Ukraine at D+272: Crossing the Dnipro and exchanging drone attacks.
N2K logoNov 23, 2022

Blackouts in Ukraine induced by Russian strikes spread to Moldova as both countries work to restore power and prepare for more power interruptions. Ukrainian forces cross the Dnipro and strike Russian facilities in Sevastopol.

Ukraine at D+272: Crossing the Dnipro and exchanging drone attacks.

A Ukrainian amphibious operation is in progress on the Kinburn Spit, a peninsula on the east bank of the Dnipro, at the river's mouth, the New York Times reports. Seizure of the peninsula would represent a significant advance toward Crimea. According to the Wall Street Journal, the assault on the Kinburn Spit south of Mykolaiv was accompanied by drone attacks on Russian facilities in occupied Sevastopol.

Effects of strikes on power grid proving difficult to confine to Ukraine.

Effects of Russia's campaign against Ukraine's power generation and distribution system are spilling over into at least one neighboring country. Moldova's Vice Prime Minister Andrei Spînu tweeted this morning, "Massive blackout in [Moldova] after today's Russian attack on [Ukraine's] energy infrastructure. Moldelectrica, [Moldova's] TSO, is working to reconnect more than 50% of the country to electricity." Power grids are commonly connected across international borders. Large-scale outages commonly involve more than one country.

Drone and missile strikes continue with effect, but also with signs of a coming ordnance shortage.

The AP reports the continuing effect of Russian long-range drone and missile strikes on Ukraine's power grid. Many cities are without electricity; the government is working to restore power and preparing for more stress on the grid during the winter months.

The UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) sees a slowdown in Russian use of loitering weapons, or "one-way attack UAVs." This morning's situation report says, "Since September, Russia has likely launched hundreds of Iranian-manufactured uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) against Ukraine. These have been a mixture of one way attack (OWA) UAVs and more traditional reusable armed systems." Targeting has been deliberate, with the OWA UAVs deployed against stationary, soft, and essentially civilian installations. "Russia has largely used these weapons against tactical military targets and the Ukrainian electricity grid. However, recently Russian commanders likely also wanted Iranian-sourced UAVs to prioritise medical facilities as targets of opportunity, and strike them with guided munitions if identified. Russia likely conceived of the UAV campaign to make up for its severe shortage of cruise missiles, but the approach has had limited success. Most UAVs launched have been neutralised."

A report in the Wall Street Journal sees Russia running short of munitions and materiel. "Russia has been burning through equipment, ammunition and weaponry at rates that have raised questions about how effectively and for how long it can continue to prosecute its war against Ukraine," the Journal says. "Both sides have suffered heavy losses of men and materiel since the invasion began in February, but Moscow—which has been yielding territory back to Ukraine after making gains early in the war—is more dependent on its own shrinking economy to replenish supplies than Kyiv is. Ukraine’s economy has been more devastated than Russia’s, but has more powerful backers in the U.S. and its allies, which are providing billions of dollars of military and economic aid."

Making "medical facilities" priority targets is having tragic and foreseeable consequences. A Russian rocket strike against a hospital in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia largely destroyed the facility's maternity wing yesterday, killing at least one newborn child, the Guardian reports.

The MoD sees the UAV campaign as a tactic of necessity, and one that Russia seems unlikely to be able to sustain. "Russia likely conceived of the UAV campaign to make up for its severe shortage of cruise missiles, but the approach has had limited success. Most UAVs launched have been neutralised. No OWA UAVs strikes have been publicly reported since around 17 November 2022. Russia has likely very nearly exhausted its current stock, but will probably seek resupply. Russia can probably procure UAVs from overseas more rapidly than it can manufacture new cruise missiles domestically."

Warning of the potential for cyberattacks against European ports.

Reuters has an interview with US General (retired) Ben Hodges, who argues that cybersecurity is as important to NATO logistics as missile defense. In support of his contention he cites the disruption worked by NotPetya, the 2017 Russian pseudo-ransomware campaign against Ukraine that spilled over into the transportation sector and disrupted port and shipping operations. The major shipping firm Maersk was particularly affected. The German ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven are especially important to NATO. Interference with port operations would have a significant effect on the Atlantic Alliance's ability to sustain operations in Central and Eastern Europe.