Day 642 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Winter Storms Hit Crimea and the Rest of Ukraine

World » UKRAINE | November 27, 2023, Monday // 13:18
Bulgaria: Day 642 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Winter Storms Hit Crimea and the Rest of Ukraine

Day 642 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • ISW: The Russian occupiers have taken over part of the Avdiivka industrial zone
  • Moscow has been activating 'sleeper' cells in Ukraine for the past 2 months
  • According to Stoltenberg, Russia is facilitating the arrival of migrants at the border with Finland
  • Sergey Lavrov can travel to EU countries or North Macedonia
  • Russia's losses in Ukraine this month could be 1,000 a day, according to London
  • The winter situation in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is worsening
  • A storm with hurricane gusts hit Crimea
  • "Armoury of the free world": minister asked Ukraine to mainly export weapons after the war
  • Ukraine receives 230 billion euros from seized Russian property in the EU?
  • Turkey has increased exports of goods needed by Russia for the war in Ukraine

ISW: The Russian occupiers have taken over part of the Avdiivka industrial zone

The Russian occupiers advanced to the northwest and southeast of Avdiivka.

This is according to a new report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). It noted that geolocation footage showed them advancing slightly northwest of Krasnogorovka, 7 km from Avdiivka, and in the eastern part of the industrial zone on the southeastern outskirts of the city.

Geolocated video shows Russian armored vehicles attacking VSU positions in the northern part of the industrial zone on the southeastern outskirts of Avdiivka. Analysts note that Russian propagandists are trumpeting the alleged full capture of the Avdiivka industrial zone near the Yasinovataya-2 railway station, but ISW has not seen visual confirmation of these claims.

Vitaly Barabash, head of the military administration of the city of Avdiivka, said that the Russian occupiers have reduced the use of aviation, but increased the use of FPV drones, which complicates logistics and the evacuation of the civilian population from the city.

Russia launched a third wave of attacks against Avdiivka, increasing the number of attacks. According to the Institute for the Study of War, this time the mechanized forces of the Russian occupiers are significantly weaker compared to previous waves of attacks.

Moscow has been activating 'sleeper' cells in Ukraine for the past 2 months

Over the past two months, Moscow has activated a network of "sleeper" cells in Ukraine, the head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov told "The Times".

The spies are embedded in Ukrainian state structures, including the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). According to Danilov, they received an order to destabilize the country from within, because "they understand that they cannot win by military means."

Russian agents wanted to take advantage of the rift between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and spread fakes to smear political and military leaders, he said. In addition, the spies tried to incite anti-government sentiment among the population and organize anti-war rallies.

"We made a big mistake in 1991, when we did not close the KGB, but simply renamed it the SBU. ... Unfortunately, we realize that we did not manage to bring order to all security systems. Therefore, of course, there are traitors there." Danilov said.

He added that during Viktor Yanukovych's presidency from 2010 to 2014, FSB agents actively infiltrated the country's security service.

According to Stoltenberg, Russia is facilitating the arrival of migrants at the border with Finland

Russia facilitates the arrival of migrants along its border with Finland and thus puts pressure on a neighboring NATO member country, said the secretary general of the pact, Jens Stoltenberg, on the eve of the two-day meeting of the foreign ministers of the member countries starting tomorrow in Brussels. He assured that NATO is fully behind Finland, which became a member of the Pact in April this year. Stoltenberg also welcomed the dispatch of an additional number of Frontex employees to the country's border with Russia.

Moscow's destabilizing actions - both in Ukraine and outside it - will be among the main topics to be discussed at the meeting.

Stoltenberg highlighted Ukraine's successes but acknowledged that its forces have not made significant progress recently and the front line has not shifted significantly.

Sergey Lavrov can travel to EU countries or North Macedonia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov can travel to an EU country or to North Macedonia, despite being on the European list of sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine. This was confirmed by a spokesperson of the European Commission regarding reports that Lavrov will participate this week in a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Skopje.

The spokesperson explained that those affected by the sanctions have the right to travel, especially when their travel is related to the reason they are being sanctioned. Lavrov has been sanctioned, but the sanctions provide for exceptions to participation in international meetings, he pointed out.

EU countries can allow Lavrov's plane to fly over, and the authorities in Skopje can issue permission to land and participate in the meeting, which would not be a violation of sanctions. "This will give us the opportunity to stand face to face with Lavrov and talk about the lies he spreads," explained the spokesperson. According to him, at such meetings, the EU can present its vision and the sanctioned can decide to change their destructive behavior.

The spokesperson could not confirm whether EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell will attend the OSCE meeting due to recent events on the international scene. It is planned that Borrell will travel at least for part of the meetings, and if he cannot make it, the EU will be represented at an appropriate level, the spokesperson specified.

Russia's losses in Ukraine this month could be 1,000 a day, according to London

Russian losses - killed or wounded - in the war in Ukraine may match Kyiv's November estimate of an average of 931 daily.

This is the opinion of the military intelligence of Great Britain, which in today's report commented on the numbers of the Ukrainian General Staff.

"While military intelligence cannot confirm the methodology of counting both killed and wounded together, the numbers are plausible," the service said.

The last six weeks are noted to have been some of Russia's heaviest losses of the war so far. "Heavy losses were mainly caused by Russia's offensive in the Donbas city of Avdiivka," continued the short post on X (formerly Twitter).

Russia's deadliest month so far reported was March 2023, with 776 killed per day, at the height of the battle for Bakhmut, military intelligence continues.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in its briefing this morning that Russian forces made advances northwest and southeast of Avdiivka on November 26. Ukrainian counterattacks on the front line continue, but with no confirmed progress.

The winter situation in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is worsening

The winter situation in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv is worsening, Ukrinform reports. Today, students will learn remotely.

Forecasters predicted a significant complication of weather conditions in almost the entire territory of Ukraine, except for the western regions.

On the Crimean Peninsula, nearly 500 thousand people are without electricity, in Sevastopol a hurricane wind is blowing.

Oleksii Arestovych a former adviser to Volodymyr Zelenskyi's chief of staff, said those who promised aid to Ukraine had "thrown it away".

He wrote on his Telegram profile:

"The real responsibility lies with those who promised Ukraine real support...and did not deliver it. Read - they threw it away".

Arestovych left Ukraine, after which he announced plans to raise his candidacy for the post of head of state and began to actively criticize the actions of the Ukrainian president and his entourage for strategic mistakes in the military and state administration.

A storm with hurricane gusts hit Crimea

A strong storm with gusts of wind at the speed of a hurricane hit Crimea illegally annexed by the Russians. In the city of Yevpatoria, the sea overflowed the coastline and flooded streets and houses, at least 150 people were evacuated. About 40,000 residents of the region were left without electricity and water, and roads between villages were cut off.

In Sevastopol, Monday, November 27, has been declared a non-working day for schools, kindergartens, social institutions and sports facilities. Businesses and universities have been advised not to work tomorrow as well, in order to remove any consequences.

Due to the rains, Crimea's highest waterfall, Uchan-Su, "gained enormous power", the local office of the protected area said. There is a fire warning in the area.

"Armoury of the free world": minister asked Ukraine to mainly export weapons after the war

Ukraine must become the "armoury of the free world". In the coming decades, "defense should be the biggest industry" and "after the war it should be our main export".

This is what the Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin said in an interview with the British newspaper "Guardian". The exact moment of the conversation was not specified, but it was described as "recent", held in an unmarked building in the capital.

According to Kamyshin, who at the start of the war was in charge of the country's state-run railway network and was widely praised for his team's successful evacuation of millions of refugees, today he believes that weapons should be Kyiv’s focus for the foreseeable future. He goes further and believes that Ukraine can dislodge Russia from its traditional markets by offering its buyers expertise in moving from Soviet to NATO standards.

To this end, Kamyshin wants to revive the state sector and strengthen coordination with numerous small private companies that have emerged in the defense industry. According to him:

  • over 200 Ukrainian companies make drones at the moment;
  • many others have promising ideas;
  • industry capacity has tripled in a year;
  • by 2021 80% of the sector was state-owned, now it's 50/50 state to private.

However, the interlocutor of the "Guardian" believes that the final ratio should be 80 to 20 in favor of private companies.

He has held the position of Minister of Strategic Industries since March; believes that this is not an accurate name and that there should be only one strategic industry in the country, writes "Guardian". Kamyshin’s job is to liaise with the army and the Ministry of Defense, as well as the seventy defense enterprises, to ensure that the military has everything it needs.

"The generals complain that even with Western arms supplies they face a chronic shortage of arms," the newspaper continued, commenting on the scandals and questionable deals that preceded the war. A defense industry source was also quoted as saying that no ammunition was being produced in Ukraine by 2021.

We branded ourselves as the breadbasket of Europe, now we want to rebrand ourselves as the arsenal of the free world,” said Oleksandr Kamyshin.

For Kamyshin, it is important that the arms production summit in Washington on December 6 and 7 contributes to Kyiv’s efforts to attract Western manufacturers to produce in Ukraine.

According to him, Ukraine shows its creative approach in the sector - for example, when it uses Western installations to put Soviet missiles on them, and this is added as a consideration for Western companies. Moreover, in Ukraine, weapons can be tested quickly in the field, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyi's chief of staff, told the Guardian on the subject.

The conversation is taking place at a time when Ukraine is still unable to acquire the weapons it needs, and Europe is warning that the promised production of 1 million projectiles for Ukraine will not be achieved.

Ukraine receives 230 billion euros from seized Russian property in the EU?

Belgian MP Samuel Cogolati (from the Ecolo party) proposes that Russian property seized because of the war in Ukraine be handed over to the authorities in Kyiv to restore the destruction in the country caused by the Russian strikes, local media reported, quoted by BTA.

Cogolati explains that about half of the assets of the Russian state and Russian oligarchs around the world are located in bank accounts in Belgium. It was previously specified that only the interest on this property brings in three billion euros per year. The Belgian authorities have already announced that they will provide these revenues to the Ukrainian country, noting that the use of the principal will be determined by an EU decision. In total, the EU seized over 200 billion euros from the Russian Central Bank and 30 billion euros from Russian oligarchs.

According to Cogolati, 200 billion euros of Russian property have been seized in Belgium. He proposes that these funds be seized and given to Ukraine to rebuild damaged civilian infrastructure.

Cogolati notes that from January Belgium takes over the transitional presidency of the Council of the EU and it is time to propose and adopt European legislation for the confiscation of Russian property seized by the EU sanctions. He urges the Belgian Presidency to propose similar measures. The MP notes that for now there is resistance in the EU against such an action and calls for a display of political courage.

Turkey has increased exports of goods needed by Russia for the war in Ukraine

Exports of dual-use goods needed by Russia for the war in Ukraine have increased sharply this year, writes the Financial Times.

According to the newspaper, this underlines the concerns of the US and its allies that goods of their manufacturers are passing through the country, which Russia can use in cruise missiles, drones and helicopters. The publication, and an upcoming trip there by a representative of the United States, come at a sensitive time for Ankara, as it hopes to buy billions of dollars worth of F-16 fighter jets from Washington.

It is about 45 goods for civilian use, but used by the Russian army and designated by the US as "high priority" for Moscow - from chips to communication equipment. They are subject to export control for Russia by the USA, EU, Japan and Great Britain.

Turkey claims that while it applies Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine, it exercises strict surveillance and "prevents efforts to circumvent sanctions through Turkey". Inevitably, however, there are "avoidance attempts by secretive and insignificant organizations unaware of or indifferent to sanctions."

For nine months in 2023, Turkey reported exports of these goods worth 158 million dollars - three times more than what was recorded for the same period in 2022. For the period 2015 - 2021, the average value was even less - 28 million .dollars.

Imports of a number of high-priority goods from G-7 countries have grown by more than 60% this year, compared to the first ten months of the 2015-2021 period, reaching 0 million.

The trade is based on regulatory loopholes in export controls, according to Emily Kilcrease of the New American Security think tank, a former deputy assistant trade representative.

Turkey and the United Arab Emirates often act as intermediaries for Russian organizations that want to take advantage of alternative routes to circumvent export controls, according to a European sanctions official who spoke to the Financial Times.

In a sign that the issue is a priority for the US, Brian Nelson, who is in charge of counterterrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury Department in Washington, will be in Istanbul and Ankara this week. It aims to discuss ways to "prevent, disrupt and investigate trade and financial activity that benefits Russia's war effort against Ukraine."

Nelson is in Turkey for the second time this year. The visit follows indications that some dual-use parts, particularly important in the war, were "transported directly to Russia even if labeled as going to another country".

Dealing with this problem is difficult given the fact that these goods also have civilian uses. However, the goods can probably be detected; they formally go to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but the statistical agencies of these countries do not register a corresponding increase in imports. Kazakhstan, for example, claims to have imported million worth of such goods between January and September; Turkey registered exports to Kazakhstan for 66 million.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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