Security Exchange News

Ukraine Situation Report | 14 April 2023

14 April 2023

Several major developments have emerged from the Russia-Ukraine conflict in recent days, including most notably the leak of unverified US intelligence relating to the war, as well as claimed footage of Russian soldiers beheading a Ukrainian prisoner of war (PoW). Meanwhile, on the ground, fierce fighting in and around the embattled city of Bakhmut continues and Russian troops have been digging in defensive positions in anticipation of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south of occupied Ukraine.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 24 March 2023

24 March 2023

The conflict in Ukraine has continued to grind on, with fighting ramping up as Ukraine purportedly prepares a new offensive in response to Russian pushes to take more territory along the eastern frontline – where the embattled city of Bakhmut, in Donetsk, has seen fighting further intensify. Russian strikes have increased in recent weeks, targeting cities further inland, including parts of the Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv regions, which both reported major strikes in the last week. Meanwhile, several major international developments have led to Russian rhetoric growing increasingly inflammatory again – an occurrence which has previously been a precursor to the Kremlin justifying new military measures.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 10 March 2023

11 March 2023

A barrage of Russian strikes have targeted much of Ukraine in recent days, leading to power cuts as critical infrastructure has been severely impacted. Multiple casualties have also been reported, with at least nine deaths confirmed across Ukraine on Thursday, as attacks struck cities from Kharkiv in the north, to Odesa in the south, and Zhytomyr in the west. Attacks on the capital Kyiv have also been reported and Ukrainian officials claim that within a single 24-hour period, a total of 81 missiles were fired – marking the biggest day of air strikes launched by Russian forces since late January, when 11 fatalities were reported amid strikes in several regions.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 24 February 2023

24 February 2023

One year on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict has already become the worst in Europe since World War Two. To mark the anniversary, ceremonies have been taking place throughout towns and cities in Ukraine – particularly areas where Russian forces have been accused of war crimes, including Bucha. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are preparing to repel an anticipated surge in Russian attacks. Moscow has been expected to coincide the timing of its predicted new Spring offensive with the first anniversary, which comes a day after Russia observed its Defender of the Fatherland Day on 23 February – a holiday celebrating the country’s armed forces.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 3 February 2023

03 February 2023

News of Russia’s anticipated Spring offensive has dominated news on the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, as has Germany’s decision to send much-needed tanks to Ukraine as Western allies bolster military aid for Kyiv, despite warnings from Moscow that doing so risks escalating the conflict. Berlin is set to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks and 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine and has cleared the way for other countries, such as Poland, to also send their German-manufactured tanks. Meanwhile, the US also confirmed it will send 30 of its most high-tech tanks, the M1 Abrams, following in the footsteps of the UK, which also committed 14 Challenger 2 tanks. All three tanks – the Leopard 2, the M1 Abrams, and the Challenger 2 – are vastly more powerful than the Soviet-era T-72s forming the bulk of the Ukrainian and Russian tank forces.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 20 January 2023

20 January 2023

Much of the news surrounding Ukraine in recent weeks has been dominated by discussions over the West’s military support for Ukraine in the lead up to an anticipated Russian spring offensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reiterated calls for Western allies to send more tanks to Ukraine, while Moscow has warned that NATO risks escalating the conflict to ‘a whole new level’ of war if it arms Ukrainian forces with heavy weaponry. Meanwhile, on the ground in Ukraine, daily shelling continues on both sides of the frontline and one of the country’s deadliest missile strikes killed at least 45 people in the city of Dnipro. A deadly helicopter crash also occurred in the suburbs of Kyiv, killing 14 people including Ukraine’s interior affairs minister - raising questions over Russian involvement as investigations get underway.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 6 January 2023

06 January 2023

Recent events in Ukraine over the Christmas and New Year period have seen daily shelling continue, including a major strike carried out by Ukrainian forces with a high claimed fatality figure in occupied Ukraine. The attack targeted Russian troops in the occupied area of the eastern Donetsk region and is alleged to have killed at least 89 Russian soldiers. Deadly Russian strikes have also been reported throughout Ukraine in the past week, including in the central Zaporizhzhia region. Meanwhile, negotiations and any potential peace discussions have centred around a poorly received offer recently made by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a 36-hour truce coinciding with Russian Orthodox Christmas - observed on 7 January.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 16 December 2022

16 December 2022

Russian forces have conducted another major wave of airstrikes in Ukraine, launching more than 60 missiles in the most recent attacks on Ukrainian cities. Explosions have been reported in Kyiv - where water supplies and metro services have been affected - as well as in other major cities including the southern port city of Odesa. Kharkiv city is also reported to be without power after civilian infrastructure was targeted this week, while two fatalities have been confirmed in Kryvyi Rih after a residential building was hit. Ukrainian officials have claimed Moscow is trying to force Ukraine to negotiate whilst compensating for defeats on the battlefield. The Kremlin has yet to comment on the latest strikes, while Ukraine has accused Russia of planning a wide-ranging ground offensive for early in the new year.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 2 December 2022

02 December 2022

Blackouts and freezing temperatures have become a dangerous reality for millions in Ukraine as the country heads into December, still facing daily barrages of Russian strikes targeting key infrastructure. Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure have impacted power and gas supplies in the lead up to winter and have subsequently prompted international leaders to question whether the attacks constitute a war crime, as many Ukrainian civilians now face the risk of dying in freezing conditions. Moscow has claimed its attacks are a justified response to alleged threats and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has even gone so far as to twist the Kremlin’s narrative into one portraying the attacks as being ultimately aimed at minimising civilian casualties.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 18 November 2022

18 November 2022

The last week in Ukraine has seen the war there come the closest it’s come yet to taking what would be a majorly severe turn of events: international escalation. A missile strike which killed two Polish civilians in Polish territory on Tuesday immediately drew global concern amid speculation that Russia could have done the unthinkable in striking a NATO member amid its invasion of Ukraine. So far, Moscow has deliberately been intensely careful not to initiate war with NATO, despite the alliance’s expansion into eastern Europe in part motivating Russia’s invasion earlier this year. Such a move on Russia’s part would trigger a wider international conflict – a scenario which many have theorised would effectively turn the war in Ukraine into ‘World War Three’.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 4 November 2022

04 November 2022

A Russian U-turn has allowed the UN-brokered grain deal to continue with the assurance of safety for grain ships exporting via the safe corridor agreed in the Black Sea. Moscow suspended its participation in the deal – called the Istanbul agreement – earlier this week following a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet based out of Sevastapol, Crimea. The Kremlin accused Kyiv of orchestrating the attack and of using the corridor for military action, despite the US insisting no ships had been in the safe corridor at the time of the attack. Despite Russia temporarily halting support for the deal and the threat of a blockade, the UN, Turkey, and Ukraine continued to send ships anyway, with a record amount of grain leaving Ukrainian ports on Monday.

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Ukraine Situational Report | 14 October 2022

14 October 2022

Major shelling has hit many cities in Ukraine over the last week, including fresh strikes in the capital, Kyiv, which killed at least eight people. The strikes were the first to target the capital city in several months. Other cities which have seen an increase in shelling recently include Mykolaiv, Zhytomyr, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Khmelnytskyi, Kharkiv, Kherson, Nikopol, and Ternopil. The wave of attacks has reportedly come as retaliation for an attack on the key Russian-built Crimean Bridge, which connects the annexed Crimean Peninsula to Russia and was partially destroyed in a blast over the weekend. Ukraine has long criticised the bridge, calling the structure ‘illegal’. While Russian aerial attacks have intensified, Ukrainian forces on the ground have continued to make territorial gains, with several settlements in Kherson recaptured in recent days.

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Ukraine Situational Report | 30 September 2022

30 September 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to host a signing ceremony in Moscow on Friday, at which he will make a major speech at the Kremlin, announcing the annexation of four more areas of Ukraine, declaring them to be ‘independent’. The development is a major escalation in the conflict and comes after self-styled referendums - condemned by Ukraine and the West as a sham - were conducted in occupied territories earlier this week. The votes were held in Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south, with Russian-backed officials claiming almost total popular support despite reports of voters being intimidated by military personnel. In presidential decrees issued late on Thursday, Putin stated: “I order the recognition of the state sovereignty and independence” of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Both Donetsk and Luhansk have already been declared independent by Moscow, in a controversial move which preceded the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 23 September 2022

23 September 2022

As Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts continue to battle Russian forces for control of occupied territory, two key developments have dominated headlines this week. In a rare, televised address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to call up military reservists to fight with the Russian war effort in Ukraine. The news has been accompanied by statements from the Kremlin accusing the West of inaccurately portraying the apparent successes of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and insisting the Russian forces in Ukraine are holding ground. Meanwhile, plans to stage referendums in Russian-held parts of Ukraine on joining Russia have been accelerated, sparking international outcry.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 16 September 2022

16 September 2022

Major gains have apparently been made in the east and south of Ukraine amid a swift counter-offensive, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claiming Ukrainian troops have retaken more than 8,000 square kilometres so far this month – Kyiv’s most significant territorial gains since the war started. While swathes of territory have reportedly been retaken in the eastern Kharkiv region, a separate Ukrainian counterattack continues to press on in the southern Kherson region, although troop advances have been comparatively slower to make substantial progress. Ukrainian citizens have reportedly been celebrating the liberation of occupied areas, as Ukraine’s counteroffensive marks a new phase of the war; however, celebrations have been marred by emerging evidence of the severely damaging impact of Russian occupation on many villages and residents, sparking fresh allegations of Russian war crimes.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 9 September 2022

09 September 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed “good news” amid developments in the last week, as Ukraine’s eastern advance reportedly sees progress. Zelenskyy claims Ukrainian troops have successfully recaptured settlements in the eastern Kharkiv region, although no specific details regarding which areas had been retaken have been released. The apparent success comes after similarly vague reports of limited progress being made amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern occupied Kherson region. Meanwhile, Russian occupying forces aim to hold a vote on annexation in early November. News of the planned vote comes as Kyiv claims responsibility for a series of explosive attacks targeting Russian bases in Crimea – confirming the expansion of the war in Ukraine to the annexed region.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 2 September 2022

02 September 2022

Ukraine is bracing to launch a major counter-offensive in the east of the country, as another offensive to retake the occupied Kherson region in the south also gets underway. Fierce fighting has been increasingly reported throughout Kherson; however, observers suggest progress in the region will neither be fast nor easy for Ukrainian troops in light of a determined Russian defence. Meanwhile, an investigation team deployed by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has reached the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant this week, with preliminary findings from an initial inspection appearing to back concerns over a heightened risk of nuclear disaster amid claims of increased fighting in the surrounding area.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 26 August 2022

26 August 2022

This week saw Ukraine observe a muted Independence Day on Wednesday, marking 31 years since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union. The day also marked six months since Russia launched its military invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv issued clear warnings ahead of the anniversary: Violent Russian military attacks were anticipated, targeting civilian infrastructure. Russia has continually denied targeting civilian infrastructure throughout the war; however, on Wednesday 24 August, a Russian missile strike hit Chaplyne railway station in Dnipropetrovsk, killing at least 25 people. Meanwhile, major international concern has been triggered by the temporary disconnection of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from Ukraine’s national grid.

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Ukraine Situation Report | 19 August 2022

19 August 2022

Intense shelling has been reported across parts of the Donetsk region over the past week, with increased fighting affecting frontline areas, such as Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Sloviansk. There has been a distinctive increase in clashes along the frontline in Donetsk, while Ukraine and Russia continue to trade accusations amid increasing tensions in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia – where Europe’s largest nuclear power plant site remains under extreme pressure amid new reports of shelling in the immediate and surrounding area. The Crimean Peninsula has also seen further explosions hit Russian military facilities, leading to heightened tensions in the region.

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