Ukraine at D+350: Summitry in advance of an anniversary offensive.
N2K logoFeb 9, 2023

Ukraine's Zelenskyy receives a sympathetic reception and more assurances of support during a flying visit to European capitals. Ukraine's SSSCIP describes a Russian cyberespionage campaign against Poland and Ukraine.

Ukraine at D+350: Summitry in advance of an anniversary offensive.

Fighting remains heavy around the Ukrainian towns of Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka, Al Jazeera reports. Casualties are heavy; changes in the lines negligible, according to the Wall Street Journal, but a major Russian offensive is expected on or around the invasion's first anniversary at the end of the month.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's flying visit to European leaders is generally being received as successful, with the UK indicating in principle a willingness to supply Ukraine with warplanes, and with France promising to help Ukraine to victory over Russia. President Zelenskyy sought to emphasize that Ukraine's war is really Europe's war, that Ukraine's fight is the West's fight. He seems to have found a receptive audience.

Mud is back.

The UK Ministry of Defence reports this morning that cross-country mobility is likely to grow more difficult, and that this inevitably complicates any coming offensives. "The weather continues to play a significant role in the course of Russia’s war in Ukraine. With the ground frozen, there has likely been little change in cross country mobility (CCM) conditions in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks. On 08 February 2023, surface temperatures were around 0 degrees Celsius; over the coming week, forecasts suggest soil temperature increases and snow melt are likely to deteriorate CCM across the Donbas. CCM is likely to be at its worst, with extremely muddy conditions, over mid- to late-March. Commanders on both sides will highly likely seek to avoid scheduling major offensives at such times. However, perceived political or operational opportunities can override such concerns, as demonstrated by Russia launching its invasion in late-February 2022." One caution: soft ground is an inconvenience, but it's not necessarily an insurmountable obstacle to maneuver forces.

Wagner Group stops recruiting convicts.

Or so says the Wagner Group.  Today Wagner's founder and boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said, according to Reuters, "The recruitment of prisoners by the Wagner private military company has completely stopped. We are fulfilling all our obligations to those who work for us now." Many of the surviving convict recruits are being demobilized.

Phishing campaign pursues Ukrainian and Polish targets.

Ukraine's SSSCIP (State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection State Cyber Protection Centre) reports that a Russian cyberespionage campaign is phishing for targets in the Ukrainian and Polish governments. "UAC-0114 (aka WinterVivern) is a group of undefined individuals (where Russian-speaking members are present, highly likely) whose activity targets the European GOV entities," the SSSCIP writes. "Their recent campaign targeted Ukrainian and Polish government organizations, taking advantage of fake web pages impersonating the legitimate web resources of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and the Central Cybercrime Bureau of Poland. The adversary TTPs are quite common and known for using email subjects related to malware scanning and benefiting from PowerShell scripts execution."