despite the winter and the conditions on the ground, Russian forces will probably try to maintain or strengthen local offensive operations in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces will not be able to achieve operationally significant breakthroughs," the experts are convinced.

The commander of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, said that the Russians were trying to increase their offensive efforts through "meat" attacks.

Preparations for the resumption of offensive actions in the northern direction are being observed. To do this, Russian forces must move assault units and form assault companies.

According to ISW, the Russian Federation is preparing landing brigades behind the defense lines of the Ukrainian armed forces. Such brigades, as part of ground formations, will be able to carry out landings in the near rear of Ukraine without parachutes. These will likely be attempted helicopter landings for rapid deployment of personnel, as was the case during the initial battles for Hostomel airfield.

Three Ukrainian missiles were shot down on Russian territory

Russian air defenses shot down three Ukrainian missiles last night over the Kursk region, the governor of the region, Roman Starovoit, said, quoted by DPA.

"According to preliminary information, three missiles fired by the Ukrainian armed forces were hit over the territory of Fatezhki district of Kursk region. Thank you to our guardians!" Starovoit wrote in a post on the Telegram app.

DPA makes the stipulation that the information has not been independently verified.

The war in Ukraine is taking its toll on Russia's health care system

Russia's war against Ukraine is also affecting Russian healthcare, according to British intelligence reports, DPA reported, citing BTA.

Russian civilians are most likely to feel the effects of the war through cuts to their own health care system, Britain's Ministry of Defense said today in its regular intelligence update on the situation related to Russia's war on Ukraine.

Russian media reported that the general public across the country had problems accessing hospital services, the British ministry wrote. Medicines such as antibiotics are also in short supply.

War probably contributes greatly to this situation, as wounded soldiers must be treated in hospitals. In addition, the Kremlin has been forced to cut healthcare for civilians across the country due to hospital staff shortages and financial pressures.

Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the British Ministry of Defense has regularly published information on the progress of the war based on intelligence reports. Moscow accuses London of disinformation.

Russia welcomes North Korea's foreign minister for talks on deepening relations

North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Song-hui will be in Russia this week for talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as the two countries deepen economic, political and military ties, Reuters reported.

Choe arrived in Moscow yesterday and was met by official representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the North Korean Embassy, KCTA reported today.

As Russia's international isolation grows over its war in Ukraine, analysts say Moscow is deepening its cooperation with North Korea. For Pyongyang's part, relations with Russia have not always been as warm as during the Soviet Union, but the country benefits from Moscow, which needs allies, Reuters notes.

Yesterday, North Korea tested a new intermediate-range solid-fuel hypersonic missile, KCNA reported. Its testing was condemned by the US, South Korea and Japan.

Choe's visit is scheduled to last until Wednesday, Russia's foreign ministry said, and comes as the United States and its allies accuse Moscow of launching North Korean-made ballistic missiles and other weapons at targets in Ukraine. Pyongyang and Moscow have rejected claims they are exchanging arms but have said they will deepen cooperation in all areas and have held a series of high-level meetings since last year, including one between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Russia.

"Given that the relationship between Russia and North Korea is shaping up to be multifaceted, Lavrov and Choe may discuss any number of issues," said Artyom Lukin of Russia's Far Eastern Federal University. "If she meets the Russian president, it could be another sign that Putin will visit Pyongyang this year."

Lukin said that given the large number of North Korean missiles fired, another test carried out yesterday was probably unrelated to Choe's trip. There was a clear sign of deepening ties in July, when Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Pyongyang and attended an arms exhibition that featured North Korea's banned ballistic missiles.

His visit was followed by Kim's trip to Russia, his first foreign visit since the start of the Covid pandemic.

"Overall, North Korea feels increasingly insecure and vulnerable in relation to South Korea," Lukin said. "Russia is currently the only power that can contribute to the improvement of Pyongyang's military-strategic security," he added.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the visit would include negotiations, but gave no further details. According to her, the trip will cause speculation on the part of the West.

"The Westerners are constantly repeating that Russia is behaving somehow differently again, that it has no right to communicate with North Korea," Zakharova said yesterday on state television Russia-1. "We have the right to do what we think is necessary, given the fact that we constantly demonstrate that we respect international law."

Choe said in October that criticism of the US and its allies over alleged arms supplies to Russia was politicized and distorted, while at the same time saying that relations between Moscow and Pyongyang would reach a "new, higher level".

Russia and North Korea have not specifically commented on claims that Moscow is using North Korean missiles in Ukraine.

"Russia is more openly willing to ignore sanctions against Pyongyang and appears less and less interested in contributing to the overall effort to stop provocations by North Korea, especially since the Kremlin does not perceive North Korea as a direct threat to Russia," said Anthony Rinna, a specialist in Korea-Russia relations at Sino-NK, a website dedicated to analyzing the region.

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Kyiv, war


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